From Cranmer (U.K.):
Homosexuality – good; Church – bad
This is the essence of the judgement of Labour-controlled Derby City Council, who have banned a Christian couple from fostering young children because they refused to abide by the new Sexual Orientation Regulations. Social workers rejected an application by Eunice and Owen Johns, who have been married for 39 years and have four grown-up children, to be foster parents because they refused to agree to tell any children in their care that the homosexual lifestyle was acceptable.
But, even more significantly, the adoption panel was also unhappy that the couple wished to take any child in their care to church with them on Sundays. Mrs Johns, a retired nurse, is a Sunday school teacher.
Yet the Johns’ application was to offer weekend respite care for foster children under the age of 10. As Mrs Johns said: "I would love any child, black or white, gay or straight. But I cannot understand why sexuality is an issue when we are talking about boys and girls under the age of 10."
There is obviously not a prejudiced bone in her body; just a sincere expression of the Christian faith with an outpouring of good works in her altruistic desire to do some good and give sacrificially of herself.
But Derby City council responded: "Our first duty is to the children in our care, some of whom are very vulnerable."
Since when has church-going on a Sunday become a form of child abuse? And since when were children under the age of 10 so sexually aware that they have to be told that homosexuality is acceptable?. . .
There is, of course, humour to be found in this story, not least in its irony and absurdity, but it represents a development on the previous case. While the Sexual Orientation Regulations have previously proved a hurdle to Christian foster parents refusing to acknowledge the acceptability of homosexual practice, this is the first time that church-going has been adduced as a reason for declaring a couple to be unsuitable for fostering.
Cranmer can hardly wait for Derby City Council to inform a Muslim couple that their mosque-going renders them unsuitable, or a Sikh couple that their gurdwara-going is unacceptable. And, for that matter, he awaits with bated breath to hear of the first homosexual couple to be rendered unsuitable for fostering because of their refusal to take the children in their care to the local mosque or church. This is as blatant an example of religious discrimination as these regulations could be employed to yield, and the decision must be challenged in law. If not, it may not be long before married, heterosexual Christians – who are all, of course, invariably bigoted and prejudiced - may have their children forcibly removed and handed over to a couple in a civil partnership – who are all so utterly reasonable, progressive and enlightened.
As the ever-impressive Bishop of Rochester says in The Sunday Telegraph: ‘There are times when Christian leaders have to speak out.’ Indeed there are, and this is one of them. So where is the Archbishop of Canterbury?
He is nowhere to be heard. So it is left to Dr Nazir-Ali to ask:
"Do the British people really want to lose that rooting in the Christian faith that has given them everything they cherish - art, literature, architecture, institutions, the monarchy, their value system, their laws?". . .
Read it all.