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British Christian Couple Loses Foster Care Rights Over Homophobia

British Christian Couple Loses Foster Care Rights Over Homophobia

A British couple lost their right to foster care in court earlier this week, after they told a social worker that they could not tell a child that a “homosexual lifestyle” was acceptable. They said that the belief was grounded in their Christian faith, and asked the court to verify that their religious beliefs should not bar them from caring for foster children.  The court, however, said that laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation should take precedence over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds.

The couple have already fostered 15 children, and have in the past been praised by social workers as “kind and hospitable” people who “respond sensitively” to childrens’ needs. Their views on homosexuality, however, are problematic to say the least; they believe that homosexuality is “against God’s law and morals,” but also say that they are not homophobic.

Social workers had raised concerns that the couple’s values would conflict with new regulations about discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In a statement, the wife, Eunice Johns, said, “This is a sad day for Christianity. The judges have suggested that our views might harm children. We do not believe that this is so. We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing.”

This is, to say the least, a surprising and groundbreaking ruling. Although it’s entirely possible that the couple might have been good foster parents, the fact is, even small children should be legally protected from homophobic perspectives, especially during their formative years. And although the husband, Owen Johns, claimed that the children they’ve fostered “want to play, not talk about sexuality,” children are extremely sensitive to attitudes like these, and even a chance negative comment about homosexuality can be traumatic and lasting.

In this sense, the children deserve protection before the couple. And the British court ruled bravely to prevent children from being exposed to damaging views.

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

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88 comments

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12:34PM PDT on Mar 15, 2011

I think this is so ridiculous it is mind blowing. To think that couples who have a real faith in god and the bible are somehow unfit to look after kids is a complete joke. They were not religious freaks, they were a loving couple who believe that homosexuality is not according to gods plan. They never said they didn't love people who are homosexuals, they simply said they didn't agree with the practise. Whether you agree or not with homosexuality, in a society that claims to be tolerent, why aren't we allow to have the opinion that homosexuality is wrong? People of faith built this country and made it what it is, if you cut off the roots of a tree it will die. If we turn our backs on the beliefs that have shaped this country and made it what it is then we cannot expect it to remain the same. For me, loving someone is always the most important thing. I am against any hate. But this doesn't conflict with my belief that homosexuality is not according to gods plan. I have yet to meet a perfect person who does everything according to gods plan, but we still love all, we still accept all. Where we fall short there is grace, love covers all sins. I call all people whether of faith or not to recognise tht this was a loving couple who wanted to help children with no homes, a rare thing in todays 'money dominated' world. They should be held up as an example, not deemed unfit. This really is a sad day for our freedom and morality.

9:09PM PST on Mar 7, 2011

Unless you've been exposed to religious prejudice, it's hard to understand how damaging it is, especially when it comes to moulding children's beliefs, including their views of their own developing sexuality.

7:28AM PST on Mar 6, 2011

My son is Gay, and I certainly don't think it's right to expose small children to anti-homosexual attitudes. BUT, there are already too few GOOD foster care homes in the world, and to exclude this couple because of their views on homosexuality seems a bit extreme. That's like saying that an agnostic won't make a good foster parent because they don't believe in God. There has to be some form of compromise here. It isn't a cut-and-dried issue, and it doesn't have a cut-and-dried solution. It needs further thought and careful review.

2:13AM PST on Mar 6, 2011

According to Christians, we are made by God. So he made some people gay!

8:13PM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Since this couple have fostered 15 children, then statistically at least 2 of them could be homosexual. That's 2 too many that they have psychologically harmed. I'm with the judge who ruled on this case.

8:53AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Claiming not homophobic, "...All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a GOOD(!) thing..."

The British social workers did NOT ask them do tell that statement. All they were asked to is to teach their foster kids to be Christians, or Christ-LIKE: Love thy neighbor, whoever they are.

Find less comfortable homes for these kids but run by non-HYPOCRITES.

6:53AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

Ordinarily I would agree completely with the court on this issue. However, there are so many children out there in need of decent foster homes. If their record is good and they are willing, AND they are not on a pulpit about this particular issue, I am not sure GB can be so choosy.

11:39PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

You need to wake up, Danielle B! The couple are NOT gay. They have been stopped from fostering because they do not agree with homosexuality! I suppose, in your opinion, they are not such 'great foster parents' now, eh?

7:57PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

a shame really, when so many foster carers are needed!

7:12PM PST on Mar 4, 2011

Whoops I meant to say 2011!

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