Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Another questionable legal judgement

John Richardson, The Ugley Vicar, asks this very pertinent question about the judgement in a recent case in the High Court:

"Should Christians be allowed to keep children?

Apparently, according to the High Court, Christians who are not willing to commend homosexual acts ought not to be given other people's children to foster.
If this is what was said, and if it is a valid judgement, is it therefore right that Christians should nevertheless be allowed to keep their own natural children, if they similarly will not commend homosexual acts to them?"
The vital issue is rapidly becoming not the demand for homosexual equality before the law- as far as I am aware very few people oppose that at least in in general terms - but the refusal of a secular culture with its own recently invented set of ethics to tolerate any deviation whatsoever from what it regards as its core values, however much at odds they may be with our history and traditions. Unfortunately, once the concept of "equality" enters any discussion, freedom, whether of thought or expression, goes out of the window.
The urgent issue for our legislators and those who interpret legislation is how our society can achieve a balance between the rights of sexual minorities to receive 'equal' treatment (whatever that means - a can of worms in itself) and the legitimate rights of religious believers not only to hold on to the tenets of their faith but to practice them. It should also be borne in mind that when we are discussing the use of public money (as with the Catholic adoption agencies) the State in fact has no money of its own, only what it has obtained from the taxpayers - individuals each with their own beliefs and opinions, none of whom were ever consulted (other than in the most general terms in the fine print of party manifestos) about  the desirability of equality legislation and, most importantly of all, of the possible implications for individual freedom in its enforcement.
The difficulty facing the Church is that modern relativism is clearly an intellectual one-way-street as it cannot even contemplate the possibility that it may be mistaken. Now who is it who has spoken about the "dictatorship of relativism?"

On a closely related matter, there are interesting discussions on the Anglican (evangelical - reformed) blogs Cramner and Cranmer's Curate about the Church of England's attitude to the use of Church buildings for civil partnership ceremonies or what they will perhaps morph into. Whatever our attitude to the substantive question here, surely the 'junior' cleric is correct when he asks,  "...can an institution that allows its clergy to enter into civil partnerships be relied upon to hold the line?"
Time will tell.

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