Monday, February 28, 2011

Christian foster parents will most likely be the new religious right cause celebre

Something happened today overseas which I know will play out in this country:

Mr and Mrs Johns said they could not tell a child homosexuality was an acceptable lifestyle.

Eunice and Owen Johns, 62 and 65, of Derby, said the city council did not want them to look after children because of their traditional views.

They claim they were "doomed not to be approved" due to their opinions.

The Pentecostal Christian couple had applied to Derby City Council to be respite carers.

They withdrew their application after a social worker expressed concerns when they said they could not tell a child a homosexual lifestyle was acceptable.

At the High Court, they asked judges to rule that their faith should not be a bar to them becoming carers, and the law should protect their Christian values.

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.

They said that if children were placed with carers who objected to homosexuality and same-sex relationships, "there may well be a conflict with the local authority's duty to 'safeguard and promote the welfare' of looked-after children".

And while we know the religious right will be chomping at the bit over this (Lifesite News has already started), the situation to me is not as simple as folks will most likely make it.

While I have nothing against the couple, I do have a problem with their failure to acknowledge the plain possibility that one of the children they seek to foster may turn out to be an lgbt.

And then what will happen to that child in that environment?

This isn't a matter of the lgbt community trying to strong arm the law in our favor. It's a matter of a creating the best environment for a child to be nurtured.

 And  no matter how Christian and nurturing as the Johns family claims to be, the chance that an lgbt child may be placed in this unaccepting household is a chance that shouldn't be taken.

The words of Robert Pigott, BBC religious affairs correspondent, says it better than me:

The case is likely to be seen as a landmark decision, as senior judges ruled so decisively against any idea that attitudes might be justified purely because they were Christian in origin.

The court discriminated between kinds of Christianity, saying that Christians in general might well make good foster parents, while people with traditionalist Christian views like Mr and Mrs Johns might well not.

Such views, said the judges, might conflict with the welfare of children.

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Jess said...

the only issue I see here is this
They want to be respite caregivers. respite caregivers typically don't have the kids very long, they watch children while their main foster family is out of state (if they haven't been able to get permission to take the kids out of state) I can see a big problem if they got a child that told them they were lgbt, but, in a short time, it would be less likely that this would come up. I would most definitely not want this person giving long term care to a lgbt child, but a night or two with a child who's sexual orientation they don't know? If they are very loud about their disapproval, it could be very big problem, but if they don't talk about it unless asked, then I don't really see a problem.

BlackTsunami said...

That's a good point. But one does wonder what will happen if it does come up even in that short amount of time which they have the children.

rusty44 said...

The same issue of Pink News had an article about the ArchWeasel of Canterbury' opposition to civil marriages in church. I wanted to send you that, but I can't find an e-mail address for Holy Bullies.


Fr. Raymond
San Diego

Jess said...

Honestly, I'm torn, I don't really know what to feel in this case. Part of me knows that the foster system need all the quality people it can get, but, all of me doesn't want any lgbt kids forced to be trapt in a house with people who would treat them as less than, simply because of their orientation.

Anonymous said...

Here the ruling in full; it makes interesting reading:

There is more to it than meets the eye!

Anonymous said...

Also worth a look: Misplaced outrage over High Court “ban” on Christian foster parents

JT said...

Folks, discrimination is discrimination. You can't have it both ways. We keep saying that we're not into discrimination but here we are, telling people that they can't be foster parents because of their religious beliefs. It has to end somewhere. It just has to. We can't be as they are or we're no better than they are. Change the rules for foster parenting. There are ways to do this. Let's do it right, not the same way they've always done it.

BlackTsunami said...

I agree with you but at the same time, there does need to be something in place to protect lgbt children from problems. I would sincerely hope that they can come to some type of middle policy on this. However, please read the links provided because apparently the case is more nuanced than any of us thought.