Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Too fat to adopt?

A story has broken in the national (U.K.) press concerning a couple who have been rejected by their local authority as candidates to adopt a child. The husband is regarded as too fat, despite not having a sedentary lifestyle or being unwell. His wife, moreover, has a career as a nanny, and they are both teetotal non-smokers.
A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said:
"The council's adoption service has a legal responsibility to ensure that its looked-after children are placed with adopters who are able to provide the best possible lifelong care. Part of this responsibility is advice for applicants on a range of suitability criteria, including any health or lifestyle issues which may impact on an applicant's long-term ability to adopt…”.

Without wishing to comment more on the specific case, which may well turn out to be more complicated thanit at first appears, this does raise quite a few interesting and potentially worrying questions for the future.
In the wake of the dispute over the Catholic adoption agencies, how long will it be before any strongly held religious views (either orthodox Roman Catholic or Evangelical) will be regarded as an impediment in terms of adopting and caring for children? I am not only referring to those who depart from our society’s current norms with regard to views on human sexuality, but a whole range of beliefs and practices which may well be regarded as unacceptable to the post-modern liberal elites who now run our society with, it has to be admitted, public opinion largely seeming to be on their side.
Of course, we are not at this point yet, but there is an emerging and dangerous trend which should worry anyone concerned with the preservation of traditional rights and freedoms, religious freedoms above all. It is of particular concern in a country with a rapidly changing culture increasingly at odds with its history, and which has no written constitution and no home-grown bill of rights to which one can appeal.
So what rights should minorities in society be deemed to have, whether they are considered obese, fanatically religious, or to hold any other views which prove unacceptable to the majority?

Of course, Anglicans shouldn’t worry over much about any of this; we are not considered to hold any beliefs strongly enough to be seen as threatening to anyone, and the modern Church of England seems hell bent on restoring the most abject form of Erastianism imaginable: “the Church of the nation has to believe what the nation believes.”
It's not a question of Establishment, but of assimilation to the culture. As Anglicans we are more and more formed by the culture surrounding us and less and less by the imperatives of the Gospel. Things are no better in the disestablished Church in Wales: we elect our own bishops & so we get what we deserve! I blame Henry VIII (for most things.)

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