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Anti-gay Christian couple to challenge fostering ban at High Court

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  1. They are not banned from fostering because they are christians. They are banned because they are bigots.

    chrissie
    xxxx

  2. de Villiers 1 Nov 2010, 11:55am

    > The Johns are a loving Christian couple, who have in the past, and would in the future, give a wonderful home to a vulnerable child.

    Unless the vulnerability related to the child eventually ‘coming out’.

    > “Research clearly establishes that children flourish best in a family with both a mother and father in a committed relationship, like the Johns have.

    I am not sure that this is correct. Children flourish best in a family with two parents in a committed relationship but not necessarily heterosexual parents. In any event, this is no bar to single persons adopting children.

    “One of the issues before the Court is whether Christian couples, who have traditional views on sexual ethics, are ‘fit and proper persons’ to foster – and, by implication, adopt.

    Is this correct? I am unaware as to what the legal issues are. I would be grateful if any lawyers on the board could comment on this.

    > “That the Court even needs to consider this is a remarkable reversal in the concept of the public good and the traditional definition of sexual morality.”

    It is a remarkable change. For the better. It is remarkable in the same manner as all forms of non-discrimination which have changed society in a fairly short space of time.

  3. They are going to the High Court to ask if it is OK for them to do damage to children; I hope they are told no! With bigoted views like this they are not fit to look after children. Imagine the damage that would be done if a young vulnerable LGBT person was growing up in their care while coming to a realisation of their sexaulity. Being fed such hateful sentiments would do great damage to that person. It should certainly not be allowed.

  4. Mihangel apYrs 1 Nov 2010, 12:03pm

    “Andrea Minichiello-Williams, barrister and director of the centre, told the Daily Telegraph: “The Johns are a loving Christian couple, who have in the past, and would in the future, give a wonderful home to a vulnerable child. UNLESS THAT CHILD’S A PERVERTED HOMOSEXUAL IN WHICH CASE IT WILL BE TOLD IT’S GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL!’

  5. The Daily Mail reported that the couple said,

    “they are against sex before marriage and do not recognise as marriage civil partnerships between gay couples.”

    So then we’ll just have to make sure we get marriage equality won’t we…thank science Ben Summerskill is now campaigning toward that end eh! that will remove another of their excuses and expose these bigots for the homophobes they truly are…
    But you know how it is with anti-gay bigots, they will then be going “we don’t recognise same sex marriage as marriage”
    I guess that’s their problem though.

  6. Keith Lynwood 1 Nov 2010, 12:16pm

    Not only should the court serve a lifetime ban on hatemongers like these freaks but it should also now conduct an investigation into all the previous adoptions to see what harm they have done.

  7. Good to see other christians condemning this couple, search “Christian Concern For Our Nation” on facebook to read support for the gay community on this case. Hopefully the Council’s objections will be upheld and this ridiculous medieval bigotry will be put to bed once and for all!

  8. There is a whole slew of interesting questions here. Christian fundamentalists claim a monopoly of the truth and generally believe that anyone rejecting their message, not just lgbts, is going to hell. It would be interesting to know how many ‘vulnerable children’ they have cared for have been pressurised into adopting their faith. On so many fronts, not just the sexual, such people are just not given to say ‘we really believe X, but we will respect and support you for deciding that Y is best for you’. There are probably lots of reasons why people with highly sectarian beliefs like this shouldn’t foster.

  9. Their beliefs aren’t “traditional” – they’re hateful. Oh, and Christian Hate Centre, research has shown that children do best raised by a LESBIAN couple. But, hey, why let facts get in the way of your stupid little campaign to show that christians are victims when they’re actually the aggressors?

    I got nothing against REAL Christianity or any other religion, but people like this need psychiatric help.

  10. Yes I agree, Pentecostalism is not your traditional Christianity, many people consider it to be a sort of extremist movement emanating from America, that is aggressively pursuing a political agenda, often using gays as the bogey man to rally against.

    Here the concern seems to be that , if there is a clash, they may put their beliefs before the wellbeing of any children they fostered.

  11. Galadriel1010 1 Nov 2010, 1:24pm

    And don’t forget, it’s not just the children they foster, but the ones who go to school with them. Growing up with them as carers surely wouldn’t be condusive to being able to accept classmates who are gay, or who have gay parents. It’s parents like this who are the direct cause of bullying.

  12. Jock S. Trap 1 Nov 2010, 1:31pm

    Now we have a court case to determine if it’s legally fine for religious people to openly discriminate against others and Then claim this is in the best interests of a child.

    This has nothing to do with children, or other people. This has everything to do with their own attitudes and egos.

    For those questioning who make better parents, forgive me but I’d have to say a loving couple. Plenty of excellent single parents too. Gender is immaterial.

  13. So what happens when these children start to grow up? they could be trans, gay etc do they kick them out on the streets? try to force it out of them? (not very kind or christian)?

    They cannot say we don’t know what the future holds because that can also be applied to a LGBT couple adopting…

    Megan

  14. Their religion has nothing to do with it. They’re an ignorant couple, the fact that they’re Christian is just coincidence. I personally wouldn’t want my child adopted by a bigoted bunch of idiots.

  15. Though I don’t personally care what people believe in (I’m an atheist), what concerns me is that these people will probably indoctrinate the children they foster with their antigay views which means they’ll be contributing to the next generation of homophobes. That’s mighty christian of them. Bigots! I pity any gay child in their care.

    I don’t give a damn if these morons can’t recognise CPs or same-sex marriage,how is that going to affect our lives or our relationships exactly? They’re not the majority view in our country.

  16. @15, Robert they say they don’t approve of sex outside of marriage … that they don’t recognise civil partnerships as marriage as a reason they disapprove of homosexuals and homosexuality.

    The fact is they are balefully ingnorant about the human condition and can’t see that homosexuality is just another normal sexual orientation not chosen any more than straight people choose to be heterosexual…they are true retards.
    Never leave a child alone with a homophobe
    (or in this case – a couple of homophobes)
    As Ben Summerskill, chief executive of gay rights charity Stonewall, said: ‘Too often in fostering cases nowadays it’s forgotten that it is the interests of a child, and not the prejudices of a parent, that matter.

  17. Oh the cherry pickers – I wonder if they really abide by everything in the bible?

    I hope they loose their case. Surely the kind of kids they will be fostering will lbe ‘troubled’ (not all) in some way pray to the Lord and all will be resolved. Come to my part of London loves in London there are plenty of girls walking around unmarried

    Gav

  18. Where do you think the money comes from for a high court challennge?

  19. James Lees 1 Nov 2010, 4:21pm

    I’m not sure about this. All the rhetoric about being straight and married is just nonsense of course, but barring a couple of experienced foster parents because of their beliefs is a step too far.

    Foster parent come from a wide range of people from gay couples to single straight, single gay, partnered gay and transexual people. It’s not surprising to find a Christian or two there.
    I don’t think that policing peoples beliefs is doing anyone any good.

  20. Christian Beliefs . . . this is curious.

    Out of the range of beliefs which are unique to the Christian religion, the argument appears to be that there is a hieararchy of beliefs; and at the top is a spurious claim to beable to discrimate against LGBT people in the name of Jesus.

    This assertion reduces Christianity to a religion which appears to built on the premise of hate. Moreover, this is why Christianity should have no rights, power or influence in the 21st century

  21. yet another plastic church trying to justyfing its bigotry, confusing freedom of speach with hatered. lets see if courts can spot the two above. and anyway if they care so much about kids then it shouldnt be a problem for them to compromise their bigoted values

  22. From what I can make out this is a decent couple who would make excellent foster parents. The only thing standing in their way it would seem is their beliefs which the fostering panel disagree with. Who is to say what is right or wrong belief and when it affects the ability to foster? Given there are many worse foster parents out there and many worse beliefs held by many foster parents and people making the decision for politically correct rather than child welfare reasons, I declare this decision to be disturbing decidely awful.

  23. The Law maybe, John? That’s why people aren’t allowed to go around making racist comments or homophobic ones, and ‘religion’ isn’t an excuse. There are plenty of Christian foster parents who manage to cope with fostering children in a bigotry-free home.

  24. Mihangel apYrs 1 Nov 2010, 6:32pm

    No-one has a right to foster, or adopt, merely the right to be considered for such. People putting themselves forward must fulfill certain criteria, one of them being, I would think, being able to deal with children of any sexual identity or orientation.

    And James Lee, the religion doesn’t matter, the acceptance or otherwise of LGBT as a neutral element of lie isn’t negotiable

  25. correct me if i’m wrong Iris but there is no evidence that this couple has made any racist or homophobic comments. neither is there evidence this couple is intolerant of those who believe different to them (definition of bigotry). the article states (I believe correctly) “that a fostering panel had rejected them because of their views”, which I understand to be traditional ones regarding sexual ethics. it is a sad day when people can be penalised for having views that don’t match with that of a powerful and misguided elite or children who need a good home miss out because of an obsession with political correctness.

  26. Pavlos, No. 16, I hear you. I wonder how these same people would react to a gay guest house or restaurant owner refusing them s room or a table because the proprietors didn’t subscribe to those religious beliefs and therefore can’t have people of that ilk as guests upsetting the majority of other people who aren’t like them? This couple and others like them would be playing the victim card as they all do when it comes to equality and this is a classic example of it. They want to impose their religious beliefs on the rest of us, no matter if we’re gay or straight. If they’re getting any semblance of public funding to foster a child, then they deserve to be called to task on it and obey the law that applies to everyone without exception.

  27. What if the child grew to be gay? Has anyone commented on the effect the bigotry from this couple could create?

  28. Are they still here? Thought they’d been put back in the cupboard with the dusty hymnbooks.

    What’s next? The BNP fighting for the right to adopt only white kids?

    Religious or political Fascists; all still Fascists.

    Do these people ever really step outside the box and listen to themselves; to their own words. Do they have people in their lives who would ever challenge what they say? This is how ignorance and Fascism is born and how it spreads.

    There’s nothing more dangerous than the hypocrisy of a pious religion.

  29. @18, qv wrote “Where do you think the money comes from for a high court challennge?”

    If Andrea Minichiello-Williams is involved it will be the Christian Legal Centre and as far as I know they receive a lot of their funding from USA plus from donations here for their compulsive and nasty attempts to fight LGBT equality.

  30. “The couple, who are Pentecostal Christians and have fostered almost 20 children in the past”

    20 poor children who have been brainwashed, radicalised and screwed up by fundamentalist christians. Letting people like this foster children is tantamount to child abuse in my eyes.

  31. No, they are NOT loving parents if they have already made up their minds that a homosexual child could not be fully accepted and respected as a homosexual.

  32. “Moreover, this is why Christianity should have no rights, power or influence in the 21st century”

    JohnK, I completely agree with this statement – only I would widen it to: “this is why Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and every religion and cult on the face of this earth should have no rights, power or influence in the 21st century”.

  33. john, religion cannt be alowed any more to ruin gay people lives as it is the case now, and children should be protected by state from homophobic bulling under pretence of religious freedom, got that mate ?!

