Thinking Anglicans

adoption agency row: Blair decides

Updated Tuesday morning

The Prime Minister has announced his decision.
BBC No exemption from gay rights law.
There appear to be potential difficulties about this in Scotland, BBC No exemption for church adoption.
Other reports in the Telegraph, Times and Guardian, and from Reuters.

Ruth Gledhill has a lot more on this, including exclusive, extensive comments from the Bishop of Durham: Durham damns Blair as ‘deeply unwise’.

Ekklesia has Blair confirms that Catholic adoption agencies will not be able to discriminate.

Later reports:
Guardian Catholic agencies given deadline to comply on same-sex adoptions
Independent Blair announces deal on adoption
Telegraph Church loses opt-out fight over gay adoptions
The Times Gay adoption laws will have no exemptions, Blair tells Catholics and Bishop scorns ‘arrogance’
Scotsman Church accuses Blair of ‘thought crime’ in row over gay adoption

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Craig Nelson
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The Bishop of Durham forgets the Government is democratically elected to govern.

(Democracy of course is considerably less than 2,000 years old and is presumably part and parcel of what Durham calls a ‘nouveau morality’ – Love your neighbour as yourself is, though, quite an old saying).

He also is quite unwise himself in so firmly taking a partisan across the board anti-Labour stance. Given this is is happening the case for the removal of bishops from the House of Lords is fast becoming unanswerable.

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

Well, of course Blair can afford this decision – as the press keeps reminding us (even in Australia), he’s not going to be living at Number 10 much longer, is he?

Rob Hall
Guest
Rob Hall

Let me remind Craig Nelson of a fact about Labour’s mandate: in 2005 the party won 35.2% of the popular vote, which is equivalent to about 22% of the total British electorate. Not a very convincing democratic mandate, is it? But that is beside the point. The above not very convincing attempt to rubbish the Bishop of Durham without thoughtfully engaging with his rather emotionally put point is sadly typical of many views – on every side – on this and similar sexuality/identity issues. Not very surprising I suppose, as when people feel threatened they tend to lash out. And… Read more »

kieran crichton
Guest
kieran crichton

“Church accuses Blair of “thought crime””!!!! I’m laughing so hard that I’m spraying the muesli all over the breakfast table here. The cynic in me wants to know what any ecclesiastical hierarchy worth its salt (including TEC) believes when it attempts to come to grips with democratic government. The Romans are not particularly renowned for their embrace of diverse views within the fold, and they do have that rather disturbing view about the position of Pope to defend (if that is indeed possible….). And what is the Catechism if not a type of binding moral legislation for Catholics? The question… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

+ Wright said to Ruth Gledhill: “At a time when the Government is foundering with so many of its policies – and I haven’t even mentioned Iraq – the thought that this Government has the moral credibility to be able tell the Roman Catholic Church how to order one area of its episcopal teaching is frankly laughable.” Why does he think a Government can change the t e a c h i n g? The Cardinal said (also to RG): “The legislation about the adoption by homosexual people of children…” He didn’t say (as most people would): “… the adoption… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Rob Hall asks: “What are the limits of conscience?”

The limits of other peoples consciences. You may impose your conscience on your own self, but not on others.

Few do the first, many do the second.

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Craig Nelson calls the government democratically elected. It is important to realise what this does, and does not, mean: It does not mean proportional representation. -It is possible that committed Christians will be in practical terms debarred from holding public office. This is not because committed Christians are a small group, or represent only a few people. It is because the MPs are unrepresentative of the country as a whole. A disproportionate number of them have moved in top-university circles. To them the sort of thing that white liberals spout (or even speak) is the norm. In how many ways… Read more »

JBE
Guest
JBE

No-one has yet adequately explained why making value judgements about the peaceable,legal, private behaviour of others is a matter of conscience. Deciding how you personally will behave is one thing: deciding whether or not you approve of others’ private behaviour is quite another.

