Wednesday, 2 March 2011

They're coming for our kids...

An excellent post about the recent case brought by Eunice and Owen Johns.  There has been an awful lot of misleading and hysterical coverage about this, including claims that Christians will be deemed unfit parents and have their children taken away.  This is not to say that parents with negative views about homosexuality do not damage their children, because it is my firm opinion that they do. However parents damage their children in all sorts of ways, and there has to be evidence of a fairly serious threat to the welfare of a child before it is taken away. For a start the costs would be prohibitive if social services took children into care because their parents were homophobic, racist, sexist, had an unhealthy diet, smoked etc, but rather different standards apply to care provided under the auspices of the state.
I blogged on the issue of foster parents here, and don't have a lot more to add other than that it is rather depressing to see the way in which the anxieties of fundamentalist Christians, who are certainly feeling beleaguered  in  our  secular society, have coalesced around this issue almost to the extent that you would think it was the be all and end all of everything it means to be a follower of Christ!

8 comments:

  1. Although the judge spent most of his time berating the Christian legal centre and in particular their barrister Paul Diamond, they were fast and first off the blocks to release a statement, and it is this that has been replicated verbatim in the press.

    Don't let the truth get in the way of a good story, as ths saying goes.

    I blog in the US also and watch US blogs and news feeds and the hysteria realted to this case has spread far and wide.

    But then again, it is US money and philosophy underpinning the Christian Legal Centre anyway.

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  2. Sue,
    Your firm opinion is that parents who have a negative view about homosexuality damage their children. Do you think that this is damaging because of the culture we live in, or would you consider it damaging if it were, say, 500 years ago?

    And do you think that there is space for bringing up children to love Jesus and their neighbour (in a good Samaritan sense of the word and making no account of what lifestyle that person leads) and still to bring them up with an understanding that Gods model for sexual relationship is within marriage between one man and one woman. (not asking if you agree with that understanding, just asking if you would consider that sort of upbringing to be damaging).

    The chief difficulty that I have with our 'secular society' is that the state is not secular. Regardless of arguments about whether it should be or shouldn't be, it currently is. The Archbishop of Canterbury was appointed by a Roman Catholic whose right hand man claims that we "Don't do God". Makes me dream of disestablishment.

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  3. Sue

    Thanks for this. Yes, I have been very depressed by the way some of the more homosexualist obsessed blogs have reported this story. The only decent analysis has, ironically, come from the ‘An Exercise in the Fundamentals of Orthodoxy’. Others have been vile and have purposefully painted the story in a very negative, anti-Christian light – oh the folly of inverted pride! Below is a paraphrasing (for obvious reasons) of part of a very long comment I found on a blog, which lay the ills of the world at the foot of homosexuals and was contemptuous of the presiding judges for not seeing how foster parents telling children of the evils of homosexuality was their right, because they are ‘Christians’. The person listed the following reasons (besides many more!!):

    “There are in fact plenty of grounds for looking negatively upon homosexual behaviour, besides just Scriptural revelation:

    Sexual issues e.g. cancer risk (for oral sex); homosexuals have a incidence of depression and suicide*. [*is it any wonder when people write this drivel!]

    And there is a correlation with general hedonism which is the great enemy of all civilisation, and the choice homosexuals have made not to reproduce at a time when Western populations everywhere are failing to maintain themselves.”

    Well, as you know I worked in cancer care for seven or so years and NEVER in all that time was their mention of oral sex causing cancer! As for hedonism, I know many straight friends like to visit the gay areas of cities with their girlfriends, rather than go in straight pubs, because city and town centres are so vile with heterosexual binge drinkers... But no, it is the homos who are the enemy of civilisation!

    I did provide a polite reply to many of this commenter’s points on the blog where the comments were posted – a blog of a minster of religion. In particular I noted how the whole story is being misrepresented. My comments were deleted and the above allowed to remain. Which I think is pretty sick that anyone with reasonable intelligence and in a position of pastoral authority should WANT to further discord, untruth and fear mongering.

    It is odd that today in Pakistan a Christian politician was shot dead and yet many of the ‘conservative’ blogs you and I know well, have not mentioned this – I did wonder if there might be some anti-Islamic posts, but not a dicky-bird. I think I know why, the politician was standing up for the rights of minorities and the repealing of draconian Islamic blasphemy laws. He was a liberal. Perhaps some of our conservative brethren have enough nous to know that it would be ironic for them to show too much ‘disgust’ at a person dying for fighting for the rights of minorities. I am also sure – looking at some of the comments on the Johns’ case – that not a few of our conservative brethren are probably a little jealous of Pakistan’s blasphemy laws and would like to see something similar here in the UK, but of course in favour of Christianity.

    I think it was Ned Flanders, in the Simpsons, who once said: ‘I’m a Christian, it is my duty to think the worst!’ The reaction of many conservative Christians, whipping themselves up into a frenzy over something that didn’t actually happen is a sad day for Christianity and for us lowly poufs.