  34. Andy, I know that isn’t your intention but your comments can also be taken as bullying, something I agree with you needs to be stamped out. I suspect Mr and Mrs Johns would be mortified if they felt their religion would ruin anyones life let known gay people. The issue for christians is imho simple – we should respect gay people and apply the golden rule by loving our neighbour as ourselves but we have to be true to our beliefs or more importantly obeying God and not drop those that appear inconvenient or disobey God.

  35. John: there are plenty of us who are partnered gay Christians who do not agree with you or this couple. Do not claim to speak for all Christians: the reality is that there are many different views about homosexuality amongst Christians.

  36. Mark: I agree! I wouldn’t dare make such a claim but I will stand with this couple!

  37. John wrote

    “I wouldn’t dare make such a claim but I will stand with this couple!”

    John are you gay ?

  38. John you try too hard to sell religion as something that is all inclusive and loving, the truth is christianity is anything but that and being RC i know its true. Pentacostals and other plastic churches simply try to out bid RC church in homophobic treatment of gay people. and please, before you start lecture me about bullying, perphaps you should first adrress situation of gay people in uganda, zimbabwe or malavi where religion makes their lives imposible

  39. If I were a child up for adoption or foster care I don’t think I would like to be placed with this particular couple. Mind you, it could have been a lot worse in the past, a catholic orphanage, for example. I am very grateful that the court will take their extreme religious views very seriously indeed.

  40. See. now the research i’ve read says sexuality is not as important as value base and love in parenting. it also says that PROPORTIONALLY, kids bought up in same sex households experience less family breakdowns. so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, you bigots.

  41. 21stCenturySpirituality 2 Nov 2010, 2:08am

    @John. I have spent a considerable amount of time considering both sides of the scriptural and moral arguements around same gender relationships and I have found no solid theological arguements for what these people assert which can withstand close academic and objective scrutiny and analysis. Why have these people not considered the work of John Shelby Spong, Daniel Helminiak, John Boswell and others in reaching there beliefs? Why do they insist on holding onto a rigid and inflexible view on this issue when: “In all aspects of life – scientific, sociological, political, cultural, ethical, psychological – we no longer express ourselves nor understand our world as our forebears did even 100 years ago. Yet we are expected to believe in and worship a God with concepts that have remained unchanged since the Middle Ages. Hence the sense of unreality about God, about religion, about the church.” (The God Shift: Our Changing Perception of the Ultimate Mystery by Adrian B Smith).
    @ John F & John K…I would also argue with those here who propose the view that all religion should be banned and purged from public life hold as inflexible and untennable a position when such a view is analysed & considered with more care as these so called Christians do on gay sexuality.
    Why should I be treated less fairly or denied the right to speak freely about my views on issues of concern in the public sphere because I believe that there is a spiritual dimension to the human experience?

  42. Palaverer 2 Nov 2010, 2:09am

    I had to blog about this: http://chunkymonkeymind.blogspot.com/2010/11/should-state-take-position-against.html

    I think foster care has more in common with child care or school than with adoption. It’s not okay to subject someone else’s kids to your dogma.

  43. Certainly hope this “Christian” couple don’t succeed. They haven’t been rejected becuase of their Christian beliefs, their beliefs againsts Gays aren’t christian in the first place, they have been rejected because the ouncil have found them to be unfit foster parents – it seems obvious to me , with those kind of anti gay beliefs, that they are and anyway it seems its against the equality act (why can’t they just get over it , we’re in 2010 now!)… Well done Derby CC… Hope Derby CC succeed in providing somekind of precendant here…and when are those Bishops going to be kicked out of the house of lords – should they real have any say on our future LGBT right, they realy don’t like us , do they…

  44. Peter In Brisbane 2 Nov 2010, 4:10am

    Watched a slide of a baby born with two heads when I was young. It was quickly killed by the Doctor. Did the baby have two Souls? Was one head Gay and the other head Heterosexual?
    How would these Pentecostals “speaking in tongues”, get their Tongue around that one?

  45. If they get paid for every child they foster then I imagine they have been running this fostering business as a nice little earner.
    Until now being free to indoctrinate the children placed with them into their own fundamentalist anti-gay beliefs, vulnerable children held as a captive audience while being subjected to this vile and ignorant doctrine defaming gay people.
    Really quite disgusting, a child growing up lesbian or gay in that environment wouldn’t stand a chance of not being psychologicially abused and damaged by these bigoted ignoramuses.

  46. Here are examples of fees paid to careres by Derbyshire Council.
    Mainstream children

    *

    Five-year-old
    Weekly rate of £131.99
    Total annual amount * up to £7191
    *

    Sibling group of two children age eight and 12
    Weekly rate of £282.67
    Total annual amount * up to £14,544
    *

    15-year-old
    Weekly rate of £150.68
    Total annual amount * up to £8103

    Contract Carers for young person aged 15

    Weekly rate of £619.30
    Total annual amount * up to £31,184

    Children First scheme for a 10-year-old

    Weekly rate of £262.35
    Total annual amount * up to £13,455

    Foster Plus scheme for a 13-year-old

    Weekly rate of £281.04
    Total annual amount * up to £14,367

    * includes three extra weeks payment to cover annual holidays, an extra weeks payment for each birthday and festivity.
    ** assumes carers have been caring for five years (mid point on our bonus scheme).

    You may also like to look at our information about benefits and rights to see if you are entitled to any more help.

  47. It strikes me that this is a case of reaping what you sow. For years Christians have argued that gay people weren’t fit to be allowed near kids. Now it’s happening to them. For years Christians have said that gays can’t reproduce, so they must recruit. Now Christianity, a learned behaviour, is under the spotlight as this couple try to recruit another child into their beliefs.

    And you know what, they don’t like it. They don’t like their freedoms being trampled on. TOUGH. If you can’t take it, you should not given it out all those years. Will this change their views on homosexuality? Will it bollocks, so it’s a sign to keep challenging this poison wherever it rears its head and be thankful that the tide is finally turning in our favour in the courts as society rejects the arguments of religious bigots.

  48. If you want to be paid to be a foster parent then you need to follow the rules. If not, don’t be a foster parent. This is not about their rights as Christians but our rights as the people who pay them to foster.

  49. John said “it is a sad day when people can be penalised for having views that don’t match with that of a powerful and misguided elite or children who need a good home miss out because of an obsession with political correctness.”

    They’re not being penalised for their views. I imagine they’re being prevented from fostering because it’s believed they might be unable to keep those views out of their work.

    Yes, it’s more like teaching, Palverer. As a teacher I can hold my own views but I am NOT free to indoctrinate the children I teach with them. That’s not my job, and it’s not a foster-carer’s job to indoctrinate either. Foster-carer’s have to abide by certain laws and policies. If they can’t do that or don’t wish to do so then they shouldn’t be foster-carers. I repeat again, many Christians ARE foster-carers. They manage to abide by the rules and don’t foist their religion on others. It doesn’t even have to be active ‘foisting’. It can be very damaging to the self-esteem of a gay child to have even subtle, unspoken disapproval. Vulnerable children don’t deserve that.

    Oh, and John, I don’t see how it’s “misguided” to introduce laws that ask that we treat everyone equally regardless of their race, sexuality, etc. Nor is that only a minority belief of the “elite”. Most people believe in fairness and equality. And lots of Christians (I used to be one) don’t think that being gay is wrong any more than being black.

  50. I hate how bigots always throw in the words “ethical” “moral” “spiritual” as if validating their narrow-minded hatred. Theyre the fall back words… they’ve been backed into a corner so they cry out that we’re prejudiced against them for being prejudiced.

  51. I apologise if this is slightly off topic, but the essence is still with reference to militant Christianity; and why it needs to be kept out of public life.

    The don’t ask don’t tell policy in the US military, which I think we would all agree leads to a perverse system of liars, fear and abuse; is now being endorsed by US Chaplains. The Christian argument for keeping the policy, is based on a fear of being sacked for being called a bigot; if gays are allowed to be open and honest about their sexuality . . .

    http://topnews360.tmcnet.com/topics/associated-press/articles/2010/11/01/113173-retired-chaplains-warn-against-dont-ask-repeal.htm

    With regards to this thread to date. . . The real issue here as I see it, is the foster parents angry at not being able to promote their own bigotry and hatred in the name of Jesus.

  52. Iris: one of the problems about commenting on cases like this is that we do not always have all the facts. While I understand Derby CC have good reason to enquire of Mr&Mrs Johns views there is nothing that would indicate these would detrimentally affect the children they foster. We all have views and whether you/I like it or not these influence the way we live our lives and affect others (even if, as you say, we keep these to ourselves).

    Why I feel so strongly isn’t just because I feel Christians are being unnecessarily penalised (in fact history tells me that the Church (all true believers) is strongest and functions best when she suffers) but that we are now moving toward an Orwellian state where “thought crimes” are now punished and, even more than that, we are depriving children who need good homes because of a wrong ideology. As for teaching children right values, the lack of this (and of good role models) is a major reason for much of the malaise we have among our young people and in society as a whole.

    As you know, I do a lot of diversity work and we also teach our 12yo the Bible because we believe there are principles there if he adopts them will do him and those around him much good. (We also emphasise that he has to come to his own view and we that we will love him and be proud parents whatever he decides.) We also teach him to respect, honour, understand and, if appropriate, befriend those who think / live / act /are different to us (and here I am at an advantage because of the nature of my work). Nothing delights me more that when I introduce him to my diverse friends (including gay ones) and I hope and pray that all these principles get to be played out.

    Finally, I tried earlier to respond to your “f****** disgusting” remark that began the first of of two threads concerning the US school administrator that made those inappropriate comments relating to a recent spate of suicides by gay youngsters. Strangely, the system didn’t let me in and I thought maybe I had been banned. What I wanted to say was … firstly I share your anger (those comments were uncalled for and wrong), secondly: I am deeply saddened by these tragic deaths and thirdly: I am keen to build bridges with gay folks and, while we will strongly disagree on some issues, hope we can work together to make a society that is more tolerant, kind to and supportive of gay folk.

  53. It’s OK to have a High School education of The Bible, as long as you’re in High School.

  54. john, fostering is a paid job funded by tax payer and not a hobby, when confronted with gay issue in foster care, this couple woundnt be best place to deal with it thats what is this all about

  55. Yes, andy you are right,

    Eunice & Owen Johns want to provide a fostering service for which they are paid …so they are required to abide by anti-discrimination laws relating to provision of goods and services.

    What Mr & Mrs Johns are demanding is to be granted a privileged opt-out from the law so they would not be required to support the Council’s equality policy.

  56. John, I don’t know the couple in question obviously – my comments are more on the general principles involved, as I’m sure yours are too. For me, the fact is that if we have rules/laws they apply to everyone. No-one gets an opt-out from the law and I dislike the way that some Christians seem to be demanding one. That’s not a dig at Christians, it’s a comment that asks ‘Where would it end?”. If we allow people’s beliefs to override the law, then racists will be free to victimise and abuse people; adulters could be (in theory, of course) stoned to death because the murderer is only folllowing their beliefs; Fred Bloggs might believe in the distribution of wealth so he’ll be free to argue that stealing your wallet wasn’t actually theft at all, etc etc.

    Now you might say those are silly examples, but the point is clear. We’re all entitled to our beliefs even if they’re utterly stupid (I’m NOT referring to any religion there) but we all have to obey the law and procedures. It doesn’t matter how strongly one believes something or how genuine one’s feeling is, there is no opt-out.