Terence Dear
Guest
Terence Dear

Rob Hall, above, questions the extent to which conscience and the beliefs of religious communities can and should be limited. Human Rights legislation is very clear on this matter and has consistently been upheld by the courts. “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom …. to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.” HOWEVER, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject …. to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

The Roman Catholic Airlines right of conscience to maintain its historic flight patterns cannot be abridged without threatening wise citizens everywhere, and of course, maybe even the very fabric of society itself. We all know the earth is flat, and indeed everybody has known that for as long as we have records. All the great ancient thinkers know the truth of the flat earth. For believers of course it is deeply informative that scriptures speak of the dome of heaven and the like in many different places. Only an overly complicated secular humanist Brainiac could possibly miss reading these references… Read more »

drdanfee
Guest
drdanfee

Discuss Notes 1, to teacher. The frame theme, that this heated controversy is all about the state forcing thought conformity upon religious conscience, can only be viable to the extent that the substance of the actual issues gets studiously ommitted, ignored, and backgrounded. Once the actual content of these beliefs and practices is admitted to review, many citizens might have questions. How is it, again? That these hallowed views authorize and even require we close doors against a section of our citizens, categorically, ahead of time, no matter what the actual citizen(s) are actually like, and no matter what their… Read more »

Richard Lyon
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Richard Lyon

“Is it too much to ask that Thinking Anglicans return to being a place where we have such “genuine debate”?”

Genuine debate? Could that be the expression of only those views which you find politically palatable? The administrator of this blog seems to be entirely capable of running it without your intervention.

John-Francis
Guest
John-Francis

Rob Hall asks ‘Is it really the case that the state can and must without limits impose its beliefs on religious communities’. My understanding of the present situation is that the ‘State’ isn’t. Our elected, democratic Government (and, yes, it may have been elected by less than 50% of the population, but that’s how democracy works in our society) has proposed that those dealing with the adoption of children must accept a particular piece of legislation. If this is passed by Parliament (not the State, which is another concept) then it will become Law. Isn’t that how we do things… Read more »

John Richardson
Guest
John Richardson

In the light of Rob Hall’s post, here’s something you might like to be ‘Thinking’ about. The American Constitution states, rather simply, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”. The European Convention on Human Rights seems also to establish the ‘right’ to freedom of religion, but ultimately confers on the State the ‘right’ to limit this freedom. Article 9:1 thus states, “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion”. But then Article 9:2 adds, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject … to such limitations… Read more »

Patrick Coleman
Guest
Patrick Coleman

Maybe I missed a previous clarification on this, but do British adoption agencies receive state funding or not? Surely this make a difference. I would be more tolerant of private agencies, as long as there are sufficient public ones to provide access for all.

Simon Sarmiento
Guest

Yes, the Roman Catholic adoption agencies in England (at least, I’m not sure of the figures for Scotland) receive most of their funds – I believe in excess of 75% of the total – from government sources.

Martin Reynolds
Guest

When the Cardinal talks about “conscience” it is important to remember that it may not quite be what most people listening understand it to be. The Roman Catholic Church has, it is important to note, abolished conscience.

Since Veritas Splendor conscience, once supreme has become an empty space merely awaiting the correct completion by absorbing the teaching of the Magisterium.

Dave
Guest
Dave

UK Liberal Totalitarianism wraps itself in virtue – pretending that it is achieving a social good by excluding people and groups from the public square who do not affirm same-sex partnerships as equal to male-female marriage, and exposing them to potential prosecution if anyone feels upset when they express their views. But what harm is this protecting homosexuals from ? It is not alleged that these people and groups actually hate homosexuals, or are physically attacking them, or are inciting others to do so. They are not trying to exclude homosexuals from public life, or fine them, or take away… Read more »

Henry
Guest
Henry

We’ve had a long experience in dealing with the public/private dichotomy in freedom of religion issues in the U.S., owing partly to our unfortunate history of discrimination based on race. Our Constitution protects the right to freedom of speech, religion and association, but recognizes the need to restrict those in the public realm. I’m sure that in Britain, as in the U.S., the government regulates most aspects of the adoption business, to prevent abuses which have occurred, and probably still occur, both in secular and religious agencies. In the U.S., religious organizations recieve public subsidies to provide these services. Religious… Read more »

Steve Watson.
Guest
Steve Watson.

