Updated twice Monday evening
The BBC reports Court backs decision to bar Christian foster couple.
The full text of the judgment can be found here. The language used by the judges is really quite extraordinarily strong.
Andrew Brown has published an analysis, at The law of England is not Christian.
The Christian Institute and similar bodies have mounted a series of court cases over the alleged persecution of Christians in the last five years. Almost all have been based around the claim that Christians are entitled to discriminate against gay people. Each one has ended in defeat. From the cross worn by Nadia Eweida to the attempts to allow religious exemption to the registrants of civil marriage, or the owners of B&Bs, the cases have been pitched as matters of high principle, and the judges have responded with increasing asperity. None, I think, has been so brutal as Lord Justice Munby in his judgment on the case of Owen and Eunice Johns, a couple of Sheffield pentecostalists who were turned down as foster carers because they would not accept homosexuality…
…[T]hey wrote to the council “We take these statements and others to mean that it is either your policy, or your understanding of the law, that Christians and other faith groups who hold the view that any sexual union outside a marriage between a man and a woman is morally reprehensible are persons who are unfit to foster. In short you seem to be suggesting that Christians (such as us) can only adopt if we compromise our beliefs regarding sexual ethics”.
This is the view that Lord Justice Munby has described as a “travesty of reality”.
He quotes some substantial excerpts from the judgment, and then concludes:
Obviously, these judgments will have a considerable effect on evangelical protestantism in this country, which has always taken the view that we are, or should be, a Christian nation. But I think the greatest effect will not be on pentecostalists like the Johnses. They can adjust quite easily to the idea that they live under a heathen or godless regime. It is the old-fashioned evangelical wing of the Church of England which will be most upset and confused by these clear statements of principle.
Others have issued statements:
British Humanist Association High court upholds decision to bar anti-gay Christian couple from fostering: BHA comments
Gavin Drake has also written an analysis, see Misplaced outrage over High Court “ban” on Christian foster parents which makes some good points. One thing he says is this:
The Christian Legal Centre have issued a press release about the case which they open: “In a landmark judgment, which will have a serious impact on the future of fostering and adoption in the UK, the High Court has suggested that Christians with traditional views on sexual ethics are unsuitable as foster carers, and that homosexual ‘rights’ trump freedom of conscience in the UK.”
This is nothing less than a lie and I am appalled that a Christian group should seek to misrepresent the truth in such a way. I’d go so far as to suggest that the Christian Legal Centre’s press release may amount to a contempt of court.
Lawyer Neil Addison has commented at Religion Law blog see Johns v Derby Council – Christian Foster Carers Case and he concludes:
All in all this does appear to be a case that should not have been brought and which, from the point of view of orthodox Christians has done more harm than good.
Perhaps in fulfillment of Andrew Brown’s last sentence (see above) Chris Sugden has weighed in at Anglican Mainstream with High Court ruling on Foster-Care parents.