Thursday, January 25, 2007

Elizabethan Politics

It's clear that the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to adoption by gay couples is providng a direct challenge to Labour's anti-discrimination legislation. I wasn't aware just how far the Church was prepared to face down the Government until a remarkable interview on This Week a few moments ago.

After a fairly standard exchange on the subject, Andrew Neil asked the Roman Catholic contributor where this was all going. He replied that catholics have had a jaundiced view of Parliament since the Reformation, and he didn't rule out disobedience by the faithful.

Blimey. Elizabeth I famously said that she wouldn't "open windows into men's souls" (ie Catholics could hold their own beliefs as long as they weren't too open about it) but the State certainly took a dim view of any direct challenge to its authority. After centuries of persecution, Roman Catholics were accepted as loyal Britons only in the early Nineteenth Century, and the laws against their religion repealed.

Does the Roman Catholic Church really believe that its stance on homosexuality is worth undermining Parliament, and turning the clock back 450 years? If it does, then any support it might have will quickly evaporate, including from members of its own lay congregation. Somehow I don't think 21st century Britain is ready to be governed by the Duke of Norfolk again.

(For a wickedly-accurate lampoon of the Roman Catholic Church's stance by the way, check out this post on the Provisional BBC site).


Phil Pickering said...

I think us, as a nation is far too quick to slap down the beliefs and concepts of western religious groups, I’m sure if this was a challenge by, for instance, a Muslim religion - that cartoon wouldn’t even have been printed, let alone anyone to comment. When was the last time you saw a group of Christians burning dolls of Muslim people?

The Labour Humanis said...

There is no doubt the catholic church is being inspired by bigotry on this one (no not murder phil p but a social evil none the less).

What I find concerning is the concerted challenge from all the main religions to our elected govt's social and educational policies. All of these policies were very clearly part of a Labour party programme that been endorsed the electorate in 3 consecutive elections. Remember the 1970s and reaction against union power and the shouts of "who governs". That was on economic policy, but how long on social policy before we pose the question "who governs" - the democratically elected govt accountable to parliament, or non-elected bishops accountable to no-one?

Phil Pickering said...

That may be the case, but having said that, just because "who governs" is the democratically elected govt accountable to parliament, does not mean they should not consult with and listen to the concerns of others with experience and knowledge. Policies are only ‘passed’ when a body is influenced by others as to the ‘seen to be correct’ action to follow. And it’s not those who are "who governs” but those who know what buttons to press...

ian holme said...

A very sensitive issue this, but whatever the rights and wrongs, a child placed with a same sex couple WILL be subject to taunts and bullying by their peers. To think otherwise is to have your head in the sand.

If the childs welfare really is considered as the priority, they would not be placed in this situation.
Personally, if the worst happended I would not wish my children to be put in such a position.
It is no good arguing that the attitude of society needs to change to stop this bullying, because it will not happen in the near future, and no child should be knowingly put through this in the name of equality.

Having seen at close hand the hoops that hetrosexual couples must jump in order to adopt, I do dont see how the attitude of the Catholic church should be an issue. Surely it is down to them who they as fit adoptive parents?

I am not a catholic but I cannot see a problem with taking this position on ethical or practical grounds

miketually said...

If kids are placed with fat parents, or ginger parents, or curly-haired parents, or skinny parents, they'll be subject to bullying.

I know heterosexual couples that I would not want to take care of my kids and homosexual couples that I would have no problem with. When it comes to considering fitness to adopt, I think sexuality is pretty far down the list of factors to consider.

Despite their ethical stance on this issue, I believe Catholic adoption agencies currently allow homosexual singles to adopt. Ethics also took a bit of a back seat when it came to the Inquisition, condemning the Nazis and removing the sanction on the use of condoms.