    Regards:

    S.

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  4. Hi Peter,
    If I lived 500 years ago, I would have a rather different world view, wouldn't I? But I think 500 years ago, gay children (and gay people generally) were undoubtedly greatly damaged by negative attitudes - but these were shared by society as a whole, not just parents. I think bringing children up with "an understanding that Gods model for sexual relationship is within marriage between one man and one woman" is very damaging IF your children happen to be gay, yes. I think it also MIGHT cause damage if such a family considered it had the right to "police" its adult child'S behaviour, for example if the son or daughter was made to feel guilty if they did enter a relationship outside of marriage.

    I am not saying a family with the views you describe will automatically "damage" their children, when I said they "do" damage their children, I meant it in the sense that there are christian families out there that DO damage their children in this way - not that all such families lead to damage! Parents can also cause damage to their children in many ways - by pushing them academically, being emotionally distant, being critical or neglectful. No family is perfect.
    I don't think homophobic parents automatically damage to the welfare of their child, unless - and it is a big unless - that child is gay.

    What would you do if your child was gay?

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  5. If one of my children announced that they were gay (I'm reluctant to say that people are either 'straight' or 'gay', I think human sexuality is more of a spectrum on which an individuals position is the result of a whole load of factors), the first thing I would want to reassure them is that Jesus loves them, and that I love them. Also that just as nothing can separate us from God's love in Jesus, neither shall anything separate them from my love for them.

    Regardless of their sexual preferences, I am keen for my children to not define themselves by their sexuality, as the relationship an individual has with God is more important than anything else.

    I would want to open the bible with them and discuss with them how we should understand what Gods word means for us today, but I hope that as they grow up that will be a habitual norm for our family, not a "I'm going to show you from the bible why you're wrong" sort of thing.

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  6. This reference is slightly off topic but still very relevant.

    It points out (and describes in great detail) who is really coming for your children.

    http://www.uow.edu.au/~sharonb/kiddy.html

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  7. John

    This is SO true! Even a walk around your usual ‘penny-dreadful’ Christian bookshop and reveals a ‘perfect’ idealised couple leering from the covers of books and CDs; not to mention the newfound interest in wealth management, that takes more floor space than the Bible section! A large proportion of Christian culture has been assumed into consumer culture (did it fall or was it pushed?) and as ‘The Little Kiddy Went to Market’ book appears to be saying, children also have been seen as targets for this pervasive and acceptable form of idolatry. A quick flick through the adverts on children’s television – or a look at the programs themselves - confirms this.

    There seems little mention of this as a problem for society and the well being of children in Christian circles. Again and again we see the desire of many of our Christian brethren to lay the ills of society at the feet of what can loosely be called ‘liberalism’ and of course our old friend and favourite scapegoat, the homosexual.

    I didn’t know this until glancing through the blogs of some of my fellow Christians, but apparently there is a homosexual conspiracy to take over the world; liberals are assisting this and there is a concerted effort to ensure that by 2020 all children will have to have been raised in homes where homosexuality is championed as the only way of life. It is believed, and I don’t doubt it, that just letting the word homosexual or gay slip from your lips within ten yards of a child can make the child into a homosexual. But just in case people are sensible enough not to utter the ‘Deplorable Word’ there is also a well organised campaign of recruitment on the part of homosexuals and liberals. If children know about homosexuality they will of course want to become homosexuals (just as when children were taught by nuns, the world became a penguinfest within a generation). Children are like that – they want to be the butt of prurient school jokes, they want to be pariahs in their local community, they want to be the last of the last and of course fall foul of the contempt of ‘the righteous’!

    So I think many of our Christian brethren are correct in their disproportionate efforts to condemn and censure homosexuals and homosexuality. We’ve seen what happens in liberal, secular democracies, when there are tolerant attitudes to sex, and a thorough and honest sex education in schools! Look at The Netherlands, look at Scandinavian countries! Low rates of teenage pregnancy, low divorce rate, fewer numbers of one parent families, higher age than the UK when teenagers first have sex and in Holland – renowned for its wishy-washy liberalism - one of the lowest rates of abortion in the Europe. We don’t want any of those fruits of liberalism here – there is only a 7% rate of church attendance in these countries. No, let’s become more like America, where the anti-gay lobby is gaining ground and church attendance is 50% - of course there is also one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the Western world – not to mention a high divorce rate, more single parent families, violent crime, murder etc. But we can say ‘Bah! Liberalism – what good has that ever brought?!’

    Let children become self-obsessed little consuming monsters who value people by what they posses rather than the content of their character. Let them see achievement and purpose reduced to the power to own and discern between brand labels. Let them become shallower and shallower – just as long as they don’t condone and (oh God forbid) become queer! I don’t really know what many Christians are doing about children and consumerism, but I do know what they are doing about the threat of homo-fascism... Which is kinda sad, really...

    Thanks:

    S.

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  8. Peter, I am sure you would always love your children and recognise the importance of respecting their right to freely make their own decisions.

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