Monday, 28 February 2011

Should Christians be allowed to keep children?

Update: The full ruling can be read here.

Apparently, according to the High Court, Christians who are not willing to commend homosexual acts ought not to be given other people's children to foster.

If this is what was said, and if it is a valid judgement, is it therefore right that Christians should nevertheless be allowed to keep their own natural children, if they similarly will not commend homosexual acts to them?

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  1. See? "Gay rights" DO undermine traditional families after all.

    Dan Baynes
    Barton Seagrave

  2. Reading the story, it seems a little ambiguous. The couple withdrew their application after a social worker expressed concerns causing them to conclude they were doomed to not be accepted.

  3. Ask Jeanette Winterson.

  4. Winterson was adopted so I don't see how this bears on John's question about natural parents.

    And John, could you ask this Anon. to identify themselves and location?

    Dan (as above)

  5. It looks like the court did rule something.

    "But Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson ruled that laws protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation "should take precedence" over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds."

    So, if a Christian couple agree with the State and teach the child that homosexual behaviour is not a sin, then they can be foster parents. They just can't raise a child if they have "orthodox" beliefs.

  6. The answer is, "No". Thank God for over 300 years of toleration. Prepare for persecution and martyrdom.

  7. I can't help wondering if the quoted reasons for refusing this couple were only those, and whether perhaps their respective ages "62 and 65", might not perhaps have had some influence on the decision.
    Perhaps I am naive, but it does not appear cut and dried to me.

  8. John, Gavin Drake has written what I think is a helpful summary of what has happened:

  9. Imogen Taylor, DERBY28 February 2011 at 23:18

    Underground Pewster: I don't think it is supposed to be about the foster carers being discriminated against on EITHER sexual orientation grounds OR religious grounds; a social worker once told me that it was the child's needs that should be considered. Potential carers should be considered on the grounds of their suitability for the child, not on their "right" to foster... So the question is whether the child is suffering detriment from not being told it's okay to be homosexual...

  10. And yet it's considered okay to allow children to be raised without a mother/father figure; nay, it's actually illegal to insist on this! So much for the child's interest.


  11. I've now read most of the text of the judgement John has since linked to, and several points stand out:

    (1) Both these judges and Laws before them write as though opposition to homosexual practice has no grounds other than "religious" (Christian) teaching. Yet this comes just weeks after the Home Office sacked the new drugs advisor for potentially "embarrassing" them re. the link between homosexuality and paedophilia, a link the HO's own previous publication had admitted.

    Besides the specifics of Biblical revelation, there are in fact plenty of grounds for looking negatively upon homosex, whether relating to sexual health, cancer risk (for oral sex), incidence of depression and suicide (greater than for other sometimes socially ostracised groups, therefore not due solely to that), correlation with general hedonism which is the great enemy of all civilisation, and just plain anti-natalism at a time when Western populations everywhere are failing to maintain themselves.

    (2) The judges also write as though it would be an acceptable outcome for e.g. Lillian Ladele to act clean contrary to her beliefs about homosexual unions. In other words, they would legislate for standing hypocrisy. Would they force atheists to swear by a Bible they don't believe in? In fact isn't this the very essence of the main objection to the judges' bogey of "theocracy", that it means great hypocrisy by superficial and mendacious subscription to the official religious creed?

    And whatever happened to all that guff about homosexuals being forced to "live a lie" if they live chastely? Not only are the judges guilty of enjoining hypocrisy on Christians like Ladele, they're even guilty of accepting a second-tier level of hypocrisy by allowing one law for gays and demanding another one for Christians!

    (3) The whole accusation by Derby CC proceeds on the conjecture of a pretty unlikely occurrence (that a foster child would claim to be gay). Why stop there? Why not enquire into every other relatively unlikely outcome? What about Muslim foster parents if their foster kid declares their wish to convert to Christanity? What about (typically contemptuous) atheist foster parents if their charge decides to become a Christian - or still better, a creationist? Would they be willing to take them to a church that taught creationism, or a lecture by a creationist speaker?...

