January 26, 2007

WWJD?: Lies and Blackmail!

United Kingdom: It came as no surprise that, while the Prattle was down, a number of interesting news stories would come to light, and that others would run and run. In particular, some religious organisations continue to be upset that same-sex couples have the right to be considered as adoptive parents, and will soon have to receive equal treatment in the provision of goods and services.

One church, in particular, is desperate for the right to be bigoted, even though their own members, and people perceived to be descended from members of that church, have been, and still are, on the receiving end of discrimination. Needless to say, the church which pretends to be so concerned about children is the same one that has a long-standing problem with pædophile clergy, and a history of covering up the child abuse committed by their priests (Prattles passim, ad nauseam).

So, what honourable tactics are being used by the men of God?

Bearing false witness is still going strong. Last May, the director of the St. Andrew's Children's Society told the Scottish Parliament's Education Committee his views on the matter:

Clearly, the best chance for every child comes from being in a home in which they are loved and cared for by adults. If that cannot be with their birth family, it should be with a substitute family that can provide that. A person's gender or sexuality does not determine how loving they will be to a child.

He also explained how he'd been helping out a same-sex couple who felt that their adoption application was being hindered by the local council.

Now, the president of the St. Andrew's Children's Society is one Archbishop Mario Conti, but either he, or the people doing the actual work with children, is seriously off-message, as his recent letter to Tony Blair reveals. In it, Conti insists that he has the right to be a bigot, essentially because his imaginary friend says so, and because other adults with an imaginary friend agree that their imaginary friend says so too.

Catholic teaching about the foundations of family life, a teaching shared not only by other Christian Churches but also other faiths, means that Catholic adoption agencies would not be able to recruit and consider homosexual couples as potential adoptive parents.

Furthermore, not letting them discriminate would be discrimination!

We believe it would be unreasonable, unnecessary and unjust discrimination against Catholics for the government to insist that if they wish to continue to work with local authorities, Catholic adoption agencies must act against the teaching of the Church and their own consciences by being obliged in law to provide such a service.

Note the emphasis, which I added. The Catholic Church is complaining that it is not allowed to spend taxpayers' money on promoting bigotry. In case it's not clear, he makes it perfectly clear whose money he wants to spend: Our agencies receive fees from local authorities directly linked to their adoption work.

If he's not happy with the conditions attached to receiving government money, perhaps he should instruct Roman Catholic adoption agencies to not take that money?

Instead, the Roman Catholic Church has stooped to blackmail: let us discriminate against pooves and dykes, or we take our ball home close our adoption agencies completely. Ptttrrrrrpppppp! Stonewall is not impressed, as a representative told The Scotsman

Basically, the only reason the Church intends to shut down its adoption agencies would be because it's more important to discriminate against gay people than it is to protect children. That's what they are saying.

For the Church to say that it would rather shut down its adoption agencies and leave children in care seems rather strange and unchristian to me.

In a related case, we have a former magistrate, Andrew McLintock, who flounced off, sorry, resigned, because, as an alleged Christian, he did not want to have to deal with same-sex adoption cases. Fine, as the author of The Magistrate's Blog notes, this is a reasonable thing to do in the circumstances:

Of course if a magistrate finds his conscience in conflict with the law he must either enforce the law of the land or resign: there is a principled case to be made for either course of action...

But, there's a but...

...but two things puzzle me about this case:- firstly why did the JP not simply withdraw from Family Panel work ... and secondly why is an Industrial Tribunal getting involved? Being a magistrate is not employment, and we are appointed by the Lord Chancellor on behalf of the Crown. What is he asking the Tribunal to order? What power does it have anyway? Surely it cannot be right that a Tribunal would insist that Parliament can only pass laws that do not impinge on the conscience of the judiciary?

Perhaps the answer is, that the former magistrate wishes to ignore Matthew 6:1 in dramatic fashion, parade his piety before others and get plenty of free publicity for his bigoted cause? For one, why fly in a notorious fundie from the United States? Pink News picks up the tale:

The tribunal heard evidence yesterday from Dean Byrd, who is a prominent promoter of so-called conversion therapy as a cure for homosexuality.

Dr Byrd told the tribunal:

...Children raised by same-sex couples exhibit poor outcomes not so dissimilar to those raised by divorced heterosexual parents.

Dean Byrd is Vice-President of NARTH (National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality), an organisation which promotes the bullying of transgender children as a way of making them normal, and which lobbies for homosexuality to be classified as a mental illness. False witness is their usual tactic, and the organisation is particularly fond of misrepresenting scientific research. It will come as no surprise to learn that Byrd deliberately misrepresented the research he mentioned in his evidence, as Jim Burroway at Box Turtle Bulletin noticed:

What Dr. Byrd neglects to mention is that these studies compare children who had experienced divorce and were raised by same-sex parents to children who had experienced divorce and were raised by opposite-sex parents. The reason their outcomes are not so dissimilar to those raised by divorced heterosexual parents is obvious: both groups of children had experienced divorce.

When you understand the nature of the research, it becomes clear that when children are raised by same-sex parents, their outcomes are quite similar to their counterparts raised by heterosexual couples. The sexuality of their parents is not a factor.

Lies, blackmail and more lies. And then they try and tell us that religion makes people good.

Education Committee Official Report 31 May 2006The Scottish Parliament, 31st May 2006; In full: Cardinal's letter to BlairBBC News, 22nd January 2007; Conti claims Executive backs right of Catholic adoption agencies to ban gay couplesThe Scotsman, 24th January 2007; Magistrate quit over gay adoptionBBC News, 24th January 2007; A Matter of ConscienceThe Magistrate's Blog, January 24th 2007; Tribunal told gay parents are bad for kidsPink News, 26th January 2007;NARTH Exports Their Political Agenda OverseasBox Turtle Bulletin, 26th January 2007. See also Christians ignoring Jesus (yet again)Pagan Prattle, 9th January 2007.

Special thanks to Roy for his considerable help in the preparation of this article.

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This page contains a single entry by Feòrag published on January 26, 2007 5:41 PM.

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