Should Christians Be Allowed to Adopt?

The High Court in the UK seems to have said  “no,” in a disturbing case just handed down. Paul Diamond, the attorney in the case, reports:

In an important case in the United Kingdom, the High Court held this week that Christian views on sexual morality could be “inimical” to a child’s welfare. 

Mr. and Mrs. Johns wanted to foster a child as young as five as respite carers for parents who were having difficulty. Some 15 years earlier they had successfully fostered, but work commitments meant that they were unable to devote sufficient time to children. When they retired, they applied to be registered as foster carers again. 

Early on in the assessment process, their Christian faith was identified (they are Pentecostals). It was felt their views on sexual ethics conflicted with the duty to promote and value diversity. Of course, the Johns said they would love and care for the child but they couldn’t promote the homosexual lifestyle. They were rather bewildered by the process, as they wanted to foster a five-year-old. Mr. Johns fatally said he would “gently turn them round,” and so the seeds for a major legal case were sown. 

Derby City Council refused to register them as foster carers, with the Johns asserting that they were being denied because they were Christians. 

The state-sponsored Equality and Human Rights Commission intervened and argued that it was the duty of the state to protect vulnerable children from becoming “infected” with Judeo-Christian values of sexual morality. 

The rest is history, and in a startling judgment, the High Court held last Monday that the United Kingdom is a secular state and that Christianity as part of the law is “mere rhetoric.” For Americans to note, the United Kingdom is formally a Christian state with the Queen as the head of the Church of England. 

The court made a series of statements to the effect that rights of sexual orientation trump religious freedom, that a local authority can require positive attitudes to be demonstrated towards homosexuality, that the Johns’ traditional Christian views could conflict with the “duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of looked after children,” and finally that Article 9 (Europe’s pale reflection of the First Amendment) does not protect beliefs contrary to the interests of the child. 

This is but one of a number of cases that display clear hostility to Christian and Judeo-Christian values. There are also cases on British Airways permitting the hijab, turban, and Siska Hindu ponytail to be worn, but banning the Cross; and cases on dismissal of employees not wishing to participate in recognition of same-sex civil partnerships, or voicing support of marriage (which discriminates against people who live together), or offering (Christian) prayer. 

These examples must be juxtaposed with the excessive sensitivity in British society to the rights of Muslims. There has been an explosion of radical Islamists in London, the latest being the Detroit bomber Umar Farouk. The Archbishop of Canterbury has called for the introduction of sharia law, calling it “inevitable.” He was supported by the Lord Chief Justice. 

It is important for Americans to understand these developments, so they can learn from the British experience. The first lesson is the speed and success of the secular ideology in replacing Judeo-Christian freedoms. In 1997, the United Kingdom was a more stable country than the United States; an evolving state with a millennium of religious liberty. If someone had told me then that within little more than a decade, stable Christian households would be deemed unsuitable to foster children, or that Crosses would be banned, or that hate-speech laws would be used to crush the very ideas of dissent, I would not have believed it. I would have been labeled an alarmist if I had expressed views to that avail. 

The second factor to recognize is that the terms liberal, diversity, and tolerance are descriptors for a political program which logic and law alone cannot explain. Thirdly, the secular movement is but a variant of the utopian ambitions that have inspired man from the beginning of time. However, the endgame of such programs is always the same. To repeatedly promote a failed ideology is base ignorance or, at its worst, criminal. 

A final note: Do not lose hope for the United Kingdom, we have been here before. And as Prime Minister Winston Churchill said: “Never give in, never, never, never, never — in nothing great or small, large or petty — never give in.”

I add only the obvious: pray for the UK, and all those other countries (including this one) which seem poised to follow that primrose path.


  1. This is worrying, but as I’ve said before; we need to find a good and solid secular argument to defeat the notion that homosexuality is OK, right and should not be discriminated against, otherwise we are simply bigoted and intolerant for denying gay rights and should be treated as harshly as racist. This seems to be happening now, eh?

  2. I agree, but if we confine ourselves to thinking that only secular arguments are okay, we’re consenting to lose the war for the sake of a battle.

    Certainly, “secular arguments,” rooted in natural law, are compatible with Catholicism, and should be developed (I’ve tried to do so myself), but I think we should strive for a full arsenal.

  3. I’m not suggesting we confine ourselves to secular arguments, but we seem to be lacking in that arena. We need good arguments that will cut some ice in the secular world. We will continue to lose out in legal battles if we only rely on grounds which can be traced to our religion.

    BTW, this issue has been linked to slavery and since slavery was once condoned in Judeo Christian theology but has since been rejected, I have seen many try to draw similarities with homosexuality. Do you know/have a good essay on how this defers?

  4. I can’t think of a good essay offhand, but the slavery argument doesn’t really work on Catholics, since She never came out in support of chattel slavery. There was admittedly a lot of internal debate of when and whether slavery was morally acceptable, if ever. But that’s not the situation with gay marriage – there’s never been an “is it moral?” question from serious Catholic theologians, and the Magisterium has spoken quite clearly.

    In other words, the question of slavery wasn’t settled, then the Church settled it. Gay marriage activists within the Church want to take a very-much settled question (marriage is between one man and one woman) and reopen it. That’s never happened in history, and won’t.

    As an aside, Robbie George answered a similar argument, debunking the false equation between current marriage laws and those laws struck down in Loving v. Virginia here ( If you’re not familiar, Virginia had laws saying marriage was only between members of the same sex. On the surface, that looks sort of similar to laws which say marriage is only between members of the opposite genders.

    George’s point was simple: both sides in Loving were arguing for marriage qua marriage. The gay marriage debates looks not to expand marriage past its current legal limits, but past its own intrinsic limits, turning it into something other than marriage.

  5. Rebuke yes. Explanation, no. But he does end off with “President Obama should be for gay marriage. There isn’t a single objective argument against it that isn’t plain”

  6. Jarrod,

    Fair points. I don’t agree with his conclusions (obviously), only his refusal to equate gay marriage with abolition. As for explanation, the Church didn’t take a clear stance… and then did. That’s something we see happen frequently in Church history, when it’s a question of how the Gospel applies to a concrete contemporaneous situation. It’s very different from reversing course, which is what gay-marriage activists want the Church to do, and which She won’t and can’t, and never has.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *