Source: The Spectator | Melanie Phillips
The secular inquisition against Christians was ratcheted up another notch yesterday in a grotesque judgment in the High Court by two judges, who have actually banned a couple from fostering children simply because they hold traditional Christian views about homosexuality.
The implications of this judgment are utterly appalling on many levels. The couple involved, Eunice and Owen Johns, are upstanding, traditional people whose quality of care for the twenty or so children they have fostered is not in doubt. At a time when is estimated that there is a need for another 10,000 foster carers, one might have thought the Johns would be treated as gold dust. Nor have they even prevented any homosexuals from having or doing anything. Their crime is simply to believe it is wrong to promote a homosexual lifestyle to a child in their care because they take the view that sex outside marriage is wrong.
Yet for that view – which not long ago was a normative moral position – Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson have ruled that they must be banned from fostering any further children. They are being banned simply because they have views of which these judges disapprove.
Such a ruling is, first, utterly illiberal and intolerant. Second, in its shallowness and secular bias it is ridiculous. For the judges actually said that there was no place in law for Christian beliefs – that Britain was a ‘largely secular’, multi-cultural country in which the laws of the realm ‘do not include Christianity’.
As the former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali said, this was absurd:
He pointed out the monarch took a coronation oath promising to uphold the laws of God, while Acts of Parliament are passed with the consent of ‘the Lords Spiritual’, and the Queen’s Speech finishes with a blessing from Almighty God. ‘To say that this is a secular country is certainly wrong,’ he said.
‘However, what really worries me about this spate of judgments is that they leave no room for the conscience of believers of whatever kind. This will exclude Christians, Muslims and Orthodox Jews from whole swaths of public life, including adoption and fostering.’
Next, the judges decreed that the right of homosexuals to equality should take precedence over the right of Christians to manifest their beliefs and moral values. On what basis did they decide this other than their own prejudices? But then, that’s the inescapable effect of human rights law. On the basis of the oxymoronic fiction that the ‘rights’ it enshrines are ‘universal’, human rights law demonstrates that these rights are in fact conflicting, and thus utterly contingent on the subjective views of the judges who are required to arbitrate between them.
Indeed, elsewhere in this ruling the judges said:
We sit as secular judges serving a multicultural community of many faiths. We are sworn (we quote the judicial oath) to ‘do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or ill will’.
And yet their ruling does great wrong to Christians.
Next, it embodies the belief that secular values are neutral whereas Christian ones are not. But this is not true at all. Used in this way, secular values – to be more precise, evangelical atheistic values — are a direct attack on Christianity and normative western Biblical morality.
The heresy for which the Johns have been punished was to refuse to subject the children in their care to the propaganda of a tendentious ideology. And—rub your eyes again – the children in question would be no older than ten years old. So the whole subject is anyway quite inappropriate for such young children. And so the Johns have actually been punished by these judges for attempting to protect the childhood innocence of the children in their care.
In these circumstances, terms such as ‘totalitarian’ or ‘Orwellian’ are no exaggeration. During the case, there was an implication that the Johns should in effect have their brains re-programmed:
During the case, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, an official watchdog, suggested that the couple could attend a ‘re-education’ programme, according to Mrs Johns. ‘Why do we need to be re-educated? Because we believe that homosexuality is not right?’ she said.
‘We said we would sit down and talk to the child to find out where it is coming from. They said, “No, you would have to tell the child it is all right to be homosexual because there are too many children that are confused with their sexuality.” We thought, yes, but at eight?’
As a result of this ruling, vulnerable children in care will suffer. Freedom has died another death. People are being persecuted for holding views which are no longer allowed. Religious believers are being treated like medieval heretics. The atheist inquisition is in full swing. And western liberal society takes another step towards the edge of the cultural cliff – pushed towards the drop by the English judiciary.