Council Defends Ban on Christian Couple Fostering, Says Husband Vowed to ‘Turn’ Gay Child

Britain’s Derby Council has defended banning a self-avowed devout Christian couple from providing further foster care to children because of the couple’s anti-gay views, with a member of the council revealing in a BBC interview that the husband had said he would try and “turn” a gay child.

From the BBC

Derby couple Mr and Mrs Johns, aged 62 and 65, applied to the council to offer respite foster care in 2007.

The couple were then asked by a social worker if they were prepared to talk to a child who might be gay in way that promoted diversity.

“I’m a Bible-believing Christian,” said Mrs Johns. “I’ve got nothing against homosexuals. I just don’t believe in the act because my Bible tells me two men lying together [is] an abomination.”

The council said that in this assessment Mr Johns said he would try to “turn the child”. Mr Johns said he could not remember making this statement.

Derby City Council’s director of specialist services, Katie Harris, said that Mr Johns did in fact make that statement, telling BBC Radio 4′s The Report: “If it had come out that we had approved somebody who had been caring for a child… and they had actually been found to be putting into practice what Mr Johns had described about ‘turning a child’, we would have been in great difficulty as the authority charged with caring for that child.”

Further, she rejected the claim that Derby Council was penalizing religious couples, saying instead that it was the Johns’ specific beliefs about gay people and in turn gay children that had caused concern.

She also said that Derby Council could have in fact approved the couple and then never used them, but while this would have been easier and would likely have avoided any court battle, it would have been a waste of resources.

The couple’s lawyers, the Christian Legal Centre, have abandoned plans at a legal appeal saying that due to equality laws it would likely be fruitless. They have, however, said that this is another case where gay rights have been given weight over religious rights. They have not, however, commented on the child welfare aspect.

Mr and Mrs Johns have started a petition targeted at Prime Minister David Cameron asking that he overturn equality laws that they say penalize religious freedom of speech.

Mr Cameron, while not having spoken about the Johns’ request for political intervention, said shortly after the ruling in favor of Derby Council that he believes the High Court had settled the case, commenting: “This matter was decided by a court in the appropriate way and I think we should rest with the judgment that was made.”

Photo used under the Creative Commons Attribution License, with thanks to brianchildvn.


Paul Diamond
Paul Diamond6 years ago

The 1st rule of parenting is to understand who and what is your child. Most of all is to accept who they may be.
Behavioral correction, bad manners, violent behavior, stealing, Etc. These are things that a good parent should do. However, when it comes to sexuality that is not a matter to be corrected.
That quote from Leviticus. is a mistranslation. The hebrew doesn't say 'abomination.' It says 'unclean.'
A situation that could be remedied by a 'mikvah,' a ritual bath in rainwater and the burnt sacrifice of a small animal before the altar of the lord in the tabernacle.
A simple solution for a minor problem.
The'YICH!' factor is the reason many people are turned off by homosexuals. When they think about it. 'YICH!!' To those people I say, DON'T DO IT!
No one is forcing you. No homosexual wants to force themselves on you.
They only wish to live their lives and not have anyone judge or try to change who they are.
As to that couple in England they would have imposed their religious views on these children. That is unacceptable.

Shirley E.
Shirley E6 years ago

If this couple are banned from fostering they should ban anybody who has strong views about anything whatsoever. Anybody who does will be sure to offend others with equally strong views in the other direction. Oddly, though, people can be natural parents WHATEVER they think.

Olga Leonenko
Olga L6 years ago

I don't know what is more interesting, the article or the comments. Many thoughts give me hope, some - disappoint or frustrate.

Moertl M.
Martha M6 years ago

Human are not tolerant in themselves. The homosexual people do not tolerate another point of view than theirs and think themselves above natural laws of parentship. They prefer testing their life style on children not out of compassion but for egoistical reasons. And than our actual society does not like any other opinion than the general current's one. At school children get brainwashing all the time with modern and so called the "right" educational direction. Religion is out, evolution is in. But then one can see so many people spend huge amounts of money for spiritual treatments (yoga, qigong, odors theray, etc.) talking about the ying (femal, earth, low) and the yang (male heaven). What is then the spirit behind this is it God again in a new way. It's rather ludicrous. When faced with death, people start to believe in God again.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari Lundin6 years ago

"The couple's lawyers, the Christian Legal Centre, have abandoned plans at a legal appeal saying that due to equality laws it would likely be fruitless. They have, however, said that this is another case where gay rights have been given weight over religious rights. They have not, however, commented on the child welfare aspect."
Of course, they are only interested in promoting their own perverted version of (religious) freedom. H**l, why bother about the children? Just as long as the Johns are allowed to spread their bigotry to the next generations.
When it comes to foster care, it's essential to always look at the benefits, care and protection of the child. If a foster family are unable to provide these, they should not be allowed to raise any children. let alone those in foster care. Children in a situation like this are very vulnerable and need a lot of love, protection, support and having someone on their side. What they don't need are judgemnetal x-tians that condemn their life and sexuality!

As always: Religion is an OPIUM to the PEOPLE!

Lucy D.
Lucy D6 years ago

In the US, we have children's homes run by religious agencies to whom judges routinely assign the care of foster children. I am very bothered by this because in the most conservative, there is no tolerance of religious freedom. However, the demand for foster families is far greater than the supply, and to prevent religious organizations from providing that care would, I believe, cause a crisis for children's services workers, who, one might point out, couldn't get away from work to picket in Wisconsin . . . talk about underpaid, exploited government employees--in our country, children really have no voice.

Glen P.
Glen P6 years ago

Children can come into their sexual identity at an early age.

I had my first puppy-love crush on another boy when I was in the 3rd grade, which as I grew into puberty became more mature feelings. Of course during the intervening years from that 1st crush, I was exposed to and picked up, from my parents, from church, from society, that it was VERY bad to be gay.

It wasn't even that my mother was overtly anti-gay, it was just that on the very rare occasions that it might come up, it was spoken of in ways that would suggest that it's something very shameful and wrong.

Did this have a deleterious psychological impact on me as a growing boy and adolescent? Sure it did. My confidence and self-esteem were nowhere near what they could have been.

I can only imagine how much better it would have been to grow up in an accepting society, and at the very least having parents that were sensitive to having a gay child and built up his or her confidence and self-esteem. OR how much worse it could have been had I parents that more actively demonized and spoke against gay people, called them sinful and their feelings an abomination.

The council did the absolute right thing in denying this couple the ability to be foster parents. Raising any child, who even though they may not exhibit their future sexual identity till they are older, in an environment that demonizes being gay, is a VERY bad idea.

Jen Kiesendahl-Pratt

This is a disgusting idea! I agree with the ruling and wish we could stop prejudice like this, however hate breed hate, so hating people who have these beliefs will not help! Instead, as hard as it is, we should try to engage them in civil conversations to help change there points of view!

Lucy D.
Lucy D6 years ago

A big step in the right direction--will we ever see an American judge brave enough to stand up to bigotry and intolerance?

ryan b.
Ryan B6 years ago

I thought only people in the southeastern US and Uganda were the only one's in this world still prejudiced against gay people?