    I’m sure the Johns are nice people and not malicious in their belief (I think they’re misguided). But that doesn’t give them the right to exercise that belief, especially where children are concerned. A person could honestly believe ‘Spare the rod and spoil the child’ and TRULY think that they were acting in the child’s best interests by using corporal punishment, but no council would permit that. The good intentions of the potential fosterer are irrelevant.

    Thank you for your comment on the US school admin official. Personally, I think he’s a good example of an ignorant man (using that as an adjective not an insult) who’s been mislead by the rabid US evangelism and anti-gay rhetoric. That’s why I have no problem at all with your Christian beliefs, but why I do worry when people give too much credence to words from such ‘christians’. In fact, I believe that daft and often hateful pronouncements from such people is leading to the demise of Christianity in the UK and that they are far more ‘the enemy’ than LGBT people. Every time one of these stories features in the Press most of my friends who would nominally call themselves Christians are sickened.

    I’m glad you’re raising your son to have an open mind, and there are many Christians doing likewise, so this isn’t an argument about Christians’ parenting skills, more about a POTENTIAL inability/reluctance to obey equality rules and council guidelines.

    Do you not agree that the law and specific rules should apply to Christians along with everyone else?

  57. 21stCenturySpirituality 2 Nov 2010, 3:07pm

    “good reason to enquire of Mr&Mrs Johns views there is nothing that would indicate these would detrimentally affect the children they foster”. Oh come on John for goodness sake wake up man! Have you not been reading or listening to the news lately? About these teen suicides and the situation in Uganda!! No detrimental effect?!! What planet are you living on?!! Cos it sure aint this one if you think there are no detrimental effects from these beliefs.
    And if we’re talking about the welfare of children then basically these people’s position is that they can’t be bothered to be flexible enough to adapt their care approach to the needs of the person that they are caring for – that is essentially what they are saying – that they would put their own choices and their own needs before the needs and choices of the person that they are caring for – thats what the position they are defending amounts to in my view – its totally selfish.

  58. “Do you not agree that the law and specific rules should apply to Christians along with everyone else?”

    Iris: you no doubt know well the incident in the Bible leading up to Jesus’s oft quoted statement: “render until Ceasar the things that are Ceasars and to God the things are Gods”. So to answer your question, Christians should obey the law of the land except when there is in conflict with the law of God”, and I believe Christians do by and large and maybe more so than most non-Christians. I also recognise there may be guidelines to foster parents that may not necessarily apply to natural parents but that is an area I need to find out about.

    According to the Pink News article this couple has been rejected as foster parents because of their views, not because of anything they have done or not done. If there is more to it than this e.g. a reluctance on the part of the prospective foster parents to obey the rules then we need to know – i.e. let’s establish the facts before making further judgements.

    Fyi I have written to the Christian Legal Centre and to a Christian friend who has been a foster parent and now chairs a foster panel in order to understand the facts and issues better. (I also wanted to pick up on a point Pavlos (I think) made about CLC being funded from the US – my understanding is they run almost on shoestring and depend heavily on volunteers.)

    C21: I have gone on record expressing my dismay over the teen suicides and “the situation in Uganda”. It seems rather perverse that you should link this with people who happen to believe the truth as declared in the Word of God. As for putting the needs of the children before one’s own agenda etc., I agree absolutely, and who is to say that is not what Mr&Mrs Johns are doing?

  59. John, I don’t know you, but you seem rather naive about the negative effects certain religious beliefs have on society. For instance, it’s “Christian” pastors who are currently championing laws to execute gay people in Uganda, and it’s Muslim Imams championing the imprisonment and execution of gays in Sharia countries right now.

    It’s very simple to connect the dots…

    Gay = sin = perversion = against “God’s” will = a crime = punishment

    Thankfully, we now live in more enlightened times in this country, but it was by and large “Christian” teachings which created the perfect hateful environment where gays and lesbians could be so easily vilified, stigmatised, and eventually punished throughout history. And we can see it happening all over again in Uganda.

    Religion preaches from a very privileged position and the Church and Christians are very quick to deny their own blame, but I’m sorry John I’m not falling for that one. There’s not a week that goes by where some unelected bishop is preaching on high about the dangers of gay rights. Personally, I think they have some serious issues with themselves and they’re acting out of self hatred. But nevertheless, they do still have followers, and they do inspire hatred.

    And as for the suicides? Do your research John, the gay teens who committed suicide in America were brought up in religious schools, communities, and families, and committed suicide due to feeling they had no place in society. America is much more deeply religious than this country and much more deeply homophobic. The two go hand in hand.

    I’m afraid you’re going to have to confront the fact that your religion needs a complete shake up, as does the influential hierarchy who preach as if they have a direct phone line to God above and beyond all others. They have had enough influence for far too long and we’ve seen the effects all too clearly. Enough is enough.

  60. John,

    “you no doubt know well the incident in the Bible leading up to Jesus’s oft quoted statement: “render until Ceasar the things that are Ceasars and to God the things are Gods”. So to answer your question, Christians should obey the law of the land except when there is in conflict with the law of God”

    Fine. Let them be rewarded by God, according to His methods, if they *are* acting according to his word. But the law of the land still holds, and should operate independently of any religious presumptions.

    Going back a *long* way, to your adopting the cliche of “political correctness” (Comment 25), I believe you may find the following page useful:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20080429124539/http://www.kaichang.net/2006/11/the_sloppy_prop.html

    I should mention that this topic strikes an intensely personal chord for me. Having been effectively disowned by my queerphobic mother and ejected from my family as a result five years ago, having had over three years of counciling afterwards, and having still to deal with the burden of my feelings of betrayal, I would not advocate putting any child in risk of finding themselves in a similar position.

    There is a huge excess of hopeful potential foster parents in the UK; denying this couple the option of fostering would not leave any child without suitable care.

  61. Iris: I have just had a superb response from my foster carer friend. I have asked his permission to include an extract for a future post.

    Nathan: you articulate your points very well. I can’t speak for Muslims of course and, come to that, most Christians. I don’t believe being deeply religious and deeply homophobic necessarily go hand in hand, although I accept that regretably it does too often. I don’t purport to have a direct line to God other than by prayer but I do try to be faithful to his revealed will as contained in the scriptures. My reading is we are all sinners and, as I have stated in these forums before, – living a homosexual lifestyle is no worse than heterosexual couples having sex outside marriage, our ignoring the plight of the poor and numerous other wrongs we are all susceptible to … but sin is still sin … and more importantly there is the prospect of redemption!

    Sally: thanks for sharing your thoughts – v.well expressed. I appreciate you being so open about your own situation. I would like to think if you were my daughter that I would not disown you and I hope you can be reconciled with your mother. Thanks for the link. It is a very good article and I stand corrected. I tend to use the term political correctness as bowing to pressure usually imposed by powerful outside agencies or authorities or popular culture than just doing the right thing without worrying about upsetting people or trying to cover our backs. I will be careful next time to explain terms first though.

  62. John -
    I really think we get it now. Really. You cling against all reason to what you assert as the objective ‘truth’ of supernatural beliefs for which there is no evidence, and, on the basis of a highly arbitrary and selective reading of the religious tradition in which they are rooted, you denigrate the relationships of lesbian and gay people as ‘sin’, while lamenting the existence of homophobia.
    We have heard it all before and are really not interested. So please stop wasting our time and yours and just go away.

  63. John wrote
    “According to the Pink News article this couple has been rejected as foster parents because of their views, not because of anything they have done or not done”

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John “views” do not exist in a vacuum, views tells you about a person’s attitude to life; and their likely response to a given set of circumstances – and in this case . . .

    Gay Christian couple + Gay children

    = Gay child + internalised religious beliefs of adoptive parents

    = internalised homophobia

    = psychological damage to the gay child

    John . . . internalised homophobia causes psychological damage and suffering, mainly through anxiety and depression, and in some cases this can lead to suicide.

    John . . . the suicide rate amongst young gay men is higher than any other group of men

    John . . . This is why Christian views that homosexuality is a sin, has no place in 21st century civil society.

  64. Riondo john is not interested in gay point of view and is unable to see why is it wrong for religion to demand special treatment, he is american and spoiled by the powerfull place of christian radicalism in usa. he’s trying to sound reasonable just to show that not all christaians are crude medivall creatures as you said waste space and time

  65. 21stCenturySpirituality 3 Nov 2010, 2:24am

    “THE truth”…”THE Word of God” John. Lets take a look at that shall we – define ‘truth’, define ‘God’, and explain exactly how we determine what are messages from God and distinguish these from data from other sources?

  66. 21stCenturySpirituality 3 Nov 2010, 3:14am

    And I make the link to the situation in Uganda and the teen suicides because in each case religious rhetoric is being used to justify prejudice, persecution, and to foster and promote intolerance. These people are on record as supporting the notion that the only space one can occupy as a Christian in relation to homosexuality is a hostile or opposing one and that is not the ‘truth’ at all John. The work of a number of Christian academics, including Keith Ward, John Shelby Spong, Daniel Helminiak, John Boswell, et al, makes this quite clear.

  67. John #58 said “So to answer your question, Christians should obey the law of the land except when there is in conflict with the law of God”, and I believe Christians do by and large and maybe more so than most non-Christians…”

    OK, let’s quickly deal with the second part of that. While I’m more than happy to accept that, as with most people, Christians do obey the law, your assertion that Christians are more law-abiding is wrong. The most religious (ie Christian) states in the US have the highest crime rates, and – as you’ve just stated yourself, some Christians are prepared to BREAK THE LAW if they think that ‘god wants them to’. That’s a pretty broad remit, isn’t it? Those US slavers believed that god WANTED them to keep black people as slaves; many believed that the Curse of Ham was god signalling to them that black people were worthless trash.Nice, eh? I bet your skin crwals reading that. Now don’t tell me that you’re not a racist – I’m sure you’re not – but what about all the other ‘christians’ who are not like you?

    Moving on to the first part of your sentence – so you’re advocating breaking the law if it ‘conflicts with god’s'? Can’t you see that that gives people carte blanche to terrorise you and your family? “My religion says Christians are evil and must be killed” etc etc And it’s not even just religion as I said above, it’s BELIEF. What if someone’s ‘belief’ threatened your family? Would you want the law to say that they wouldn’t be protecting you because the person was just ‘acting in accordance with their belief’?? We are ALL protected by the law but in order to get that protection we must support it.

    Finally – and what annoys me most of all – is that the Bible doesn’t even say that loving, consensual same sex relationships between adults are wrong. It does NOT. I always invite people to show me the quote or quotes that say this and they can’t – BECAUSE THERE AREN’T ANY. That makes this ‘traditional Christian belief’ a load of rubbish, to be blunt. Yes, you’re entitled to believe what you want regardless of what the Bible actually says, but in that case you should ask yourself WHY you’re so keen to believe this one thing; why you persist in an incorrect belief and block your mind to anything that undermines it. Why would it matter to you that the Bible didn’t condemn homosexuality? Think about it, John.

    You say that homosexuality’s a sin just like all the other sins, yet it’s not and there’s no evidence to suggest that Jesus, persuming he existed etc etc, ever thought so, is there? No message from God telling us that it is. Nothing. Just the hate formented by a few insecure men. There’s nothing Christian about that.

