Monday, 28 February 2011

Catholics need not apply (1)

News media are reporting a judgement in the High Court which appears to give a green light to anti-Catholic discrimination.

This is the report being carried by the Christian Legal Centre; it contains a link to the text of the judgement itself.

Thee BBC News report includes the following citation of the Chief Executive of Stonewall:
Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, said: "Thankfully, Mr and Mrs Johns' out-dated views aren't just out of step with the majority of people in modern Britain, but those of many Christians too.

"If you wish to be involved in the delivery of a public service, you should be prepared to provide it fairly to anyone."
One unacceptable aspect of Ben Summerskill's comments is the characterisation of the views of Mr and Mrs Johns as "out-dated". Just because the views of Mr and Mrs Johns are not the same as those of Mr Summerskill does not mean that they should be denigrated by an ethically meaningless term like "out-dated". Rather, particularly from a representative of an organisation that proclaims respect for diversity, we should expect some respect for views that differ - I thought the phrase for that was "diversity", but it looks as if I have seriously misunderstood its meaning. A second unacceptable aspect is the implication (an implication in Mr Summerskill's remarks, but rather more explicit in the terms of the judgement itself, at least according to media reports) that people have to subscribe to a particular view of homosexuality and homosexual activity if the are to be involved in the delivery of public services. This represents an ethical totalitarianism.

Mr and Mrs Johns are Pentecostal Christians, not Roman Catholics. But, given the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it looks as if this judgement extends the barring of Catholic agencies from adoption work to the barring of individual Catholics as well. One would be forgiven for thinking that, as far as adoption and fostering are concerned, there is now a message, expressed in the jargon of equalities legislation and policies, that says "Catholics - and those who support Catholic teaching - need not apply".

[The details of the judgement raise one or two interesting points on which I hope to post in due course.]


Anonymous said...

Indeed. The desire to ‘celebrate diversity’ which comes from certain types of people is nothing more than a cover for demanding that we all approve of homosexual behaviour while at the same time denigrating those who do not.

Joe said...

I am not at all sure that anti-discrimination legislation does require "celebration of diversity" in the sense in which many seem to think. Such policies seem to me to take a step that is additional to the requirements of legislation - which focus around actions and policies that come under the defintions of "discrimination" and "indirect discrimination" arising from a defined set of grounds/characteristics.

Francis said...

I imagine there must be followers of other religions who will also be prevented from fostering.

Is it only the area of sexuality that this ruling applies to? I mean, would it be alright for parents to tell the children that it is OK to stone adulterers to death?

That Jack (as in Jack and the Beanstalk) is a thief and should have his hand amputated?

That anybody having sex with an animal should be executed along with the animal? What about animal rights!

John Skype said...

would it be ok if this christian couple put up a sign in their b&b saying they did not allow people from inter-racial marriages to share a bedroom, or similar? the discrimination laws do not prevent anyone from holding particular views but they do make it illegal for someone to act in a way within their businss which is discriminatory. seems sensible in a pluralistic society that such safeguards are in place and is entirely consistent with catholic social teaching.