It’s ‘VeritaTIS Splendor’. Roman Catholicism has always qualified the claims of conscience with the need for conscience to be informed. Otherwise you would have mutually contradicting ‘consciences’ all laying claim to the truth; and it is truth [veritas] (not the individual conscience) that claims obedience. A man sincerely following his conscience may not be subjectively guilty but still participate in objective evil (e.g in some wars). What consenting adults do in private arguably may not be a matter for the State (though there are still limits here – consensual killing or mutilation remains a crime), but that is not how… Read more »

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Stick to producing bad theology, Tom. How anyone in the CofE dares to talk about people ‘getting things wrong’ – well, arrogance isn’t the word. Stupidity, maybe, but that’s what you get from an over-rated conservative bigot. This is a sensible decision. The Catholic Church have no right to discriminate, and I would be delighted to see their agencies close if they cannot comply. They are such hypocrites anyway – stuffed to the gills with closet gays, unable to deal with the very real problem of child abuse – really, we would be better off if they abandoned their meddling… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Drdanfee wrote in jest: “All the great ancient thinkers know the truth of the flat earth.”

In fact – and many more ancient and even greater thinkers k n e w it wasn’t flat but round, giving its circumference at the approximation of a foot or two ;=)

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

John Richardson wrote: “Article 9:2 adds, “Freedom to manifest one’s religion or beliefs shall be subject … to such limitations as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society”.” This article has been a pillar of European and International law – indeed of civilised society – since 1648. It’s called the principle of Ordre public. Despite the French it is Swedish, going back to the failed attempt to impose Calvinist Supper in 1563. This principle protected the Eucharist against further State sponsored attacks, at the same time as it assured religious freedom for the Calvinists, as long… Read more »

Dave
Guest
Dave

Terrence Dear seems to be quoting something other that the European Union’s Charter of Fundamental Freedoms. I think that the UK Government might be falling foul of Articles 54, 7, 10:1, 11:1 and 22 by trying to interprete one part of Article 21 too rigidly – even over other parts of Article 21!! Where rights and freedoms conflict they should not be interpreted in such a way as to destroy one or more of them, or push them (disproportionately) out of the public square: Article 7: Respect for private and family life. Everyone has the right to respect for his… Read more »

ruidh
Guest
ruidh

Good. Let the RCC exercise their conscience and get out of the adoption business. Who needs them? There will be other agencies to take up the slack. No child will not get adopted because of this stance.

mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)
Guest
mynsterpreost (=David Rowett)

DAve said
** Violent Crime, Sexual Crime and Theft have all increased by 30-50 times(!!)

You’ve been reading the Daily Mail again, haven’t you, you naughty boy! Now go away and read some reputable social history and write out one hundred times, ‘I must not believe everything Paul Dacre writes’.

laurence
Guest
laurence

Steve Watson we are not ROMAN Catholics (you may be). This is an Anglican site. Had you not noticed ?
So forgive me if I do not rush to have my conscience informed, formed, shaped or otherwise interfered with, or bullied, by the bishop of Rome or his denominational representatives in the UK.

“Not today – thank you !”

John Richardson
Guest
John Richardson

Regarding Henry’s comment on religious adoption societies in the US, it seems the question there is one of public funding. Essentially, whoever pays the piper calls the tune, and if an agency takes public money then (quite rightly in my view) it must modify its stance in some areas. On Göran Koch-Swahne’s point about the Ordre public, that was, of course, all very well when Europe had a broadly Christian basis. The problem now is that we have what I have called elsewhere a ‘godless Calvinism’ – all the controls and none of the faith. This will, in the end,… Read more »

Terence Dear
Guest
Terence Dear

Dear Dave, I was quoting from the Human Rights Act 1998, which gave effect to the “rights and freedoms guaranteed under the European Convention on Human Rights.” The Convention was a product of the Council of Europe. The Charter you quote from is a non-legal document of the European Union. It reads much the same as the Convention except that the “Scope of Guaranteed Rights” is listed in Article 52: “1. Any limitation on the exercise of the rights and freedoms recognised by this Charter must be provided for by law and … limitations may be made only …. to… Read more »

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“the thought that this Government has the moral credibility to be able tell the Roman Catholic Church how to order one area of its episcopal teaching is frankly laughable.” The Blair government may not have the “moral credibility” to dictate to the Roman Church, but is the good bishop suggesting that the RC Church DOES have such credibility? If so, he is totally ignorant of the effect of the child sexual abuse scandals that have rocked the Church on this side of the pond. Even those who have remained faithful have had a hard time dealing with the Church’s manifest… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Steve Watson wrote: “This is already the case in Canada, and is virtually so in Sweden, as our friend Goran will know, with reference to the case of Pastor Ake Green – a matter I don’t believe Goran has yet commented on?”

