Saturday, 5 March 2011

more opinions on the Derby foster care case

There seems to be no end to the comments on this.

Alan Wilson writes for the Guardian’s Face to Faith column, Homosexuality, Christianity and child welfare.

…So what does the case really show? First, that the customary paranoia of rightwing newspaper op-eds sounds silly in court. Courts will injunct in cases of real urgency, but they are, quite rightly, very reluctant to compensate people for wrongs they have not yet suffered, simply to make a point on behalf of a group of zealots, however sincere they may be. It is absolutely no part of a court’s job to enter into such antics, just to create a story for the press.

This case was the fourth bite at this particular cherry by the barrister Paul Diamond and his chums in the Christian Legal Centre. There is now nothing more legally to be said on this subject than various judges, especially Lord Justice Laws, a devout Christian and churchwarden, have said so far. Rightwing Christians must establish their views on their merits, not expect courts to do the job for them.

How does orthodox Christian teaching relate to the views that were seeking legal protection? When Mrs Johns averred, for example, that “having a different sexual orientation was unnatural and wrong”, she put herself well beyond what either the Church of England or the church of Rome are prepared to say on the matter of orientation. The Johnses are entitled to their views, but cannot expect them to be unquestioned insofar as they could affect the welfare of a child…

Anglican Mainstream has reproduced an editorial from the Church of England Newspaper The unique problem of Christianity for the judges.

…The three most potent decisions of the High Court of Justice, delivered by Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson, were that they were ‘secular’ judges, that they accepted that caring foster parents were not acceptable for holding sexual morality corresponding to the historic Christian ethical stance on homosexual sexual intercourse, and for denying a scintilla of place for Christianity in British law. They also implicitly accepted the dogma of the EHRC, the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, that Christian beliefs taught to young children would ‘infect’ them. We have come a very, very long way from ‘Clause 4’ and the ban on promoting homosexuality in schools, now that is compulsory and Christian belief is positively harmful. In the eyes of the law homophobia is not religious, anyone of any belief can be guilty, but this raises serious questions for traditionalist Christians and the Churches in general. Doctrine must now be viewed in subordination to the country’s anti-discrimination laws…

And Paul Sims at the New Humanist writes about Fostering, gay rights and the secular law.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 5 March 2011 at 8:50pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: equality legislation
Comments

It was, of course, Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988, not Clause 4 of the 1918 Constitution of the Labour Party, that read

a local authority "shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality" or "promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship". (per Wikipedia)


For those who don't remember Clause 4 -

"To secure for the workers by hand or by brain the full fruits of their industry and the most equitable distribution thereof that may be possible upon the basis of the common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service."


:-)

Posted by: John Roch on Saturday, 5 March 2011 at 9:45pm GMT

The following, by Dr FIM Gilbert - Medical Director, Exeter Hospice, was passed on to me by a friend.

To doubt is human, to be certain is ridiculous.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Saturday, 5 March 2011 at 9:52pm GMT

The fact that 'Mainstream' (I privately think of them as rather more 'Slipstream') mentions the emotive phrase 'homosexual sexual intercourse' in it's summary of 'THE ethical Christian stance' denotes what they prefer to placard about the whole subject of gay relationships. They know nothing of faithful monogamous relationships within the LGBT community, nor are they prepared to accept that there could be such a thing, and that they could be within the parameters of the Christian Gospel.

This response to the recent foster-parents' plea for recognition of their anti-gay attitudes, is typical of 'Mainstream's determination to ignore recent findings on gender and sexuality, which demand a more responsible attitude towards LGBT people within the Church and in the modern world.

The Gospel is meant to 'open the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf' to justice for the marginalised. When will Mainstream's eyes and ears be open to sweet reason?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 5 March 2011 at 10:56pm GMT

Bishop Alan Wilson is a wise and saintly man (and therefore unlikely ever to attain further preferment in the C of E), but this particular claim seems a bit surprising:

"When Mrs Johns averred, for example, that “having a different sexual orientation was unnatural and wrong”, she put herself well beyond what either the Church of England or the church of Rome are prepared to say on the matter of orientation."

Well, I think the words "intrinsically disordered" pretty clearly imply "unnatural and wrong" so far as the Church of Rome is concerned.

Posted by: rjb on Sunday, 6 March 2011 at 6:44am GMT

The Anglican mainstream is actually marginalized nutters on the sidelines, slowly dying off.

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Sunday, 6 March 2011 at 6:58am GMT

"When Mrs Johns averred, for example, that “having a different sexual orientation was unnatural and wrong”, she put herself well beyond what either the Church of England or the church of Rome are prepared to say on the matter of orientation."

