Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Fostering homosexuality?

Earlier this week there was a news item concerning a Christian couple that had been refused the right to act as foster carers for children. One of the articles about it is here

I think this article is a bit misleading. When it says:

because they are unwilling to promote a homosexual lifestyle to a child

I don’t think anyone was requiring them to promote a homosexual lifestyle. It was more that they were being required not to denounce it.

I think the article is unbalanced and unreasonable in some of its other assertions:

  • The fact that a view was mainstream until recently proves nothing
  • Strongly held religious views can just as easily be evil as good
  • Whether or not the views are directly relevant to the children or not isn’t necessarily the most important thing
  • Moral certainties are more dangerous than beliefs

But there are also problems and unanswered questions.

Is it ok to have these views and have your own children? Are you allowed to tell the children about your views? 

But you aren’t allowed to foster other children.

But can you teach them? So long as you don’t tell them what you believe. Do you have to be hypocritical?

Really, I think we need to learn and continually re-learn to accept the differences that exist in other people. Religious differences. Physical differences. Gender differences. Racial differences. Differences in thoughts. In feelings.

These people are allowed to feel the way that they do about homosexuality. Just as I’m allowed to feel the way I do about religion and gender.

What matters more is how they and I … we … deal with these issues.

How they would teach children they care for to deal with them.

What if a child that they were taking care of was gay? Or had a brother or sister that was? Or a friend. An uncle? An Aunt? Would they be accepting and loving? Or casting out? Or visiting prayer groups and demon casting?

The articles in the press that I’ve read don’t ask or answer these kind of questions. And so they seem to maybe be missing the point.

4 comments:

Jenny said...

Andrea,
You do raise an interesting point and one that I did note when I read the article in the Mail today.

A couple with strongly held religious views could start a family and raise their children to hold those same views. There is absolutely nothing that anybody can do to stop them.

However, if its not right for someone with the same views to foster children then at what point are the authorities going to turn around and start interfering in how people raise their own children.

I don't know any more details about this case than I've read but the couple in question have a nephew who is gay and has a partner. They've been to visit their nephew.

It seems to me that, yes, they have strong views on somethings based on their religion but they aren't trying to foist those beliefs on others and are somewhat tolerant of other people's differences.

The article in the Mail does conclude with a quote from the husband who said ‘We wanted to offer love and stability and security to a vulnerable child. Eight-year-olds we have looked after want to play, not talk about their sexuality.’

I think that sums up a lot of youngsters attitudes to life at that age and its something I think that we should be encouraging. Children shouldn't be learning about sexuality at that age, they should be enjoying their childhood, not growing up far too quickly.

Andrea said...

Hi Jenny,

Thanks for your comments on this. And I do agree, children need to be allowed to be children ... and I have the feeling that, in this case at any rate, the real loser is likely be a child who remains in care rather than being looked after by people that could provide a more loving and happy environment even if only for a while.

It's strange how sometimes the very things that are supposed to protect people end up getting applied in such a carte blanche kind of way that they end up hurting them.

Pretty Sissy Dani said...

I've followed this case as closely as I can from the other side of the pond
(mostly on the site "Thinking Anglicans"), and I believe the point being
made is that foster parents (as opposed to birth parents) are chosen by the
government and paid by the government for their services...and, as such,
they should--and must--abide by the rules laid down. Government says you
cannot foster a child if your care would harm the child...and the government
says displaying and teaching anti-gay beliefs would be harmful to the child.

To me, end of story. No one is required to be a foster parent; if your
religious beliefs make it impossible or difficult for you to follow the
rules for foster parents, then find another way to offer yourselves to
society.

Andrea said...

I've done a little more research on this ... and the reporting I've seen doesn't seem to really align with the actual judgement that was given. I'll maybe post some additional background when I get chance.