    (4) I take up Laws' remarks (which I remember reading at the time they first came out) about the total subjectivity of religious (read Christian) faith. That seems to me the essence of the "secularist" position, and of course we'd dispute that vigorously; but the other point is that this description could just as well fit the new false god of "sexual orientation". As far as I'm concerned a homosexual orientation is entirely in the mind of the subject; it has zero correlation with anything outside, including particularly the subject's genitals which are identical to a heterosexual's and designed for exclusively heterosexual sex. Once the subject accepts this striking mind-body dissonance, the subject therefore abuses them when they corral them into same-sex copulation.

    (5) Again, the judges try very hard to distinguish (and separate) Christian faith and Christian sexual morals. I can't help but notice the contrast between this and the earlier total judicial failure to make the obvious distinction between Hall and Preddy's "sexual orientation" and the sex acts they would likely have committed had the Bulls let them stay in that double room....

  12. Sorry, the above was by me, Dan

  13. Bishop Dominic Stockford (Evangelical Connexion)1 March 2011 at 15:40

    I do have serious concern that at some stage a government agency gone bad, like Social Services, will turn up and remove my children because I am openly and staunchly a Protestant, Reformed and Evangelical Christian. Having said that, I believe that because God has placed me in a fairly high-profile position I have some natural protection from such interference.

    However, the day is coming closer when such a removal will start to be a reality for our Bible-believing Christian brethren in this country, if not for me.

  14. Imogen Taylor, DERBY1 March 2011 at 23:25

    As to your point number (3) above, Dan, a Christian foster carer has ALREADY been struck off ... for allowing a Muslim teenager in her charge to convert to Christianity and get baptised. See (The Christian Institute will also have a report on this if you care to look.)

  15. Oh dear, John, I expected a little more pastoral responsibility on this subject and that you’d take Peter Ould’s line (see: - he has carefully read the judgement and demonstrated – as is often the case with these ‘professional’ martyrs, that there is more to it than just ‘homo-fascism’ – there are faults on both sides and it seems the couple concerned were overly quick to conclude they were victims of liberal secularism – running off to the lawyers at the drop of a hat. Just as the council was overly quick not to explain its position and that sincere religious belief is not a bar to being a foster parent.

    I am rather perplexed by some of Dan’s arguments above. Homosexual sex is dangerous! In 1900 there were many orphanages and schools for the blind – far more than there are today, even though the population is greater. The main reason for the large number of children born blind, or going blind soon after birth, was the fact that they contracted congenital syphilis from their mothers, for at the time it is estimated that around one in ten of the population had syphilis – the number of blind youngsters certainly bears out this statistic. In 1900 Victoria was still on the throne and Victoria morals abounded, but it didn’t seem to stop the dangers of heterosexual sex! No, if Dan’s argument is followed, then the government should also ban foster parents from driving cars or letting the children out of the house because far more people die from car accidents than homosexual sex (around 18 people day die on the roads – the majority, heterosexual (I’m sure most sensible people can see how silly it is to start waving statistics around that having little bearing on reality!). Given cervical cancer is linked with promiscuity and far more women die of this than homosexuals of mouth cancer should women be banned from being foster parents? But as Dan notes homosexuals are more prone to depression and mental illness – but is it any wonder when having to face the barrage of opprobrium and malice written in quasi ‘medical reports’ that have a similar flavour to the literature produced by German, Nazi doctors concerning racial purity and the inferiority of the Jew. Half truths and manipulation of data was common then as it seems to be now. The intention was the same, to strip individuals of their humanity, as is the way with all oppression and scapegoating.

    Whatever, there is more to this case than easy judgements and taking delight in the inverted pride of a victim mentality.

    Thanks for the link, John:

    Ken Simpson,

    P.S. Imogen, I'd hardly regard either the Daily Mail or the Christian Institute as bastions of truth or fair reporting!