    And as – I hope – you shuddered to read the way racists used the Bible to justify their racism, one day Christians will feel sick to think that the Bible was used to justify homophobia.

  68. Spot on Iris, and Jesus also spoke about “born eunuchs so too from their mother’s womb”, as a special category of people who shouldn’t accept marriage as between one man and one woman! Born eunuchs eh? Interesting that considering I’ve never met any.
    It would be ridiculous to assume Jesus meant men born impotent, as that’s not reason enough for any reasonable person to forgo marriage.

    He could only have meant one thing, and that was gay people!

  69. John: “It seems rather perverse that you should link this with people who happen to believe the truth as declared in the Word of God”

    John, the outcome of prejudice is always the same. There is nothing perverse with this link, its a logical one, and a scientifically proven one. Using the so-called “word of god”, to persecute leads to social isolation and enormous stress for a child, and can tragically lead to suicide, as in the publicised cases lately.

    But what’s ironic is that the “word of god” is usually a cover story for the validation of someone own bigotry. It has noting to do with the word of god, unless you look at this so called word in context.

    And as you are keen to emphasise the “traditional christian belief” as something that should be tolerated and encouraged in parenting, tell me this, should potential foster parents who believe in burning woman as witches be suitable people for children in need of a good home? Burning innocent people as witches is traditional Christianity, is it not? “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live”, Exodus 22:18

    Or what about stoning disobedient children? “Stone disobedient children” (Deuteronomy 21:18-21) Should we take this literal bible law, as christians seem to do with persecuting gay people as gods law, is this acceptable for potential foster parents?

    Or what about beating that child? Is this okay, as the bible says? Proverbs 23:13-14:- “Do not withhold discipline from a child. If you beat him with a rod, he will not die. If you beat him with the rod, you will save his life from Sheol”

    So, where do you draw the line? Surely as parents beliefs are intrinsic to the well being of that child, and it sounds to me that any war cry of “traditional moral ethics” is nothing but a load of toss.

    The interests of the child are paramount here, and its clear for the bible, that anyone following christian beliefs and strict “traditional” christian dogma is not suitable for fostering. If that child can potentially be gay (and I am intentionally ignoring the “lifestyle choice” nonsense as the fallacy it is), then these people are not suitable as parents. Its that simple.

  70. 21stCenturySpirituality 3 Nov 2010, 3:01pm

    Re 69. Thank you Will. Precisely.

  71. Well said comment 69. Indeed, it is unlikely the Christian zealots here will answer your intelligent questions, ignoring the truth of their contradiction is always a painful experience for them.

  72. Will, No. 69, well said. Most of the christian and orthodox jewish bigots cherry pick which verses in the old and new testament to suit their own comfort level, while reserving the Leviticus mantra to justify discrimination and dehumanisation of gay people. Its beyond transparent. They will come up with every excuse in the book to avoid dealing with those verses you quoted. My take on it is if they claim that the bible is the word of god, then they should abide by everything written therein. Its either all or nothing. They’re sick people in any event, often damaged people.

  73. Iris, No. 67, you’re right in regard to those U.S. states having the highest crime rates where religious zealotry is rampant. Add to that, they have the highest number of subscribers to pornography, while espousing christian principles, family values and opposition to same-sex marriage. Some of the worst offenders often turn out to be their so-called christian pastors or ministers. Coincidentally, the overwhelming majority of them vote republican (conservative) and who of course have the monopoly on religious extremism. No surprise there, its always been that way and it always will be.

  74. Eye-opening, Robert. Just proves that all these people actually hate THEMSELVES. They feel guilty and go on and on about sin all the time – other people’s sin, of course – while hating themselves for indulging. At least those old self-flagellating guys beat themselves not others. It takes a real coward to try to make up for what you perceive as your faults by abusing others.

  75. “It takes a real coward to try to make up for what you perceive as your faults by abusing others.”

    Beautifully put…. mind if I steal that one, Iris :)

  76. …Not at all, Will :D

    I’m still here waiting for John to respond. Am I imagining it or do we always get to the same point with these ‘traditionalists’? We ask pertinent questions and suddenly they disappear.

    Maybe you’ve been busy, John? But please find time to respond. No-one’s trying to ‘trick’ you. People have raised genuine points and it would be interesting to hear your thoughts on those.

  77. “We ask pertinent questions and suddenly they disappear.”

    Hmm, I agree. I suppose when you take a literal approach to contradictory (bordering on the insanely contradictory) dogma like the bible, but you ultimately, and inevitably, get to a point where that person refuses to see the blindly obvious truth that they are using snippets to back up bigotry, or ignore you.

  78. 21stCenturySpirituality 5 Nov 2010, 3:01pm

    In Johns defence he does come across to me as a bit more intelligent and open to dialogue than alot of the biblical, theological and spiritual also rans that usually do a hit and run here. But the point about asking difficult questions and getting no response in support of the claims and comment made by the fanatical religionists that pop by to drop their bigotry bombs on our little gaytopia is well justified in my experience.

  79. “In Johns defence he does come across to me as a bit more intelligent and open to dialogue than alot of the biblical”

    Oh, agreed, certainly, he’s not as parochial as the likes of Hank and Skinner, but your reference to “bigotry bombs” is a very apt term, one I have yet to see a so called christian in here not rightly deserve applied to them. Its the literal equivalent to a smash and grap approach to dogma.

  80. I agree too 21st CS. John is more intelligent, but, to me, that’s what makes it sadder. Not sadder that he’s Christian – I have no problem with that and I respect the more measured way he talks about things – but sad that he can’t see that other less Christian Christians are distorting the message of Jesus (assuming he existed, etc etc) and using the Bible to promote hate.

  81. 21stCenturySpirituality 5 Nov 2010, 11:49pm

    Totally unrelated but happy Diwali everyone X

  82. The point Iris made that the Bible nowhere condemns loving consensual homosexual relationships is correct and it’s also really imnportant.
    If we are capable of discerning what is heterosexual rape or abusive heterosexual exploitation which we disaprove of from loving consenting heterosexual relationships which we approve of then we are capable of discerning the same about homosexual sex and relationships.
    Loving consenting homosexual relationships may not be described in the Bible but neither are computers or automobiles, it doesn’t mean they can’t exist or that they must be condemned and that we should all revert to the use of the abacus and travelling on donkeys.

    Eunice Johns attends church twice every Sunday and her husband Owen sometimes works weekends so that might suggest they were too busy to look after a child on weekends or that the child would have to attend the Pentecostal church with Mrs Johns twice on Sundays!!!
    The Christian Legal Centre said that the Johns would be willing to foster a gay child and that they would talk to the child about it…how potentially frightening is that? considering Eunice has already said she cannot tell a child it is okay to be gay?

  83. Iris, Will, Pavlos, C21: I’m addressing you guys becoz you have all responded to my earlier comments and we have also had exchanges in the past. While we have agreed on some points, we have disagreed (often sharply) on others. I suppose the main objection for you is not that I regard us all as being sinners (myself included of course) but that I don’t see homosexuality as being sanctioned in scripture and therefore a lifestyle I would encourage. While there have been some astute “theologians” arguing in these forums that scripture does not condemn gay sex and, where it seems to, there are reasonable explanations why it can be argued as not being “anti-gay”, I have always maintained that the only lifestyle endorsed by scripture is a heterosexual one between a man who is married for life to his wife (although I acknowledge many Christians see it differently). I wanted to say that while I understand you see things differently and, in most cases, don’t feel bound by scripture anyway, I respect you all, even to the point of affection. I would love to meet up with you over a pint or a coffee (first round on me ) to thrash out some of these points, find further common ground and maybe even be challenged to the point of changing our views.

    I certainly don’t want to give the impression I am another hit and run bigot, after having made some unpalatable points is unprepared for any comeback. The reason I didn’t respond before now was that I have been fairly busy and after my last comment (58) on 2/11, what followed was by and large fairly hostile (which I can handle) but also seemed to be going over old ground which has been discussed before, so I wondered how productive it would be!? Not you, but a number who frequent these forums do take exception to folk with views similar to mine and I do question if being somewhere I am not wanted is wise or productive.

    What I intend is for my next posting to look at all the comments after my last post (58) that apply to me and respond further if appropriate. Meanwhile, I am reproducing (with permission) part of a response, which I agree with, from a Christian friend of mine who fosters children and is a member of a foster panel. I have edited out stuff relating to him personally and his location for obvious reasons:

    “1. Lots of “Christian” opinion isn’t very Christian! I don’t want to be tarred with the same brush as the US pastor who wanted to burn the Koran, not with “Protestants” and “Catholics” in N. Ireland who want to burn each other! The bigots on one side play too easily into the hands of the bigots on the other side! So I have to confess that unless the conversation is with someone who is able to see reason and in circumstances where there is time and opportunity to calmly explore our ideas, rightly or wrongly, I tend to keep my head down!

    2. There seems to be a lot of confusion in the church about how we should relate to the fallen world we live in and seek to serve. Unfortunately some Christians are ready to condemn some sins (which they are not usually tempted by) – such as homosexual practice – and say nothing about others like tolerating injustice and failing the poor. No wonder many in the world see Christians as condemnatory and bigoted! And the particular culture of some American churches which are presented by the press as typical doesn’t help!

    When we were assessed – very thoroughly, the social worker was a lesbian ex-churchgoer who had to ask, as part of the assessment, our views about homosexuality. I tried to explain that although I believed the Bible taught it was a “sin” because it is a practice that falls short of God’s perfect standard, I was not homophobic because I accepted that we all fall short of God’s standard in many ways and therefore we are all in the same boat. It’s not my place to condemn some and not others nor discriminate in the way I relate to people who do not accept the beliefs and practices I believe to be right. Therefore, I would seek to love, work with and support any gay or lesbian person in the same way as Jesus spent time with, loved and worked with adulterers, prostitutes and tax-collectors! Our lesbian social worker naturally disagreed with my views about sin but seem to accept that they did not prevent me from relating to children, families or other professionals. We were recommended to panel and they approved us despite the record of my views in the Form F assessment paperwork which all panel members would have read. I even got a hug from the social worker when we met in the street some time later!

    In practice, our approval was for 0 to 5 year olds where conflicts about sexual orientation do not arise! However, if we had an older child or young person who expressed doubts, desires or confusion about sexual practices I personally did not wish to live by myself, I would not impose my views on them as they are not my children and I agree to work in partnership with the local authority and birth family. My job is to care for them and promote their health and development. I can’t help but do this in a “Christian environment” but I would not force my views or practices on anyone who lived or worked with us. No-one can live family life in a moral, ethical or spiritual vacuum – and I can no more be accused of indoctrinating children into the Christian faith than someone else could be accused of indoctrinating their children into a humanist, materialist way of life. We just try to live by our beliefs. We just get on with normal family life – which tries to be, but often fails, to be Christian in nature. The department knows we take our babies and young children to church but if a birth parent objected to this, we would respect their wishes and as much as possible work something out – hopefully convincing them that no harm was being done! In practice, this would be dealt with by the department when placing the child in the first place – if a parent objected to care by a Christian, then the department would have to respect that and so would I. We don’t hide our Christian beliefs and practices but no social worker has ever criticised the care we have given. Hopefully they see that it motivates and enhances our practice (but having said that, there are some superb carers out there who are not Christians and put us to shame!).