I have. At length. Ask Dave. He knows.

laurence
Guest
laurence

Perhaps Tom Wright is in the wrong Church ?

Merseymike
Guest
Merseymike

Exactly, Ford.

I would ask whether the RC church is a fit organisation to have any sort of contact with children

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Merseymike is right. It is intolerable that an organisation with so many table-topping schools should have anything to do with children.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Well, given that the vast majority of pedophiles self identify as heterosexual, I would have to ask if it is at all safe to allow heterosexual men to have unsupervised access to children:-)

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Ford, you naughty boy! only Christopher’s statistics are r e a l statistics.

;=)

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Christopher, Sorry, but I do not share your respect for the academic “success” of RC schools. Such “success” is bought by terrorising children, as all of my friends who went through that system can tell you, and it is a system tainted by the sins that have come to light in the past 20 years. In Newfoundland in the 1980s, it was revealed that priests had been sexually abusing boys; the Irish Christian Brothers were doing the same in an orphanage they ran; the Church, the police, and the government all had colluded to cover it up; the governmental Department… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi Ford- How can one generalise from one or two schools to all the thousands of catholic schools worldwide? Your point about child abuse is not true. The only reason that *somewhat* more abusers are ‘heterosexual’ is that very substantially more *people* are ‘heterosexual’. A given homosexual is *more* likely (as opposed to actually likely) by a factor of something like 75 times (if one takes together the various complementary stats quoted in Gagnon ‘the Bible and Homosexual Practice’) to have perpetrated a given individual case of child abuse than is a given ‘heterosexual’. These are stats and averages and… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

So your “statistics” come from Gagnon, Christopher? Who would have thunk it. Over here (the still 1st Millennium Church of Sweden) we never had Mandatory Celibacy (Lateran II 1139). The Cardinal William of Sabina tried to “institute” it in the 1248 Provincial Council of Skänninge, but failed. Even, an “exemption” was given in 1258 by the Bishop of Rome for the Diocese of Upsala, on the request of the Archbishop, and for whole of the Province (Sweden and Finland) in 1259. Some Bishops of Åbo or Turku, that is Finland (all grand uncles) actually tried to impose celibacy, charging moinies… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

… which to say, that we never had any of the accompanying “troubles” of Mandatory Celibacy…

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

“one or two schools” Dear God! I would love to have you try to make that argument to any of my Roman friends, even those who are still practicing. Granted the horrendous sexual abuse might not have been universal, though given the Church’s ability to cover it up, how would you know? The terrorizing of students that passed for discipline was not isolated, however, as you’d know if you talked to anyone who graduated from a Catholic school before the late 1980s. Cripes, Christopher, your dismissal of the pain and hurt caused by this is laughable. I have to assume… Read more »

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Don’t even try Ford!

Gagnon is so distorted it would take at least 6 months only to de-cut and de-edit his references!!!

Not worth the effort.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

Thanks, Goran. I finally found out about Gagnon. He may well be a good NT scholar, but he’s no social scientist, not if he quotes Satinover! Christopher, I hope you read this. I can understand why you were so reticent about naming the sources for your “statistics”. Christopher, the people Gagnon cites do “studies” designed to “prove” what they want to “prove”. One “study” of gay people and mortality claimed that we have a shortened life span based on information taken from obituary columns in gay newspapers! This isn’t science, it is propaganda.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Well, I wasn’t referring to his Cameronian end chapters. Not my line of buisness at all.

I was talking of his exegesis, history & c.

I repeat that his references – and the claims he makes about them, whether he says they support him or not – are cut and edited as to bear little or no resemblance to what the authors actually mean.

Ford Elms
Guest
Ford Elms

And the “science” is also dubious. How shocking then that a work such as his could be used by the CofE for info on developing its “gay issue” policy. I sincerely thought we were better than this. As I said, lesson in humility.

Göran Koch-Swahne
Guest

Indeed so.