Another blow to religious freedom in UK

Another blow to religious freedom in UK

“Falconer refuses to exempt Catholics from new gay laws”

The Roman Catholic Church and other religious bodies cannot be exempted from new laws banning discrimination against gay people, Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, said yesterday.

He resisted attempts by Ruth Kelly, the Communities Secretary, to water down the rules to enable Catholic adoption agencies to turn away same-sex couples.

The Equality Act 2006, which comes into force in April, bans discrimination in the provision of goods, facilities and services on the basis of sexual orientation.

Miss Kelly, a Catholic and a member of the Opus Dei sect, is under pressure from the Catholic Church to include an exemption for church-run adoption agencies.

Get rid of the old discrimination—against gays—by imposing new discrimination—against Catholics who want to live by their beliefs. Of course, if this becomes law, the answer is simple: Get out of the work being regulated by the government and let the chips fall where they may.

Dr Evan Harris, president of the Liberal Democrat campaign for gay and lesbian equality, said: “The Catholic Church have threatened to stop their adoption work and even close homeless shelters if they are not allowed to discriminate and harass citizens who are gay or lesbian.

“So the Government must call their bluff and refuse public funding or public contracts to such organisations unless they agree to non-discrimination.”

Yeah, all those dastardly Catholics who set up fronts disguised as homeless shelters and adoption agencies so they can harass homosexuals and lesbians. It would serve them right if the bishops said, “Fine, then we’ll shut them down and it will be up to you to provide for all the folks left in need.”

Unfortunately, I wonder if the bishops in the UK have the spine to stand up to such bullying by extreme secularists. St. Edmund Campion, pray for them.

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  • a) NYC once tried something similarly stupid, albeit on a smaller scale.  Cardinal O’Connor, RIP, turned around and said he would shut down all non-profits in the city running under Catholic auspices, and the city could just take up the slack.  (That would include absorbing an increase of 10-15% into the public school system, overnight.)  Needless to say, the city backed down.

    b) Does “sect” have a different nuance in British English?  Opus Dei doesn’t qualify under my (American) understanding of the term…

  • I understand the concerns regarding homosexual couples as adoptive parents, but I am lost as to why homeless shelters would be effected.  It is a corporal work of mercy to shelter the homeless, not just the straight homeless.  Presumably the rules would prohibit sexual activity of all types in the shelters.  I am not trying to be contrarian or intentionally dense, I just don’t get it.

  • Keep in mind that it’s the anti-Catholic bigots who say the homeless shelters would be affected. They could be just claiming that in order to show how mean the Catholics are.

  • It seems to me that this Bill, despite the anti-Catholicism of many of those supporting it shouldn’t prevent the Church from running adoption agencies.  After all, there is no law against discriminating against unmarried couples and while they can form civil partnerships, homosexuals still cannot marry here in the UK.

    In any event, you would think that any adoption agency run by the church would have as its goal, the promulgation of the gospel.  Presumably, Catholic adoption agencies should be seeking out devout MARRIED Catholic couples to adopt children. As long as the Church is showing fidelity to what it believes and teaches, this law won’t present a problem.

    The same goes for Church-run homeless shelters.  Presumably if they take in homeless people and give them a place to live, it isn’t too much to ask that they act in a Christian manner while in the shelter.  Therefore, if they are not married they shouldn’t be sharing a bed.

  • Beaver, I like the way you think.  With the Cardinal coming out againnst it as he is, I am guessing it is not that simple however.