    Now that I am involved with training foster carers and serve as a panel member, I have to promote anti-discriminatory practice, equal opportunities etc – and am pleased to do so because it seems to me that Jesus did too. We have a gay couple going though training at the moment. I might not personally wish to live by their moral code and I see the practical problems for fostering (such as the child being bullied by their peers because they live with a gay couple) but in terms of their ability to care for a child, I can no more discriminate against them because of their sexual practices than I can discriminate against a straight couple who had sex before marriage – both are legal in our society even if I can see that they fall short of God’s ideal! As long as the couple satisfy all the requirements to give safe, secure, quality care then it’s not for me to draw the line so that some sinners are acceptable and some are not. We live in a fallen society and I would have to leave the planet if I could only operate in a society whose laws exactly coincided with God’s standards!”

  84. Pavlos: “The point Iris made that the Bible nowhere condemns loving consensual homosexual relationships is correct and it’s also really imnportant.”

    Er.. I’m no Bible basher, but even I know the line about “A man shall not lie with another man – it is an abomination”

    If that isn’t a direct attack at homosexuality, I don’t know what is.

  85. Following my post (83) here are my responses to posts (after 61) that relate to what I wrote and where I think I have something worthwhile to say. I have tried to be succinct so apologies in advance if I miss anything significant or just miss the point :-)

    21CS (65,66): Thanks for pointing out these people (I will try to check these out sometime). I’m pretty sure the one who said he is the Truth (Jesus) was not hostile to homosexuals when he dined with them and neither am I (at least knowingly) and neither should any of his other followers be.

    Iris (67): My “law abiding” comment was slightly tongue in cheek: many Christians I know are (irritatingly) the type of people who would be mortified if they got points on their driving licence, would declare every penny of their income to the taxman and make it a point of honour to settle all bills before getting a final demand! I can think of very few examples, in fact none currently (except helping maybe a few asylum seekers who have fallen foul of the government’s iniquitous policy of depriving such folk help), where I would break the law. I am thinking of regimes where you can go to prison or worse for being a Christian or, in the days of the Roman empire being fed to the lions for not recognising Caesar as Lord (divine). I am not racist or homophobic and would seek never to discriminate on the grounds of: age, gender, religion, race, disability or sexual orientation. As I have said several times before: the Bible ONLY commends heterosexual behaviour and even if it does not condemn homosexual behaviour, there are imho several passages where it is a least antipathetic. Of course, I condemn some of the excesses you point out, but equally, many of the best people I know are Christian (and some great folk who are not Christians as well).

    Nathan (68): Thank you for that helpful thought.

    Will (69): You point out a number of “difficult” passages in the Bible. I am sure, between us, we can come up with many more! But why not point out to its revolutionary teaching on, among other things, compassion to the poor, loving our neighbour who is different to us, adopting the “golden rule”, exercising social justice in many areas, and proclaiming liberation (compared to what was around at the time) for women and slaves? As for what’s best for children – I agree entirely, but what is more, many Christians with traditional beliefs do and can be fantastic foster parents, and in a time when there is a drastic shortage!

    Rob (71): I’m having a go as you can see! I will never be satisfied with contradictions even though methinks life is full of paradoxes and unanswered questions.

    Robert (72,73): I agree with many of your concerns and, while I regret there are many bad examples among Christians, I and many other Christian, try to be balanced, true, compassionate etc. Btw, God is neither Republican or Democrat; neither Conservative or Labour. He transcends all that but there are godly principles for dealing with many of the issues politicians throw up – for the record I voted Labour in last local election and UKIP nationally!

    Iris (74): “It takes a real coward to try to make up for what you perceive as your faults by abusing others.” I agree with Will (75) but where people do hate themselves, including Christians, in my experience, more often than not they take it out on themselves – a great shame, don’t you think?

    Iris (76) You are imagining it (in this case anyway) as you can see Iris :-) but the optimum word is genuine – I hope I am not being paranoid but not all the comments in these forums are genuine – some are anything but :-( – but as you can also see I am trying to respond to those who I believe are.

    Will (77) Well actually no Will.

    21CS (78) That’s gracious of you – which reminds me of a fascinating debate between two Christian theologians at opposite ends of the spectrum on the gay issue – well worth watching:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCTTq8DMQ8E&feature=related

    Will (79): “Its the literal equivalent to a smash and grap approach to dogma” Not sure I fully understand what you mean but here’s a go at trying – while I accept the Bible is authoritative, the ultimate authority is God himself, who happens to reveal himself through the Bible (although he reveals himself in other ways also). I try to interpret this in an honest and balanced way, believing that “discrepancies” whether internal or with scientific finding can be reconciled – and no not everything is literal (read the Song of Solomon!) but everything is true.

    Iris (80): As I have told you before, I regret and distance myself from anyone (Christian or whoever) who distort the message of the Bible, especially when promoting a hate based agenda.

    21CS (81): which is what I said to my Hindu friend! …

    Pavlos (82): Thanks for making these points but I believe I have given my response earlier.

  86. “the Bible ONLY commends heterosexual behaviour and even if it does not condemn homosexual behaviour”

    Yes, and it also condones incest, slavery, rape, murder, stoning of witches and disobedient children…. the list is endless. Separating homosexuality form “behaviour” is like trying to pick up water with a tweeters, it just isn’t going to happen. Clearly you seek to isolate any passage that condones your own world view, and this is scientifically proven to be the case with all so called “I know gods will” types – gods “will” is invariably your own. Perhaps the real question is why you need to spew this filth in the name of a god you believe to be about love? Its not us that needs to change, its you.

    Homosexuality is no more then a scapegoat, the alien among us so to speak, to give your religion and yourself some credence of superiority. Alas, this is also the reason why christianity is falling like a brick in civilised and democratic countries.

    To say the bible is gods word is saying that god is a petty, arrogant, bigoted and contradictory individual with all the wisdom of a ADHD 5 year old. You are of course entitled to believe that if you will, but it does make you somewhat appear to be rather foolish.

    But its all academic:- most people do not believe in your brand of religion, thankfully. The proof is in the rights that are being afford to all citizens of democratic Europe:- gay, skin colour, women, all irrelevant. Thankfully the dark days of theocracies are over in Europe, and not a moment too soon John.

  87. Will: we clearly see things a lot differently :-) and I suspect some of the Christians who share your views on homosexuality, that visit this site, will take issue with you.

    Re. what the Bible condones: help me out here – where does it condone incest and rape (I recall once Iris pointing something out to me but when I checked a learned commentary it was not so)? As for slavery, I understand slavery was rife throughout the region at the time – where the Bible is revolutionary is in the way it treats slaves. As for killing witches and disobedient children, this was specifically applicable to the Israel theocracy at the time and was meant to demonstrate God’s holiness and his hatred of these things – to his chosen people.

    You seem to think that I pick and choose bits of the Bible that happen to fit my own views (and prejudices). Admitedly, sometimes Christians do this and shouldn’t. I have done and try not to. Gay sin no more interests me than hetero sin or more pertinently ignoring the plight of the poor. You’re right that some Christians wrongly do focus on homosexuality. Yet I can only believe what the Bible teaches and act acordingly. Picking and choosing bits that happen to be convenient is not my prerogative, and I hope I man enough when people do point out inconsistencies.

    You take exception at my expounding my views on homosexuality but realise I only do so when people like you press me after having condemned two perfectly good prospective foster parents for the peverse reason that they can’t say homosexuality is ok because of their honestly held beliefs. Maybe you need to change!?

    The god you describe is not one that I recognise – certainly not from the Bible! Sadly, the “dark days of theocracies” may soon about to be replaced by the dark days of secularism.

  88. John wrote
    “I suppose the main objection for you is not that I regard us all as being sinners (myself included of course) but that I don’t see homosexuality as being sanctioned in scripture and therefore a lifestyle I would encourage”

    John . . . you say a lot but actually say nothing of great importance.

    John . . . your reveal your ignorance and lack of education in your statement about homosexuality.

    John . . . homosexuality only came into existence as term in about 1897, and heterosexuality followed it a few years later. Before this time these words did not exist, because homosexuality and heterosexuality are modern terms borne out of medical and sexological discourse.

    John how is your . . . ”Fundamentalist Evangelical Plymouth Brethren ministry” ?

  89. John wrote
    “Will: we clearly see things a lot differently and I suspect some of the Christians who share your views on homosexuality, that visit this site, will take issue with you.”

    JohnK’s response
    John “Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians” are in a tiny minority in the UK, so if they do happen to visit this site and take issue with Will. . . John it is really not that important since your branch of Christianity is rather insignificant

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote
    “Re. what the Bible condones: help me out here – where does it condone incest and rape (I recall once Iris pointing something out to me but when I checked a learned commentary it was not so)?”

    JohnK’s response
    John . . . Adam and the Eve were the first humans according to the bible. We also know that Cain was the first born, and later killed his brother Abel before travelling east to marry a women and have children. John . . . it really does not take a genius to realise that this must be Cain’s sister, since Adam and Eve are the first humans. Moreover, all other earlier biblical relationship by logic must therefore be incestuous.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote
    “As for slavery, I understand slavery was rife throughout the region at the time – where the Bible is revolutionary is in the way it treats slaves.”

    JohnK’s response
    John it appears that you are trying to ignore the issue of “Job” and how God makes him his slave, and then subjects him to all manner of abuse and torture . . . what a sadistic, revengeful and wicked deity God reveals God’s self to be in God’s treatment of Job.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John Wrote
    “As for killing witches and disobedient children, this was specifically applicable to the Israel theocracy at the time and was meant to demonstrate God’s holiness and his hatred of these things – to his chosen people.”

    JohnK’s response
    John really . . . you appear so ignorant of even the most recent Church history, and the Christian treatment of Witches; drowning or burning them to death

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote
    “You seem to think that I pick and choose bits of the Bible that happen to fit my own views (and prejudices). Admitedly, sometimes Christians do this and shouldn’t. I have done and try not to.”

    JohnK’s response
    John . . . we have had lots of head to head battles on this site in the past, and from my experience this is exactly what you do . . . John you have developed this “Pick and Mix Biblical Queer Bashing” into an art form

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote
    “Gay sin no more interests me than hetero sin or more pertinently ignoring the plight of the poor. You’re right that some Christians wrongly do focus on homosexuality. Yet I can only believe what the Bible teaches and act acordingly. Picking and choosing bits that happen to be convenient is not my prerogative, and I hope I man enough when people do point out inconsistencies.”

    JohnK’s response
    John . . . when we have pointed out your inconsistencies you have often sulked, had a tantrum or disappeared for a few weeks; often to re-emerge under another pseudonym.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote
    “You take exception at my expounding my views on homosexuality but realise I only do so when people like you press me after having condemned two perfectly good prospective foster parents for the peverse reason that they can’t say homosexuality is ok because of their honestly held beliefs. Maybe you need to change!?”

    JohnK’s response
    John we understand that you are not going to change your beliefs on homosexuality. However . . . John you are mistaken if you think you can use this website to proselytize your homophobic twisted and perverse views.