  16. Just as a P.S. – aimed really at Dan, but also others, who believe the state and its agencies are ‘anti’ religion. If this is so, why does the government, in these difficult times, still fund the hospital and prison chaplaincies? Why is it that the main source of income of the Salvation Army, the Shaftsbury Society (around 80% of their income) and numerous other ‘Christian’ charities is the government (and we’re talking hundreds of millions of pounds here)? e.g. the Salvation Army states on its website that a donation of £15 (approx.) will pay for someone to stay in one of its hostels for a week; however the actual cost is almost £400 and the money comes from housing benefits (taxpayer) and Supporting People – a direct government grant. You may well remember one of the Catholic adoption agencies decided to refuse government money because of those wicked homosexualists – stating same sex couples were contrary to Church teaching, though as the agency happily accepted unmarried heterosexual couples (also contrary to Church teaching) as adoptive parents, I think the government was well within its rights to pull the funds. An appeal was launched and I think it raised about half the CEO’s annual salary – without the might of the tax-payer the agency could not function. Surely if Christians want ‘Christian’ services they should pay for them. But in the main this does not happen. Even the poor Johns, would not have been fostering without some remuneration – they would have received payment in the form of a reasonably generous allowance for the work they did. (Tho’ I think anyone who fosters deserves every penny!!)

    Perhaps, what those of you above should do, if you’re really unhappy about the situation is start up your own fostering and adoption agency. There is no law to say you can’t. You won’t get any government money to do it and it will be interesting to see how many Christians put their money where their mouths are, but you are at liberty to do this, there is nothing to stop you. Why should the secular state have to support religious views? Or perhaps you think it should support 19th century morals?

    Whatever, much faith based social welfare is heavily reliant on the state for its income – as are hospital and prison chaplain services for their funding (again, we’re talking hundreds of millions of pounds here – look up some of your favourite Christian charities on the Charities’ Commission Website and read their financial reports, it might change your view on the ‘wicked’ secular state!). Surely if our state was so overtly anti-Christian this wouldn’t be happening? The state (or the mainly non-church attending tax-payer) would be saying ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and fund your own charitable works! But no, lots of support, so I wouldn’t moan too much about the place of religion in society.

    Just a thought, but I think here I things need to be put into perspective. Whatever, do read Peter Ould’s comment on this case, it might temper ‘Daily Mail’ reader fits of pique!


    Ken Simpson

  17. John,

    I do wonder about the reporting of this case.



    Imogen, with the best will in the world, you really cannot trust anything you read in the Daily Mail. Seriously.


    David Baker

  18. Also this

  19. To all those who've been kind enough to post, first apologies for not really responding to anything. I am flat out busy at the moment and even writing this is having to be rushed.

    Secondly, I would just point out a number of deliberate caveats in my original post (which picked up on an original BBC report).

    My initial post began with "Apparently" and continued, "If this is what was said, and if it is a valid judgement".

    My 'rat olfactometer" was already a bit twitchy, given the way such things have a habit of being reported, and in the event this was justified.

    Thirdly, I posed a question, not a statement: "is it therefore right that Christians should nevertheless be allowed to keep their own natural children ...?" This has rather been treated as an assertion: "Christians will not be allowed ... etc." It was not, but on the other hand, who would have thought fifty years ago we would be where we are today on this subject?

    Fourthly, it is quite clear that most of the original reports hadn't really got to grips with the judgement, as the Christian Institute have themselves observed. However, I posted a link to that judgement as soon as it became available and it is there for anyone who wants to read it.

    Fifthly, and finally, the judgement itself contains some fascinating material, which indeed has implications for the future. At some time I may get the opportunity to expand on these, but not right now!

  20. Thank you, Hugh, for noting that Ben Tibbits doesn't believe in the Jesus of the New Testament. There is no need for Christians to take Ben's views all that seriously.

  21. What is the result of these high profile ‘Christian Victim’ cases and the hyperbole, hysteria that follows in their wake? Does it result in honour for the Gospel; or its distrust and ridicule? I think the Gospel survives pretty well: the real causality is the perceived integrity of Christians. I just hope one day the Christian Institute and its allied organisations and the Christians so eager for “professional” martyrdom realise this. Perhaps it is time to stop these charades of moral indignation and the masochistic delight in victimhood and ponder Christ’s words on forgiving one’s enemies, waxing in humility, rejoicing in persecution and turning the other cheek? In short ditching the idea there is anything special about being a Christian and remember: “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.’” (Lk 17:10). Perhaps then Christians will be afforded honour by the very fact they eschew it – at present, it seems honour is being sought for its own sake and as Jesus noted, those who do so receive their reward (cf. Matthew 6:2); but alas not the reward they intended.