I would also say that this is, precisely, how most people in the pew understand the CoE's stance on homosexuality.
The problem is that "It's ok to be something but it's not ok to live accordingly" is a distinction we don't usually make in life. It's a tortuous mental compromise the church makes with itself to justify an outdated stance on sexuality.

But people instinctively know that it really does mean "it's not ok to be who you are".

The only surprise is that this strange thinking has pervaded the hierarchy of priests and bishops to the extent that they really do not see the natural consequences their words have for most people.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Sunday, 6 March 2011 at 10:45am GMT

When, in all of these reflections on the Jones' case, do we address the elephant in the room? It is simply a fact that the Christian Churches in England, as here in the US, have been the primary agents in fomenting a dangerous environment for LGBTI children, young people and adults. Placement of foster children must, in the final analysis, be based on the best interests of the child, rather than grieved feelings of the persons desiring to foster, or the views of various Churches and Christian advocacy groups.

Surely, we don't need to remind these persons of the harrowing incidence of depression and suicide among gay youth, the bullying, humiliating, and beating of gay and trans children and youth, based on the rejection of them as persons and the self-rejection and introjection of self-hatred, learned primarily from the effects of Christian teaching.

Considering the issue on the basis of the needs of children and youth to be protected from harm, the editorial from the Church of England Newspaper is tellingly accurate in a way the writer never intended. Indeed, traditional "Christian belief is positively harmful" to LGBTI children and young people. There are a wealth of studies in England and the US that show that. But for the writer to say that..."Doctrine must now be viewed in subordination to the country’s anti-discrimination laws…" is entirely wide of the mark. Rather, doctrine must be viewed in terms of its real effects on real persons. The first law of ethics is, "first, to do no harm". Some Christians continue to argue for and teach ethical theories about LGBTI persons that cause these persons grave harm. Is Christian doctrine to be subordinated to the welfare of persons? If the Incarnation is to mean anything, then, the answer to this question is decidedly, "yes".

Posted by: karen macqueen+ on Sunday, 6 March 2011 at 5:03pm GMT

That Mrs. Jones remarked that “having a different sexual orientation was unnatural and wrong,” she underlined the fact that to many, who perhaps do not think as clearly as they deed to, this is a “war” of identity, and against a state of being, as it might be a war on being left-handed. If a person is homosexual, THAT is unnatural and wrong. By extension, this means one of two things:

One, there is no hope of salvation for the homosexual person, no need to repent of anything: you are wrong. Your actual, real being is WRONG. Unhappily, this is the point of view both overtly and implicitly demonstrated by Canterbury. It did not matter if Jeffrey John was celibate. It does not matter to Mrs. Jones or those who share her point of view. Leaving aside any discussion of acts (and if you are homosexual, not acting on it, in a loving way, is surely unnatural?), this point of view, in its logical extension, simply means that homosexual persons have no place in the Church. I, for one, fail to see Jesus in this.

Or two, homosexuality is somehow not “real”. If it is chosen, or learned, it can be un-chosen and unlearned. Of course, this is in contradiction to what we now know of biology and zoology, as well as psychiatry. Anglicans believe in scripture, tradition and reason. I fail to see reason in a point of view which denies knowledge and science as well as the witness of countless GLBTQ persons.

ECUSA seems to be moving away from this sort of cognitive/theological nonsense. It seems to be realizing that its job is to bring everyone in to Christ, and to live the hard work of loving. I believe the public in the US and the UK is moving this way as well. Bravo to the UK judges!

Posted by: Nat on Sunday, 6 March 2011 at 6:41pm GMT

In Canada currently, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is meeting to address the issue of the tens of thousands of children sexually abused in Church schools. “We took away your past, present and future and we need to be accountable for what we did in the past.”

http://www.anglicanjournal.com/nc/news-update-items/article/we-took-away-your-past-present-and-future-9607.html

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Monday, 7 March 2011 at 4:46am GMT

This editorial from the CEN must qualify as amongst the worst in a very bad bunch of journalistic comments on the judgment.

"Let's throw in a bit of islamaphobia as an extra." Someone must have said, completely ignoring the fact that the law recognises that Roman Catholics and Jews have their own religious courts as have other religious groups, all of whom may be equipped to mediate in matters like marriage and other affairs, in a perfectly lawful way. Yet alone the Church of England whose many courts have the full force of statute law.

This is a scandal.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Monday, 7 March 2011 at 11:50am GMT

Yet, Martin, are there not hopeful things, predicated precisely on the status of the C of E as established church? If the Coalition (which I do not love) brings in full same-sex marriage (which I do love), the C of E (here = the C of E establishment, which is vastly out of kilter with at least a sizeable section of its members) will find itself in a nasty pickle. As I understand it (on the analogy of divorced people), same-sex marrieds would then be entitled to DEMAND a church wedding in a C of E church.