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote
    “The god you describe is not one that I recognise – certainly not from the Bible! Sadly, the “dark days of theocracies” may soon about to be replaced by the dark days of secularism.”

    JohnK’s response
    John . . . the dark days of theocracies in which God tortured and abused Job are unacceptable in the 21st century.

    GOTCHA

    John . . . you reveal what a disturbed, hateful and wicked man your really are

  90. “Yet I can only believe what the Bible teaches and act accordingly”

    Then logically you must obey the entire bible. And if you do so, then you condone the acts I mentioned.

    And if you are unaware of the passages I refer to, I suggest you improve your bible studies. Let me enlighten you:-

    Deuteronomy 22:28-29 – “If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her”

    Indeed. What kind of lunatic would make a rape victim marry her attacker?

    Deuteronomy 21:10-14 – “When you go out to war against your enemies and the LORD, your God, delivers them into your hand, so that you take captives, if you see a comely woman among the captives and become so enamored of her that you wish to have her as wife, you may take her home to your house. But before she may live there, she must shave her head and pare her nails and lay aside her captive’s garb. After she has mourned her father and mother for a full month, you may have relations with her”

    Once again, the bible, approves of forcible rape. Delightful.

    Exodus 21:7-11 – “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she will not be freed at the end of six years as the men are. If she does not please the man who bought her, he may allow her to be bought back again.”

    Zechariah 14:1-2 – “Lo, a day shall come for the Lord when the spoils shall be divided in your midst. And I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem for battle: the city shall be taken, houses plundered, women ravished”

    There’s more, much more, of course, but I think I’ve made my point.

    As for incest, even an idiot can see the Adam and Eve story is incest. But if you DON’T believe in Adam and Eve story (which to an sane halfwit, is noting more then a story), then you are going back to my earlier pint, you select the passages of the bible that suit you.

    Here’s another:

    Genesis 19:30-38 – “So both of Lot’s daughters became pregnant by their father.”

    Hmmmm. Sounds sick to me. But you clearly support this, as a someone who follows the bible as god’s word?

    “You take exception at my expounding my views on homosexuality”

    I take issue with your stupidity. Apologies, but I have to call it like it is. You are told repeatedly, by scientific sources and just about every gay person on the planet, that we we do not “live a lifestyle” and we are born gay. You refuse to accept this. You separate homosexuality from “practice” (a really stupid word for something which is a loving act), when no separation exists. You ignore the fact homosexual people are capable of loving relationships, and yet you seem to prefer to refer to it as some thing related to “practising”. This is stupidity, nothing less. Quite frankly, I wonder where the intellect stops when you become a slave to such medieval dogma.

    “As for killing witches and disobedient children, this was specifically applicable to the Israel theocracy at the time and was meant to demonstrate God’s holiness and his hatred of these things – to his chosen people”

    LOL! Convenient!!! Then given this logic, clearly the passages about homosexuality were about another time and not relevant to today or my own loving relationship. Clearly god was referring to someone else in the past.

    Thank you for so clearly and blatantly PROVING my point on selective bible interpretation. Anything that you want to dismiss, its “specifically applicable to the Israel theocracy”.

    Do you even hear yourself?!?!?!?

    “Maybe you need to change!?”

    No. I don’t. You need more education, it seems. These so-called foster parents are anything but.

    I assume you’d let a racist foster black kids then? Well does the bible not refer to black people as having the “mark of cain”? Slavery is very clearly supported and condoned. So “christian beliefs” that are “traditional” include a view that black people are “cursed”. Is this acceptable?

    I should think not.

    “The god you describe is not one that I recognise – certainly not from the Bible!”

    Then you don’t know your bible, so please do not quote what you do not understand.

    “Sadly, the “dark days of theocracies” may soon about to be replaced by the dark days of secularism”

    Delighted to see it!!! Superstitious and poorly informed individuals like you John (no offensive intended, but it happens to be the truth from you own postings) have had their day, and it resulted in the Dark Ages, burning of innocent people as witches, and most recently the suicide of gay teenagers….

    …and what’s worse, you contribute to this atmosphere that causes children to take their own lives in such tragic circumstances. You may chose to ignore that reality, but it is the case. You’re preaching hate on a gay site for heavens sake!

    THIS is why these people cannot foster! And if you cannot see that, then I pity you John, for you’re most certainly intellectually blind. But whether you like it or not, thankfully most people think like we do, for the good of the children.

    And these backward people will fail in their attempts.

    And I welcome it as progress.

  91. Will, great post. Puts things in perspective nicely. Whats astounding is the reluctance and down right stubbornness of these Christians (whom I see Christian in name only) to come onto a gay site like this, a supposedly a safe environment for gay people, and steadfastly deny the blatant contradictions of the bible like you pointed out.

    Your line “and what’s worse, you contribute to this atmosphere that causes children to take their own lives in such tragic circumstances. You may chose to ignore that reality, but it is the case. You’re preaching hate on a gay site for heavens sake!”

    This is so very true alas. We need to stand up to people like John and others that spread this “sinful” rhetoric and cause such untold suffering not only on gay youths, but to the parents and families of gay teenagers tragically lost to suicide. People like John here need to recognise the damage they do, and how unChristian this damage is. Of course, they won’t. Like the enlightened Clint McCance in the US, he thinks its Christian to call for the death of all gay children. If this is Christianity in the modern age, I want nothing to do with it. And nor should any civilised individual.

  92. Hi John – thank you for returning to answer the points put to you :D I’ve returned to this debate a bit late (I admit I thought you wouldn’t come back) so I won’t repeat what’s already been said above. But I would like to respond to the quote you posted from your friend in #83. Thank you for that. As I’ve said before, simply being Christian is no bar from fostering and nor should it be. This couple weren’t banned because they were Christian. It was because they felt unable to comply with the council’s rules. Your friend seems like an example of a reasonable and thoughtful Christian and reminds me of many of my friends who are Christian (yes, lots of them are! mainly C of E but some Catholics too). The fact that your friend was approved as a foster-carer proves that Christians are NOT being discriminated against. As for everyone else, each case needs to be looked at individually. There is no single correct version of a foster-carer.

    Will in #90 covered so much of what I wanted to say and very skilfully so I don’t want to waste time repeating all the points. However, I would ask two questions of you, if I may:

    1) If a couple were to say that their Christian beliefs meant they couldn’t say that being black was OK, should they be allowed to foster children?

    2) This is a genuine question – not trying to be mean or catch you out – how do you reconcile the ‘bad’ parts of the Bible, some of which Will has mentioned above, with your belief that the Bible is ‘all true’ and must be obeyed? Do you not see the contradictions in saying that one part, which seems unacceptable today, was just ‘of its time’, and another part, which you agree with, should be wholly relevant to life in the 21st century?

    Finally, “dark days of secularism” – I admit I’m looking forward to the growth of secularism now. I didn’t used to care about other people’s religious beliefs. People tended to keep them to themselves and not try to inflict them on me or use them to criticise me or to promote hate (sorry, but that’s how I see it). However, it seems like some religions can’t do that now, so if we need ‘sanctions’ to keep religious belief out of public life then so be it. I know you worry that Christians will be marginalised but they’d still be free to believe what they want, and – quite frankly – they’ve brought this on themselves. You’ve condemned the fundie hate-mongers and I thank you for that, but you and people like you should have acted sooner. Such people will, and are, destroying Christian belief all by themselves. The more they shout, the more they turn people off. They can blame gay people all they want, but the real authors of Christianity’s demise will be ‘christians’ themselves.

  93. Will: thank you for your reply. I asked you to clarify your earlier points and you have, so thanks. Re. the specific texts you cite, some are easier to respond to than others but I will not do so now because I need to first understand better the language and context. If you like, I will do my research and come back when I have. I say this because I give you the benefit of the doubt as being one prepared to listen to reasoned argument although, sadly, too few such folk exist, irrespective of religious views. Also bear in mind there often is no easy answers and my finite mind can hardly begin to scratch the surface of the mysteries of an infinite God. For example, I still await a fully satisfactory answer to the question: “why do the innocent suffer”? And if you think us religious types have problems, you secularists have even bigger challenges. You live as if life is meaningful, but how can that be given everything around you is the product of blind chance? As for me, while I respect reason and love scientific enquiry, I also put my faith in God. And while in principle I must obey the whole Bible, not everything is applicable. For example, I don’t sacrifice animals or obey the food laws because of the new covenant in Jesus blood.

    Re. whether gay folk are born gay, I have come to a view that this might sometimes be so (despite some “fundies” saying this is not the case). I am open on this question; I am not yet sure. However, being gay and practising gay sex are not synonymous (which according to the Bible is anyway not permissible), just as practising straight sex is only permissible within marriage. Practising witchcraft and children dishonouring their parents, just like homosexual practise, is forbidden and is a timeless principle, while the punishment may change according to setting. I see no contradiction. Re. race, I see no discrimination other than God setting his special favour on Israel. Slavery is reluctantly sanctioned for the Israelites (it was as I said the norm throughout the known world at the time) but, as far as the Bible is concerned, with enormous safeguards that modern slavery (not sanctioned) chooses to ignore. The more recent burning of witches and treating gay teenagers with anything other than compassion and understanding is something I strongly reject. There is no evidence that Christians who act in this way are at all culpable in these tragic deaths. As for preaching hate, nowhere and at no time have I done so; I have merely respectfully contributed to the debate.

    Btw, may I ask you a personal question (answer only if you feel happy to do so): you have shown in these forums a remarkable knowledge of theology and matters to do with the church – do you have a strong religious background and if so please describe it and say how you have come to reject it?

    Rob: I honestly don’t wish to cause you offence unduly. As I have said before, I am happy to keep out of this haven for gay folk EXCEPT that people have asked me to respond, which I try to do honestly and with sensitivity. Don’t you think we need to be taken outside of our comfort zones sometimes? If there were a Christian counterpart that discusses the sort of questions raised in Pink News, I for one would be happy for the likes of Will and Iris to contribute. Also please show a bit of integrity when you say: “he thinks its Christian to call for the death of all gay children”. Read my earlier post – I am horrified at Mr McCance’s comments on the subject.

    Iris: Fyi, my friend, who you kindly referred to (and I agree with your observations), also (wisely imho) wrote: “Regarding the specific case in the news, it’s difficult to comment because we don’t really know the facts. Are the couple allowing their beliefs to result in discriminatory practices such as refusing to care for confused or gay youngsters? Is there an over-zealous social worker or panel member with prejudiced views against the couple and a political agenda in the department? Who knows? We are only fed what the press want us to know!” We await with interest, but maybe with different hopes and expectations, the High Court judgement.

    Regarding your two questions. Firstly, I don’t believe a person who says being black is NOT OK should be allowed to foster children (because that really is bigotry as it is something black children have no control over) and, while you didn’t ask the question, the same goes if you were to substitute GAY for BLACK. My contention is that GAY relationships (specifically sexual ones) are NOT ok. Secondly, re the contradictions, I have begun to address this in my reply to Will yet confess there is much I still don’t know. It is clear that some aspects of the Bible apply to a specific time / place / setting e.g. a theocratic Israel practising ritualistic religion. Usually, it is also clear what is applicable for us now and to our shame we (Christians) do not always live up to what we should be – maybe the biggest reason why people reject Christianity – but then again I preach its message because it is true, not because I am a particularly good example (because I’m not).