  22. In answer to your question: "… is it therefore right that Christians should nevertheless be allowed to keep their own natural children, if they similarly will not commend homosexual acts to them?" I believe the answer is, according to the present liberal tendency, categorically no.

    It must always be kept firmly in mind that liberals are incrementalists. They make progress by pushing the envelope a small bit at a time. A bit here, a bit over there, and before we know where we are, a great big hole has been opened up.

    It is not possible, AT THE PRESENT TIME, to separate children from their "homophobic" birth parents, but this is certainly in the long term plan.

    Clear evidence can be seen in ongoing initiatives to force compulsory sex education in schools on very young children, in an attempt to pry away from parents their right to oversee the early moral formation of their children. It can also be seen in attempts to require strict registration and regulation of home schooling parents, which is, I believe, intended to discourage and hinder the home schooling movement and, ultimately, to eliminate the participation of any parents who, like the couple who wanted to provide foster care, want to teach their children strict views on sexual ethics.

    Believe me … this is coming!

  23. Topper is right. If revival comes not, the only future hope of retaining one's children may be as dhimmi under the Caliphate of Islam.

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  26. Rev S C Bazlinton4 March 2011 at 00:17

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  28. It is one thing to post anonymously when you're specifically asked to give a full name and location, another thing to post an anonymous insult, but a thing in a different league entirely when you can't even spell your insult. It is 'barmy' as in 'Barmy Army', not 'balmy' as in 'balmy sea'.

  29. Following the anonymous misspelt insult incident, I'm introducing a strict 'no-name and location, no comment' policy for the rest of this thread, as requested in the original post.

    EVEN IF YOU HAVE GIVEN THESE DETAILS IN AN EARLIER POST please include them on each comment. Not everyone knows who you are, and not everyone wants to scan all the previous comments to find out.

    The one exception is that if clicking on your profile gives these details you do not have to repost them.

  30. Imogen Taylor, DERBY5 March 2011 at 16:59

    Thanks for pointing us to the full ruling, John!

  31. Stephen Bazlinton6 March 2011 at 18:17

    It seems as though blasphemy in our contemporary western culture is to disagree with contemporary sexual values.
    In the Soviet Union children could be take from their Christian parents to be re-educated to Soviet values. Will this happen in our 'liberal' society?

    Rev Stephen Bazlinton. Stebbing

  32. I think these sorts of questions won't be just a matter of logical consistency. There's lots of areas of life now where moralists and ethicists of all stripes can point to inconsistencies in how society and the law functions. People often move towards greater coherence of their views - but not always.

    There will be a group no doubt that either pushes "politically" for such a move (social workers and psychologists, for example, who produce studies 'demonstrating' that views that don't approve of active homosexuality harms gays and lesbians - and we can see an early example of that with the Judge in the Prop 8 case in California, who seems to have made just such a conclusion a 'finding of fact'). There will also be a group who, deliberately or not, sets up the intellectual climate for such a move - think Richard Dawkins' (at best) poorly worded statement that implied teaching children religious beliefs amounted to child abuse.

    But a lot will come down to what is politically possible. Liberalism has to move incrementally, the elites in a democratic society have to 'read' what the public as a whole will accept or they suffer a significant backlash. And sometimes the public is never willing to go 'the next step' even if it seems, from a purely logical point of view, to be just consistent.

    And in English speaking countries, with our tradition that 'liberty' involves areas of life (like family) which are relatively immune to the state's power, well there's a lot of factors that would need to be moved before the populace as a whole would wear the idea that parents could lose their children because social workers don't like their views.

    Not saying it couldn't happen. But the public will accept this ruling because no-one really cares about foster children anyway apart (ironically) from those volunteers (often with views like the Joneses) who provide foster care. So they can be bullish about how the minute number of homosexual foster kids are now better off while turning a blind eye to how this could gut foster care generally, by excluding the demographic highly likely to volunteer to provide such care.

    But a practice of taking children from natural-born parents would hit much closer to home. If they do it to religious extremists - like Christians who believe the Bible - they'll likely do it to 'respectable normal people' as well. It'd be a bit of a shift before people accept that the state has the authority to do that in anything other than the most extreme cases, I think.