Thursday, October 25, 2007

Christian couple who believe homosexuality to be wrong have foster son removed

Meet Vincent and Pauline Matherick, devoted foster parents with an unblemished record of caring for 28 vulnerable children. They are about to have their latest foster son, for whom they have cared for two years, taken away - because they refuse to teach him about homosexuality at the age of 11.

This sad story is simply another tragic consequence of the Sexual Orientation Regulations, and further evidence that sexual orientation now trumps religious conscience, and the government is imposing a soviet uniformity. The Mathericks are not homophobic: they simply hold views which are at variance with those of Somerset County Council. The freedom to challenge government directives when they are contrary to our own instincts and beliefs has a very long heritage in the UK, and has historically been given expression in laws relating to freedom of speech. It is this ancient liberty which is being dangerously eroded.

The young boy is a pawn in a grotesque assertion of the power of the state. Despite Somerset Council stating that ‘it is committed to promoting the interests of children and young people’, its social services department is not even prepared to wait until alternative foster parents can be found: the boy will be placed in a council hostel this week, and the Mathericks will no longer be given children to look after. Understandably, the young boy is upset, and the Mathericks are being treated as if they were themselves guilty of sexual abuse.

And wrenching the boy from a loving family environment and placing him in a loveless council hostel is in his best interests, is it?

It transpires that Somerset Council officials have informed the couple, both of whom are ministers in their local church, that they would be required ‘to discuss same-sex relationships with children as young as 11 and tell them that gay partnerships were just as acceptable as heterosexual marriages’. They could also be required to take teenagers to ‘gay association meetings’.

For these Christians, and for a good many more, homosexual practice is a sin. Are we a step away from natural parents being obliged to actively promote homosexuality to their own children? Mr Matherick said: “We have never discriminated against anybody, but I cannot preach the benefits of homosexuality when I believe it is against the word of God." So they have refused to agree to the new conditions as a matter of conscience, and were consequently informed that they would be removed from the register of approved foster parents. But rather than face the ‘humiliation’ of expulsion, they decided to resign.

It is at this point that Cranmer disagrees with the wisdom of their actions, just as he does with the Roman Catholic adoption agencies which are closing voluntarily. The plain teaching of Scripture is that Christians should be passive in such circumstances. Let them bring you to court; let them accuse you; let them make their case and have the whole saga played out in public. And the believer may tell the judge ‘’I have done nothing wrong’ (Acts 24:8), and the Lord promises that believers will be given the words to say in their defence. It is only by permitting such cases to come to court - so that believers may make their defence - that the law will be shown for the ass that it is. If believers decide to prosecute and assert their ‘rights’, the process will not only prove expensive; it is doomed to failure. The effect of an innocent and blameless testimony is a powerful rebuke to the world:

If ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye; and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear, having a good conscience, that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good manner of life in Christ (1Pt 3:14-16).

If you suffer for sin, you deserve the accusation of the world; but if you suffer for the sake of righteousness, you should be happy because you are suffering for Christ.

The irony is that councils all over the country are crying out for foster carers as a matter of urgency. They need 8000 to fulfil the needs of very vulnerable children, and they don’t mind if they are single, married, unmarried, gay, straight, bi, or transsexual: they are completely undiscriminating, and ‘welcome foster carers from all backgrounds and faiths’.

Unless, of course, one happens to be Christian, and really believes that faith, to the extent that one lives it.


Blogger Straight Mike - tells it as it is said...

Yes, the irony is that councils are undiscriminating in their recruitment of carers and welcome them from all faiths except Christian..... I wonder if a muslim foster carer refused to teach sodomy to their foster children would the councils remove them from their care?....... I would presume not...... for that would be racial discrimination I suppose.

25 October 2007 at 09:54  
Blogger botogol said...

It's an exquisite irony that legislation to 'protect' faiths does no such thing - in fact provokes and fuels inter-faith, and faith v secular conflict.

Life at the intersction of religion and politics is rarely comfortable.

25 October 2007 at 10:52  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Life at the intersction of religion and politics is rarely comfortable.

His Grace concurs. Things can get a bit hot.

25 October 2007 at 10:58  
Anonymous Alexandrian said...

The Mail wrote: "Officials told the couple that under the regulations they would be required to ... tell [children] that gay partnerships were just as acceptable as heterosexual marriages."

Frankly, if the officials really did say this, I cannot believe that they are correct.