    I can’t speak for all Christians (far from it) and while I shudder at the enormity of bogus religion, and pay the price when I do speak against it, there is a limit to what I can do. As I see it, my first duty / priority is to love God and serve him. My second is to be obedient to Gods word, primarily contained in the scriptures (Bible). My third is to love and support my family e.g. wife, children, other relatives. My fourth is to love and serve his particular treasures: the Church (all true believers ie nothing to do with buildings etc.) and Israel. My fifth is to love a world that desperately needs the gospel of Christ’s saving grace, but includes serving the weak, poor, vulnerable, marginalised etc. and just maybe focus a bit more on doing than saying!

  94. John wrote – (thread 83)
    “Now that I am involved with training foster carers and serve as a panel member, I have to promote anti-discriminatory practice, equal opportunities etc”

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John . . . I think the foster care agency you work for would be very interested in your personal conduct on pink news, and how your commitment to equal opportunities is clearly a facade because of:
    1. The homophobic views that you express on this site
    2. How you come onto these threads to harass LGBT people.
    3. How you come onto these threads to obsessively proselytize your evangelical fundamentalist Christian views.

    Moreover, you are clearly unsuitable to be working with vulnerable children or young adolescents.

  95. “My contention is that GAY relationships (specifically sexual ones) are NOT ok.”

    So one can be gay yet not be permitted to enjoy a loving relationship? That’s not morally right, John. It’s no more right than this:

    “”Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races show that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

    That was the opinion of a judge in the Loving v Virginia interracial marriage case. So he’s saying that it’s OK to be black but you can’t marry or have a physical relationship with a white person and, moreover, that’s the way God wants it.

    The interracial couple in that case were eventually allowed to marry, and here’s what the wife, Mildred Loving, said regarding gay people:

    “My generation was bitterly divided over something that should have been so clear and right. The majority believed that what the judge said, that it was God’s plan to keep people apart, and that government should discriminate against people in love. But I have lived long enough now to see big changes. The older generation’s fears and prejudices have given way, and today’s young people realize that if someone loves someone they have a right to marry…..I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people’s religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people’s civil rights.”

    Pretty clear message there.

    I know we disagree about what precisely the Bible says regarding gay sex, but I can’t understand why. To me, it’s clear. The Bible does NOT condemn loving, consensual same sex relationships. It condemns same sex temple prostitution and same sex prostitution. To say that it then follows that god condemns same sex relationships full stop would be like me saying that the prohibitions against adultery meant that god condemned straight people full stop. I know I keep coming back to this, but this fallacy should be exposed. It is quite simply incorrect to say that God condemns homosexuality per se.

    And as it’s bigotry to say it’s not OK to be black because that’s something people have no control over, it’s also bigotry to say it’s wrong to be gay for the same reason. By all means say that gay people would be better served by a certain kind of sexual behaviour in the same way that you think it’s wrong to have sex outside of marriage. I don’t personally agree with that, but it’s OK to say and isn’t discriminatory, because I know you would apply that to everyone regardless of gender, sexuality, race etc. But that would be advice I couldn’t follow because I’m not allowed to marry my girlfriend…

    I do appreciate your willingness to answer questions and engage in a proper and thoughtful discussion. :)

  96. “do you have a strong religious background and if so please describe it and say how you have come to reject it?”

    No, I’m a scientist. So I am trained in empiricism and to think for myself rationally, even when I do not have the answers. The bible is fascinating in that it is anything BUT empirical or rational. Honestly, and with no disrespect to people who have a belief (once that belief hinders no one), I believe they are people who refuse to seek the truth of the world around them, because they are happy for dogma to answer their questions, not matter how corrupt, contradictory, and foolish that dogma is. Its a tragedy of humanity, to be honest, and so much suffering is caused by this kind of insular belief.

    “My contention is that GAY relationships (specifically sexual ones) are NOT ok.”

    This statement is a contraction to your earlier comment that its not okay to be racist. Its the same thing. Its one face of the same coin. Pity you can’t see that. But back to the point, some Christians DO believe they have a god given right to be racist. Or to uphold Anti-Semitic ideals. And we all know what tragedy that led to, in the name of a christian god. An anti-gay stance is no different. This is the tragedy of your stance, you cannot see the difference. All three are condemned in the bible, yet you focus only on the gay one. And while I’m sure you’ll protest beyond belief at this, but homophobia has been clearly proven to be linked more strongly to those with homosexual “tenancies”. Disagree if you will, but the facts and figures back this up. Logically, there is no reason to manifest a hatred or “moral” dislike to gay people, the bible has already been proven to be contradictory, and hence is proven to be no proof of any such stance.

    But John, you will find no converts here. Its the result of discrimination by people like you and your kind (in various shades, but the same ilk none the less) that have helped gay people, to the most part, to see beyond the prejudice and persecution of religion and open their mind to see the bigotry of people who oppress and think they have a god given right to condemn.

    Sadly, the only thing worse then a bigot, is a bigot that thinks his/her prejudice is a god given right. This is the truth you should be hearing.

  97. Will wrote
    “But John, you will find no converts here. Its the result of discrimination by people like you and your kind (in various shades, . . . ”

    John . . . I really think the foster agency you work for, should know about the prejudice and discrimatory attitudes your continue to direct at LGBTs people via these threads.

  98. “because that really is bigotry as it is something black children have no control over”

    And gay kids do?????????? Hello???? Is there something mentally wrong with you John? It goes back to Will’s well made point that people like you ARE indirectly responsible for the recent suicides of gay teenagers becuase of your stupid belief that being gay is some ridiculous lifestyle “choice”. Despite all the facts to the contrary. When one is shown the relaity about gay people being born that way, but refuse to accept it and stick with a tired old dis-proven stance of “lifestyle choice”, then that person is a bigot plain and simple – there is no two ways about it John.

    To the others here, Iris, John K and Will, this man is not any different from the other fundies we get here, he just disguises it better under nice tones. He still drives the ludicrous selective bigotry of “bible law”, and all the while ignoring the contradictions put to him as something not relevant to the present or he simply ignores them. Thankfully for him, we live in a democracy that respects all individuals, including his insane moral standing on gay people. However, he needs to grow up and realise to persecute others is NOT ACCEPTABLE in a civilised and democratic society. John wants HIS “freedoms” but not willing to give them to others it seems – very Unchristian.

    To Iris & Will: great posts! Really very insightful. Wasted on John as he’s incapable of change but you certainly convinced me! Is it any wonder the followers of Christianity in the UK and the western world is becoming a species under threat of extinction?

    To John: “A wise man changes his mind, a fool never” ~ Spanish Proverb

  99. Brilliant proverb, Rob!

    John, you say that life would be meaningless without faith, but it’s not. I’d say my life was actually more meaningful not less.

  100. “John, you say that life would be meaningless without faith, but it’s not. I’d say my life was actually more meaningful not less.”

    I agree with you Iris, I do not have faith in any organised religious way, but my life is far from lacking. Like you, I have a very loving partner and a good life that can give me little to complain about. I am also thankful for the intellect I was born with to see past cave-dwelling superstitions that impede the progress of humanity and equality of every individual. John believes a fallacy if he thinks we’re all lost in some proverbial wilderness. In fact, its HE who has MY pity, to live in a world that hold such fascination for those with a mind to learn – instead he choses to limit himself to a self imposed and narrow “truth” preached by a book full of stories about 6,000 year old earth lauded over by a god who smites anyone who looks at a burning bush sideways or have a conversation about the price of apples with a passing snake. I mean seriously, its as tragic as it is insane.

    Rob, agreed, great quote. And very true.

  101. To John: “A wise man changes his mind, a fool never” ~ Spanish Proverb

    To Rob: 3000 years earlier, the wisest man who ever lived (King Solomon) wrote: “Reprove not a scorner, lest he hate thee: rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Proverbs 9v8-10 (AV)

    Not that I am trying to cherry pick of course from what seems a discredited book to some but we can all learn don’t you think?

    Iris, Will: thank you for your comments. These are all noted. I still feel happy with what I wrote and don’t see condradictions although it may not seem like that to you and, more importantly, I really don’t wish to offend or disrespect you. I won’t be responding further unless you would particularly like me to.

    JohnK: I’m not under obligation to reply to anyone, especially when their intent is evidently malicious and mischievious. Fyi: I am not involved in fostering (you would have realised that if you read what I wrote more carefully) and, if I were, you would be the last person I would tell – and re. other misconceptions, I have indeed posted under other names but only because there is a another John who also posts – I hadn’t wanted to confuse matters.

  102. John, was that the Solomon who had 700 wives? ;)

    And no worries – I don’t find you disrespectful. You speak your mind honestly and courteously and are brave enough to respond to comments that question you.

  103. Iris: the very same man (and don’t forget the 300 concubines)! Wise as he was, there was something seriously missing in his life; I doubt if he really found much more than a snippet of true love – his Song of Songs says how it could / should be (and I wouldn’t want to begrudge anyone that) – my favorite book in the Bible. The tragedy was that in later life his wives led him astray, eventually losing him his kingdom and lots more.

    Really, I’ve enjoyed our exchanges and admired your passion. I fear I may not have put my case as well as I would have liked or responded to others as I well as I could have. I wonder too if I have been as wise as I ought. Whatever I have said to you, and however harsh (or foolish) my words have come over, I’m pretty sure you are a lovely lady, who I would be privileged to regard as a friend if we ever did meet. Best wishes :-)

  104. I was tactfully not mentioning the concubines, John ;) But even the bit about Solomon being led astray later in life is debatable, isn’t it? Not according to the Bible, of course, but in Islam. When I would have called myself a fairly nominal Christian, I didn’t defer to contradictory texts and take every word of the Bible to be true. That way lies madness! :D We must all live our lives the best we can and whether you take that ‘decency’ impulse to come from God (maybe even fear of God) or general human feelings like empathy, kindness and love, doesn’t matter. But I do get sad when religions breed hate. That’s not right by anyone’s measure – divine or otherwise.

    Best wishes to you :)

  105. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding”

    I’m sorry, John, like most grown up’s and those with education, I fear nothing that is imaginary:- santa, the tooth fairy, bogey men. . . and god’s.

    I no more fear your god than I would Zeus, Thor or Krishna. The only thing we have to fear is ignorance and prejudice, and time and time again history has clearly shown us where that tragically leads.

    This is an enlightened age, but some like John, seek the cover of shade becuase its too bright for you. Its is not my intention to offend, but fear your sun-gods and his wrathful ways if you want John, but please never assume others are as foolish.

  106. Iris: I know I said I would make a graceful exit from this thread but I am tempted back especially when I read replies like yours. I hadn’t realised that the Qur’an points out that Solomon remembered God forever, which is not what the Hebrew Bible says. Of course this may not might seem irrelevant to the original topic other than illustrate the significant differences among religious people. Also, I liked what you said and entirely agree.

