Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Take a Hike: You’re no Longer Wanted Here!

Can your Christian faith disqualify you from being a foster parent? It now can in the UK!

• London’s High Court last week [ruled] that a Christian couple could be banned from foster care due to their unwillingness to support the homosexual lifestyle. (, 3/8/11)

• The court’s ruling found that Eunice and Owen Johns had not been the victims of religious discrimination when the Derby City Council declined their foster care application, based on the Johns’ alleged inability to “promote diversity.”

Isn’t this religious discrimination? Not according to the Court:

• In its analysis of the City Council’s defense of its actions, the Court commented: “the defendant says that it has approved foster carers who are very committed Christians who hold to orthodox beliefs . . . and devout Muslim carers who are similarly committed to their religion, but who in both instances are able to value diversity notwithstanding their strongly held religious beliefs.”

• Refusing to overturn the Council’s decision, the Court concurred that the decision was not discrimination because it was based on the Johns’ disapproval of homosexuality rather than on the fact of their Christian faith.

According to the Court, Christianity does not necessarily forbid certain forms of sexuality, but could and should “value diversity.” Seen in the light of its re-definition of Christianity, the Court is not discriminating against religion but against homophobic expressions of religion, as if Christianity can be separated from its teachings on sexual behavior.

Even the British Prime Minister David Cameron hailed the Court’s pronouncement: “I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad minded.” However, Cameron and the Court are not “very tolerant and welcoming and broad minded” of Christianity.

Of course, the charge is raised, “This is a secular society, and it must be governed by secular rulings.” However, this doesn’t reflect the original understanding of secularism, not in the UK or in the USA. For example, in 1940, the U.S. Supreme Court heard a case involving Jehovah Witness children who refused to say the Pledge of Allegiance. Justice Felix Frankfurter argued for the majority that our common national interests for patriotic cohesiveness required the Pledge. In response, Justice Harlan Stone retorted that religious liberty argued for,

• “The freedom of the individual from compulsion as to what he shall think and what he shall say, at least where the compulsion is to bear false witness to his religion.”

According to Stone, our freedom of religion and expression should even take precedence over certain national interests. Thankfully, Frankfurter’s decision did not stand. In 1943, in a very similar case, Justice Robert Jackson wrote for the majority and affirmed:

• “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion, or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.”

If the UK ruling had followed this logic, a true concern for religious diversity would have ruled in favor of Eunice and Owen Johns and their religious views, while allowing other foster parents to have their own distinctive views. Instead, the UK’s ruling merely placed the religion of sexual diversity over “live and let live” among the various religions. It ruled that only a certain belief system qualified – one that embraced sexual diversity. “Either it’s our religion, or take a hike and don’t come back!”

This new religion is repressive and intolerant. David Starkey, a renowned historian and UK media personality discussed this (and also the case of a British couple who owned a small hotel and were fined, since they did not wish to accommodate a homosexual couple):

• “I am gay and I am atheist but I have profound doubts about this case. It seems to me that what we are doing is producing a tyrannous new morality that is every bit as oppressive as the old…I am very, very concerned that a new sort of liberal morality is coming in, which as I said, is as intolerant, is as oppressive, is as intrusive into family life.”

If we are “homophobic” as many scornfully charge, perhaps it’s appropriate to call our accusers “Christophobic?” These are difficult times, but they aren’t unforeseen:

• And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching. (Hebrews 10:24-25)

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