Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Catholic Church and adoption.

The Catholic Church are up in arms about having their 'right' to discriminate against Lesbian and Gay people taken away. Funny, they want the protection of the law but deny it to others:

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor wrote to Cabinet ministers saying church teaching prevented its agencies placing children with homosexuals.
The Catholic Church wants to continue its policy of referring gay couples to other adoption agencies.
But this could fall foul of the Equality Act, due to come into effect in England, Wales and Scotland in April.
It outlaws discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexual orientation.
It says if they are not granted an exemption, local authorities would no longer be able to use Catholic agencies, and they would not be financially viable.
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor told the BBC the Catholic Church was not discriminating against homosexuals and was bound by its teaching to treat them with "respect and sympathy".

This is of course the same Cardinal who did such a good job of protecting children from priests , the same Catholic Church with such a good record on child protection.

What message is this sending out? 'Sympathy' ! That says it all, LGBT people are really to be pitied as they are sinners. The church will pray for them but does not believe they are fit to become loving adoptive parents. The Church may direct them elsewhere , to other agencies who will work with such 'sinners', but that is still the message.

How can it be acceptable for anyone providing a service, whether that's adoption or any other , to be able to act on their prejudices . How about replacing the word gay with 'Black', 'Disabled', 'Muslim', 'Old' ...
That would be seen, rightly, as unacceptable but discrimination against gay adopters is not ?

Everyone has the right to practice their religion and have freedom of conscience. They do not have the right to withhold services from a group . If they feel that strongly then perhaps they should not provide an adoption service, leave it to others.

With more and more 'social services' being handed over to faith and community groups it is important that they practice in an anti-discriminatory manner.

This attitude by the Catholic Church also assumes that all the children that they would find homes for are heterosexual. No gay teenagers. And of course no gay priests .

Seems the cabinet is split on this issue of exemptions.
Blair would probably be happy to go along with exemptions . The official line is :

The prime minister is trying to find a solution to the adoption row that "addresses the different concerns" of the Catholic Church and gay rights groups, his spokesman has said.
He's looking for a way through that recognises and tries to address the different concerns on both sides.

How , without giving a message that discrimination is acceptable when its gay people.

Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor said:

...The anti-discrimination law should be given full effect. "We do take the view in this country that you shouldn't be discriminated against on that basis and think that applies to everybody, whatever your religion," he said.

Exactly. You can't pick and choose when it comes down to discrimination.

Yet again though Ruth Kelly seems to be taking an interesting approach to the role of Minister for Equality. It seems quite clear from her actions, or at times lack of them, that she is not exactly happy with supporting LGBT people against discrimination. Of course she is entitled to hold her own religious views but perhaps being in a role where her views appear to conflict with her role is not the best option.

So we are back again with the conflict of interest for Ruth Kelly, between government policy and her own religious beliefs. It seems they are incompatible . I mean, what part of 'Equalities' or 'anti discrimination' does she not get. It makes a farce of the role that she does not champion equalities for all groups rather than avoiding directly answering the questions about her views on LGBT people.

She really is in the wrong job.

Update: The Church of England has backed the Catholic Church and stated

"rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well-meaning".

Legislation cannot and should not control beliefs, but this is about actions and services provided that clearly discriminate and send out a message that lesbian and gay people should not be parents.

On a more positive note :

Anglican priest Father Martin Reynolds, from the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement, is a long term foster carer.
He told the BBC there was no proof growing up in a gay family was bad for a child.
"There have been massive studies in America and elsewhere of the impact of growing up in gay families - maybe not always adopted families, very often they're children of the families themselves - and the evidence is, would you believe it, there's no more harm and no more good than in a gay family then there is anybody else's family."