Posted by: John on Monday, 7 March 2011 at 6:50pm GMT

What Erika and Karen said.

I actually see and hear and smell, two elephants in the room, a double generational phenom. The older elephant has mighty tusks and a loud trumpeting snort/call. He - and this older animal is definitely, HE - feels deep inside his own elephant skin that his heterosexuality (real and presumed, always) is privileged, and must have suitable powers to lord it over the queer folks in particular, as well as to put the asterisk footnote (No queer folks need apply) as the qualifier for every possible doctrine, not least his elephantine beliefs in his own straight superiority.

Technically, this deep core has aptly been named, Heterosexism; though in frequent narrative and analysis we mention the more familiar and widely recognized, Homophobia. For the generations of the older elephant, Heterosexism is one side of the bright Anglican coin; the other side is Homophobia.

Oddly, Rowan Williams' keen mind has not been very able to identify and understand either side of this old heritage; though when some queer person gets a smack in the face - RW claims he gets it fine?

The younger elephant in the room is offspring of the older. He doesn't bother with noticing either side of the traditional coin, having neatly collapsed the whole negative business into his high heterosexual privilege, a pleasure to God in innumerable ways, none of which anybody else can quite manage in their low, dirty sex lives. The other side of the coin of this younger animal species privilege is a familiar claim by now. If such elephants cannot interfere with queer folks, something is rotten in civil society, because their essential religion requires them to demean, diminish, and generally do things/say things about queer folks which state/church no longer allow concerning anybody else.

Again strangely, Rowan Williams fails to grasp this new business, just as he mistakes the old. RW gives a consistent appearance of just not wanting the antigay Anglican stuff to be acted out too baldly, in any glaring public media spotlights. Otherwise, please: Have a go at the queer youth and/or their near peers whose bad form comes across vividly in committed pairbonds?

If this smelly grab bag of church prejudices and self-righteous interference with queer folks was being done to almost anybody else; we would all be talking about how rotten things are?

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 7 March 2011 at 9:58pm GMT

Now the Prime Minister has spoken out about the court's 'judgment'.


http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/03/08/david-cameron-says-christians-should-be-tolerant-of-homosexuality/

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Tuesday, 8 March 2011 at 11:12pm GMT

Andrea Williams has written even more on this case, at
http://christianconcern.com/blog/permanent-exclusion-and-the-johns

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 8 March 2011 at 11:49pm GMT

"The Big Society is a Big Deception. It pretends to be inclusive but is in fact totally intolerant of mainstream Christian views"

- Comment from 'Animal Farm' -

I'm quite surprised about this statement from an organisation that titles an article 'Animal Farm' as even animals are aware of the incidence of homo-sexuality among their kindred. Just ask any farmer.

Ms Andrea Williams needs to be introduced to the reality of gender and sexuality as it really is - not as she has grow up to understand what it's all about. Prejudice is no excuse for ignorance.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 3:46am GMT

Mrs Williams repeats the deliberate(?) mis-interpretation of the court 'judgement' again. Firstly there was no judgement. Secondly the Johns were not being required to 'promote' homosexuality (cf Section 28 which forbade the 'promotion of homosexuality by local authorities' Evangelicals seem to have a belief that homosexuality can somehow be caught by talking about it.)

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 9:08am GMT

Andrea Williams acknowledges that the court and the judges did not 'rule' against the Johns. Au contraire, they could be instated by Derby Council.

'When the media coverage dies down, the Johns will still be left with an empty bedroom. Unless Derby Council changes its mind, they will be left permanently excluded from the system.'

But for Derby Council to do that, Mr and Mrs Johns would need to complete the selection process, which they baulked at, backing out before a decision was reached. I do not know that I could or trust such a litigious couple to collaborate with the statutory authorities in the care of children.

I wonder if Andrea regrets making of use Mr & Mrs John in this way to score points (backfired)and whip up anti-gay hysteria ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 10:04am GMT

'Secular and humanistic values are, ultimately, based on the total rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. How anybody thinks that this is sustainable in the long term is staggering. Historical precedents are not encouraging.'

What a rant ! What cliches. What vague generalisations. I don't know what she really means - if anything. She is waving her signifers above her head !

But what would Jesus do ? Where is he to be found ?

He set a child in their midst.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 10:10am GMT

"'Secular and humanistic values are, ultimately, based on the total rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. How anybody thinks that this is sustainable in the long term is staggering."