25 October 2007 at 11:43  
Anonymous Terry said...

nowhere did this story appear on the BBC news website yesterday (that I could find - I'd love to be wrong)

25 October 2007 at 13:08  
Blogger The Bovina Bloviator said...

It is only by permitting such cases to come to court - so that believers may make their defence - that the law will be shown for the ass that it is.

Amen, amen. And Terry, you might like to know this story is getting quite a bit of play stateside.

26 October 2007 at 05:08  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

Local Government is the refuge of dimwits and wasters. Anyone who has had to work or negotiate them knows this. Social Services are usually at the core of mad schemes as it attracts the hebephrenics and the sandal wearers and the cannabis smokers.

They are currently in the thrall of the New Labour liberal odyssey. When that comes to an end I hope sanity will prevail.

In the meantime we wait for the world to take a turn or to until, due to the eliptical nature of relativism, somebody realises they made a mistake.

26 October 2007 at 10:59  
Anonymous Curly said...

I always knew that these regulations would be the cause of much distress.

A shameful situation has been created.

26 October 2007 at 11:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is absolutely disgusting. it is wrong. its an outrage!

26 October 2007 at 13:34  
Blogger Wrinkled Weasel said...

This is an extract from a longer post on my blog:

We cannot deny the reality; that we live in a pluralistic society in moral decay. The creed is relativism, a philsophical nonsense. By rendering all ideas equal it declares them inherently impotent. It has spawned an unhealthy battle for hegemony among the contradictory creeds of such things as Islam, Christianity, homosexuality, aetheism and faith. At the heart of this is the battle to win the ear of the monarch, or the Government in our case. At the moment Muslims and Gays are winning and Christians are losing. Ironically, these two are at war with each other, which is another consequence of the eliptical non-logic of relativism. It will execute itself.

In the meantime, it is up to those who feel disenfranchised not to blame the Government, but to show, through their own initiative and through results, that their way works. And then, people will vote with their money and their feet.

Contributions to societal needs were made by Christians over centuries gone by outwith the influence and assistance of the government of the day. They relied then on the quaint notion of Trusting in God.

26 October 2007 at 15:14  
Blogger DJ said...

Don't forget the ironic, yet sickening, yin to that yang:

26 October 2007 at 16:23  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Your Grace
While I feel for this couple, I must protest at your assumption that everyone and anyone is allowed to foster. When I tried to foster, I was interviewed and the interviewer was impressed with my knowledge of children and the decisions I would make in any given scenario that he presented to me. I am a teacher after all. But he could not accept me as a potential foster parent, either in a permanent or long term position, or even in a short term, temporary one. Why? Because I had no 'significant other'. Being single is fine, as long as you have a significant other.

My guess is that there are many other people who find themselves in the ridiculous position of this poor couple. We just don't know who they are.

26 October 2007 at 23:18  
Anonymous anon said...

I'm not convinced that this is true, because it's astonishing if it is.

27 October 2007 at 01:16  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

I am not sure whether you refer to His Grace's post, or to my comment. My experience was not so astonishing really. Their point was simply that if I had no one who could take the child to an appointment, should I be detained elsewhere, then I was not eligible to foster. My mother for instance could have taken the role of 'significant other', if she lived with me, or nearby. The interviewer was troubled by this. I was a perfect candidate in so many ways. He told me to get back in touch when I had found a significant other!

The problem is that while there clearly are many people with children without any one specific significant other, and others who do not teach their children about homosexuality at the age of 11, or indeed at any age, councils and official institutions must be seen to be ticking the right boxes and providing properly for the child. Nothing is ever left open to consideration and consent. Boxes are ticked. So one is never allowed to overlook a box, in order to improve the lot for the whole child.

27 October 2007 at 11:17  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

It is very upsetting that our country has come to this. It is a depressin story of the evil of a county council behaving in this way.

28 October 2007 at 08:06  
Blogger Digz guy said...


29 October 2007 at 15:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think that they are being asked to preach about the "benefits of homosexuality" because as far as I can see, there aren't any over heterosexuality. It seems more that they are being required to discuss the issue with children who, by 11, are probably hearing about it in the playground and well aware of heterosexuality anyway! Would they refuse to discuss other religions with their foster children, or refuse to take a teenage foster child to a mosque if they requested?

Raising a foster child should not be about raising them how you want them to be. It should be about helping them to grow into the person that they want to be and who will be of value to society.

31 October 2007 at 22:53  

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