Christian foster couple lose 'homosexuality views' case

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    Feb 28, 2011 9:28 PM GMT
    Just wondering what are your views on this..

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-derbyshire-12598896


    A Christian couple opposed to homosexuality have lost a court battle over their right to become foster carers.

    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 High Court ruled that laws protecting people from sexual discrimination should take precedence.

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    All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing”

    Eunice Johns
    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.

    Moral opinions

    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".

    They rejected suggestions that the case involved "a threat to religious liberty", adding: "No one is asserting that Christians - or, for that matter, Jews or Muslims - are not fit and proper persons to foster or adopt. No-one is contending for a blanket ban."

    Speaking outside the court in London, Mrs Johns said: "All we wanted was to offer a loving home to a child in need. We have a good track record as foster parents.

    "We have been excluded because we have moral opinions based on our faith and we feel sidelined because we are Christians with normal, mainstream, Christian views on sexual ethics.

    "We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing."

    The couple, who cared for about 15 children in the 1990s, have called for a public inquiry into the matter.

    Derby City Council has welcomed the court's ruling.

    A spokesman said the authority "valued diversity and promoted equality" and "encouraged and supported children in a non judgmental way, regardless of their sexual orientation or preference".

    He added: "The court confirmed that the local authority is properly entitled to consider a prospective foster carer's views on sexuality when considering their application to become a foster parent and in fact, failure to do so would potentially leave it in breach of its own guidance as well as the National Minimum Standards."

    Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, said: "Thankfully, Mr and Mrs Johns' out-dated views aren't just out of step with the majority of people in modern Britain, but those of many Christians too.

    "If you wish to be involved in the delivery of a public service, you should be prepared to provide it fairly to anyone."

    But the Christian Legal Centre reacted to the ruling with dismay and warned that "fostering by Christians is now in doubt".

    The organisation said the judgment "sends out the clear message that orthodox Christian ethical beliefs are potentially harmful to children and that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents".


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    Analysis


    Robert Pigott
    BBC News religious affairs correspondent
    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.

    Significantly, the court said that while there was a right not to face discrimination on the basis on either religion or sexual orientation, equality of sexual orientation took precedence.

    This was the most decisive ruling against the idea of Christian values underpinning English law since judges ruled last year that to protect views simply because they were religious would be irrational, divisive and arbitrary.

    Today the message was that courts would interpret the law in cases like the Johns' according to secular and not religious values.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Feb 28, 2011 9:39 PM GMT
    would we want people to foster who told girls that their proper place was in the kitchen and that they shouldn´t waste time on further study, but should marry and go on to have lots of babies in order to be fulfilled as a human?
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    Mar 01, 2011 1:49 AM GMT
    Lostboy saidwould we want people to foster who told girls that their proper place was in the kitchen and that they shouldn´t waste time on further study, but should marry and go on to have lots of babies in order to be fulfilled as a human?


    Bingo.


    Then there's this other pesky aspect; religious carers teaching the kiddies that those of other faiths are wrong and infidels, sinners, will burn in hell etc. And of course that ol' 'thou shalt not suffer a witch to live' thingy.

    This lady, for example, is not a good candidate for being a foster parent....




    "I should've killed myself when he put it in me. After the first time, before we were married, Ralph promised never again. He promised, and I believed him. But sin never dies. Sin never dies. At first, it was all right. We lived sinlessly. We slept in the same bed, but we never did it. And then, that night, I saw him looking down at me that way. We got down on our knees to pray for strength. I smelled the whiskey on his breath. Then he took me. He took me, with the stink of filthy roadhouse whiskey on his breath, and I liked it. I liked it! With all that dirty touching of his hands all over me. I should've given you to God when you were born, but I was weak and backsliding, and now the devil has come home. We'll pray."
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    Mar 01, 2011 2:04 AM GMT
    meninlove said

    Such a creepy movie. Scares me to this day.
  • KissTheSky

    Posts: 1980

    Mar 01, 2011 2:07 AM GMT
    What about white supremacists? Should they be foster parents, so they can raise impressionable children to be racist bigots? I see no difference.
    (Segregationists and Ku Klux Klan members had a number of Bible verses to support their views too.) icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Mar 01, 2011 2:09 AM GMT
    Christians... can't live with them, can't live without them.
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    Mar 01, 2011 2:26 AM GMT
    A1BOT saidChristians... can't live with them, can't live without them.


    lol, wut? There are a great many christians that do NOT espouse bigotry or condemnation of gay people. They follow Christ's edict; to love one another as themselves.

    -Doug
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    Mar 01, 2011 2:28 AM GMT
    carminea said
    meninlove said

    Such a creepy movie. Scares me to this day.


    Apologies, Carminea, it is rather graphic isn't it?

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    Mar 01, 2011 2:51 AM GMT
    Lostboy saidwould we want people to foster who told girls that their proper place was in the kitchen and that they shouldn´t waste time on further study, but should marry and go on to have lots of babies in order to be fulfilled as a human?


    Naturally, the answer is "no". But is it really possible for a social worker to predict, based on a few interviews, all the possible ways in which prospective foster parents might teach their children prejudice, or anything that runs counter to their (and society's) best interests?

    Do we, for example, currently screen out prospective caregivers who oppose vaccination? Or those who oppose medicine in general? (i.e. Christian Scientists). Should we?

    This is very tricky. As much as I sympathize with the court's position, I think they've opened a real can of worms here.
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    Mar 01, 2011 2:56 AM GMT
    You can't legally discriminate against others just because your religion says you should. What if somebody founds a religion that believes in the superiority of the white race? Will they be able to discriminate against non-whites just because of their religion?
    As the saying goes "the right to swing my fist ends where the other man's nose begins."
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    Mar 01, 2011 3:13 AM GMT
    I'm a foster parent in Georgia and I can say from experience that the approval process is very thorough and the purpose of fostering is made perfectly clear during the training. One thing that is pounded into your head during the 10 weeks of classes I attended is that the job of a foster parent is not to impress your own morals or religious beliefs on the foster child. The role of the foster parent is to provide a safe environment for the child while the biological family resolves their issues so that the family can be reunified. In spite of the name, a foster parent is not the parent and has no place or right to impress their own religious views on the child. If a foster parent wants to "mold" a child, then they should be considering adoption; otherwise they are over stepping their rights and authority.