Are we then to suggest that the Jewish state of Israel is unsustainable? That the predominantly Hindu state of India is doomed? The long-term success of a culture depends on its acceptance of Christianity? What then are we to make of the decline of the Roman Empire post-Constantine?

Posted by: Pat O'Neill on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 11:35am GMT

"I do not know that I could or trust such a litigious couple to collaborate with the statutory authorities in the care of children."

The couple and the Council sought legal guidance together.
I find that a hugely mature approach and as far removed from litigious as you can get.


Posted by: Erika Baker on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 11:47am GMT

Hasn't anything happened since this segment was posted?

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 1:05pm GMT

Yes, Laurie, all that you say - and more, I am afraid.

Yet one suspects that their funding depends on the creation of the deceptions and myths they are selling.

For myself I do hope that Derby approve the couple. It is interesting to note that the Johns have previously temporarily homed some 15 children in the 29 months they were formerly approved as foster carers, and it is also important to note that foster carers now get some £20k per year tax free per child (pro rata).
The approvals can be very specific, so I would suggest that based on the opinions the Johns have expressed and their previous experience of short term care the Johns might be approved to provide weekend respite care for children under the age of two. In this case there could be no objection to their attending their Pentecostal Church with the child.

As the Johns are unwilling to take their charges to a mosque and presumably other places of religious worship and bearing in mind their horror of extramarital sex and unwillingness to welcome any gay parents into their home, I suggest the approval might be limited to infants from married Christian families where the parents share the same specific doctrinal beliefs of the Johns.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Wednesday, 9 March 2011 at 4:10pm GMT

While Anglicans in Britain and America fight over gender and sexuality, Canadian Anglicans hold rally to demand help for the hungry.

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/article/950760--goar-why-do-ontarians-have-to-beg-for-food

Posted by: Randal Oulton on Thursday, 10 March 2011 at 2:02am GMT

I have just heard Paul Diamond on the Radio 4 Today programme, say that we live in a Liberal Tyranny and he wants David Cameron to do something about it. I don't think that he will have much joy there either, judging by this recent report.

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2011/03/08/david-cameron-says-christians-should-be-tolerant-of-homosexuality/

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Thursday, 10 March 2011 at 9:18am GMT

A long interview with the barrister and Lord Faulkner on Today, today.

The barrister has a poor grasp of the issues, and fails to listen or learn.

He appears to think the court made a 'ruling' 'banning' the couple from fostering.

He thinks the BA hostess was prevented from wearing a cross because it and she, are Christian, where as B Airways do not allow the wearing of any hanging jewelry, for health and safety reasons.

He thinks there are many poor quality judges.

I am ashamed to be a Christian.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 10 March 2011 at 9:35am GMT

Cynthia, yes other things have happened. Regular blogging will continue here shortly..

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 10 March 2011 at 10:07am GMT

"I have just heard Paul Diamond on the Radio 4 Today programme, say that we live in a Liberal Tyranny and he wants David Cameron to do something about it"

Oh the liberal tyranny of not being allowed to do something that is harmful to other people! What IS the world coming to!

Posted by: Erika Baker on Thursday, 10 March 2011 at 12:03pm GMT

Funny - when I prayed about it I felt the Holy Spirit gave me the scripture quote Mark 15. Didnt know what that was but when I looked at it, it was the Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus.

Posted by: DAvid WIlson on Thursday, 10 March 2011 at 6:19pm GMT

Good olde holy spirit

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 10 March 2011 at 8:53pm GMT

David Wilson,

Maybe it was telling you that you were making a sacrifice that had already been made?

Of course, if you're praying about "it" in terms of the child-protecting decision against the Johnses, perhaps it was trying to remind you that religious conservatives were part of the move to crucify Jesus? Perhaps, the child has been brought before "Pilate" and this time, "Pilate" didn't was his hands?

Of course, perhaps it was just your imagination, as we progressives are constantly told our experience of the HS is.

Either way, it is an insulting and extraordinary level of hubris to compare yourself or the Johnses with the sacrifice Jesus made. What a shameful way in which to begin Lent.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Friday, 11 March 2011 at 6:22am GMT

"Secular and humanistic values are, ultimately, based on the total rejection of the Lord Jesus Christ. How anybody thinks that this is sustainable in the long term is staggering."

- Andrea Williams, (G.S.Member) -

Ms Williams need to go to theology shcool. There she might learn something about God's love of human beings - proved at the Incarnation - and by this gospel proclamation:
"God so LOVED the world that he gave his only-begotten Son...". In fact, God Himself became a human-being - in every respect like us...."

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 13 March 2011 at 11:27pm GMT
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