    Sadly, this forum is not always the best place to hold a calm, reasoned, respectful discussion, although it may be the best we have for now. My perception is that, unlike with people like me, someone like you is completely acceptable because you echo the views of the majority and do so in such a clear and winsome way (too winsome some might say for giving us traditionally minded Christians the time of the day). While there has been some positives and some good points made, I have seen in these forums more vitriol, bating “the opposition”, bigotry, mischief making, inclination to twist statements and present bogus arguments, than I have in any Christian site I know of, and frankly that saddens me because it need not be so!

  107. “and frankly that saddens me because it need not be so!”

    Well, easily remediable:- we’ll persecute you, deny you’re right to be who you are and who your are with, bully you until you take you life, call your a “sinner” and say what you are is a choice despite what you nature tells you, we’ll throw rocks and wave placards at your peaceful march for equality, we’ll tie you up to a fence and leave you to die…..

    …..then maybe you’ll understand the reasons we’re angry at your kind of condescension and oppression.

  108. John wrote
    “JohnK: I’m not under obligation to reply to anyone, especially when their intent is evidently malicious and mischievious.”

    John . . . it takes one to know one
    John . . . lets look at your malicious and mischievous activities.
    John . . . you have already admitted to using multiple names.

  109. Rob, while I do not agree with absolutely everything you said, your last post was very poignant, and well made – I read it three times :) Since we’re all in the proverb mode today for some reason, your point is covered by this idiom: “Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”

    If these religious extremists had to live the life we do and can still come out the other end with their heads held high as we do, they might think twice before using quotes from a disproven and contradictory book silly stories to condemn and oppress others.

  110. Rob wrote
    “To the others here, Iris, John K and Will, this man is not any different from the other fundies we get here, he just disguises it better under nice tones.”

    Rob I so agree with your observation.

    Rob . . . The fact that John thinks he can disguise it, do you not think points to how deluded and desperate John is ?

  111. Rob, too right…

    John, I know you’ll say that you don’t condone violence towards gay people, but I hope you understand that the constant avowal of the Church that gay people are sinners/depraved/damned to hell etc etc is the main reason that people feel justified in treating them like second-class citizens, abusing them verbally and physically, and fearing them as some kind of ‘evil influence’ or threat. Yes, it takes a weak man or woman to let themselves be led in that way, and yes, some people are homophobic for other reasons, but religious homophobia – Bishops coming out with cr*p about me and every other LGBT person being “intrinsically disordered” – gives real public validity to hatred of gay people. It sanctions homophobia, it encourages it and it makes excuses for it.

    My turn for quotes now – two because I love quotes! Firstly, from the Roman writer, Lucretius:

    “Fear is the mother of all gods”.

    and secondly, from Nietsche:

    “‘Faith’ means not wanting to know what is true”.

    No disrespect meant – just food for thought.

  112. Sorry – ‘Nietzsche’ of course!

  113. Regarding the recent quotes, I like Will’s one best (particularly poingnant in the work I do with homeless folk and asylum seekers). I agree we should be careful not to judge, particularly “until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes”, yet I wonder why it is, if that is the case, as is evident in this thread, that folk are so quick to judge Christians who, like me, hold traditional beliefs?

    I am really sorry at the awful way gay folk have been treated (past, present and future) and the part that religion has played. While I understand that a person’s beliefs may be a factor, I cannot apologise for believing what I do believe or take responsibility for the action of religious bigots. I can (and do), however, apologise for not practising those beliefs consistently, such as loving my neighbour (whether gay or straight) as myself. I think, this is what some who have argued against me have failed to see (often not their fault), and that does grieve me.

    I think there is more than an element of truth in Iris’s first (Lucretius) quote but I disagree (in part at least) with her second (Nietzsche) quote. While, for some, faith does mean not wanting to know what is true, for others, including myself and many I associate with, faith is the very spur for seeking out what is true.

    Since coming to these forums, I have learnt a lot about the issues and concerns (and hurts) of gay folk. I am glad I have and, to reiterate, regret when wrongs have been perpetrated. My motivation has not been to condemn gay folk, or to convert, dishonour or antagonise them, but rather to understand truth and challenge error, especially when some of the people I care about are being vilified unjustly and through ignorance and hatred.

  114. Fair comment, John. And if you seek out truth then I’m more than happy. Your beliefs are always respected by me even if I might take issue with them because you’re entitled to believe what you choose as are we all. I hope you understand that some comments may have been aimed at a particular kind of Christian and you just took the flak because you were here.

    Anyway, courteous discussions are always good because we can learn more about each other and begin to understand even if we don’t always agree :)

  115. @84 Belated reply to Spanner.
    This conversation still going?
    V’eith zakhar lo thish’kav mish’k'veiy ishah toeivah hi
    “And male not shall lay in beds of woman abhorrence it”
    I think some creative translators have tried their very best to make this a into a clear condemnation of homosexuality but when translated word for word from the earliest text it is not clear what is being said at all, the original words “men should not lie in beds of women etc” sounds more like a condemnation of heterosexuality.

  116. Rob wrote

    “To the others here, Iris, John K and Will, this man is not any different from the other fundies we get here, he just disguises it better under nice tones.”

    Is Rob correct ?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote – Thread 25
    “correct me if i’m wrong Iris but there is no evidence that this couple has made any racist or homophobic comments. neither is there evidence this couple is intolerant of those who believe different to them (definition of bigotry). the article states (I believe correctly) “that a fostering panel had rejected them because of their views”, which I understand to be traditional ones regarding sexual ethics. it is a sad day when people can be penalised for having views that don’t match with that of a powerful and misguided elite or children who need a good home miss out because of an obsession with political correctness.”

    JohnK’s – comments
    The facts of the case . . . The Christian couple argued that they would refuse to tell any child that it would be ok to be homosexual, and so the council turned down their application to foster children.

    1.John says this is not homophobic, but an obsession with political correctness.

    2.John is arguing by implication, that any child who does not have his/her sexual identity validity by his/her parents; is not at risk from psychological damage or at a higher risk of suicide than a heterosexual child

    Is John correct ? . . .

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote – Thread 52
    “Finally, I tried earlier to respond to your “f****** disgusting” remark that began the first of of two threads concerning the US school administrator that made those inappropriate comments relating to a recent spate of suicides by gay youngsters. Strangely, the system didn’t let me in and I thought maybe I had been banned. What I wanted to say was … firstly I share your anger (those comments were uncalled for and wrong), secondly: I am deeply saddened by these tragic deaths and thirdly: I am keen to build bridges with gay folks and, while we will strongly disagree on some issues, hope we can work together to make a society that is more tolerant, kind to and supportive of gay folk.”

    JohnK’s – comments
    John says that he strongly disagrees with gay people on some issues. From the example above it is clear that John does not regard homosexuality as a vailid sexual oreitation, hence his assertion that the Christian couple should not have been turned down for expressing their views that homosexuality is wrong

    John says the following:
    1. He is keen to build bridges with gay people

    2. He wants to work together with gay people to build a more tolerant society

    3. He wants a society which is kind and supportive of gay folk
    How could John really support these ideals when he views homosexuality as always is wrong

    Is this a case of inconsistency or insincerity?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote – Thread 61
    “Nathan: you articulate your points very well. I can’t speak for Muslims of course and, come to that, most Christians. I don’t believe being deeply religious and deeply homophobic necessarily go hand in hand, although I accept that regretably it does too often. I don’t purport to have a direct line to God other than by prayer but I do try to be faithful to his revealed will as contained in the scriptures. My reading is we are all sinners and, as I have stated in these forums before, – living a homosexual lifestyle is no worse than heterosexual couples having sex outside marriage, our ignoring the plight of the poor and numerous other wrongs we are all susceptible to … but sin is still sin … and more importantly there is the prospect of redemption!”

    JohnK’s – comments
    John argues that being deeply religious and deeply homophobic do not necessarily go hand in hand. John then goes onto say that living a homosexual lifestyle is no worse than heterosexual couples having sex outside marriage, but John then says that sin is sin and gay people need to be redeemed.

    Is this not perverse?

    1. John is keen to build bridges with gay people – but calls their loving relationships “Lifestyle choices”

    2. John wants to work together with gay people to build a more tolerant society – but calls gay people s relationships sinful.

    3. John wants a society which is kind and supportive of gay folk – but argues that gay people need to be redeemed from their sexual orientation

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote – Thread 85
    I am not racist or homophobic and would seek never to discriminate on the grounds of: age, gender, religion, race, disability or sexual orientation. As I have said several times before: the Bible ONLY commends heterosexual behaviour and even if it does not condemn homosexual behaviour, there are imho several passages where it is a least antipathetic.

    JohnK’s – comments
    John claims not to be homophobic,

    John argues that he only commends heterosexual relationships

    If John is not homophobic, is he heterosexist ?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote – Thread 88
    Now that I am involved with training foster carers and serve as a panel member, I have to promote anti-discriminatory practice, equal opportunities etc – and am pleased to do so because it seems to me that Jesus did too. We have a gay couple going though training at the moment. I might not personally wish to live by their moral code and I see the practical problems for fostering (such as the child being bullied by their peers because they live with a gay couple) but in terms of their ability to care for a child, I can no more discriminate against them because of their sexual practices than I can discriminate against a straight couple who had sex before marriage – both are legal in our society even if I can see that they fall short of God’s ideal! As long as the couple satisfy all the requirements to give safe, secure, quality care then it’s not for me to draw the line so that some sinners are acceptable and some are not. We live in a fallen society and I would have to leave the planet if I could only operate in a society whose laws exactly coincided with God’s standards!”

    JohnK’s – comments
    John at first appears noble when he says that he would not want to discriminate against gay people because of their sexual practices, and that he claims to have been instrumental in allowing a gay couple go through adoption training.

    But does John really implement an equality of opportunities policy in thought word and deed.

    Johns “Deeds” – John appears to be instrumental in allowing gays to train as adoption parents

    Johns “Words” – John uses this site to argue that gays are sinful

    Johns “Thought” – John thinks gay relationships do not match up to Gods standards

    Are John’s “Deeds” really sincere?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    John wrote – Thread 87
    You seem to think that I pick and choose bits of the Bible that happen to fit my own views (and prejudices). Admitedly, sometimes Christians do this and shouldn’t. I have done and try not to. Gay sin no more interests me than hetero sin or more pertinently ignoring the plight of the poor. You’re right that some Christians wrongly do focus on homosexuality. Yet I can only believe what the Bible teaches and act acordingly. Picking and choosing bits that happen to be convenient is not my prerogative, and I hope I man enough when people do point out inconsistencies.
    You take exception at my expounding my views on homosexuality but realise I only do so when people like you press me after having condemned two perfectly good prospective foster parents for the peverse reason that they can’t say homosexuality is ok because of their honestly held beliefs. Maybe you need to change!?

    JohnK’s – comments
    John claims that gay sin no more interests him than heterosexual sin.

    John argues that some Christians wrongly focus on homosexuality.

    John then argues that the Christian couples focus on homosexuality was justified.

    In the previous paragraph John mentioned “I hope I man enough when people do point out inconsistencies.”
    Is John man enough?

    . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

    Thread 113 – John wrote
    “Since coming to these forums, I have learnt a lot about the issues and concerns (and hurts) of gay folk. I am glad I have and, to reiterate, regret when wrongs have been perpetrated. My motivation has not been to condemn gay folk, or to convert, dishonour or antagonise them, but rather to understand truth and challenge error, especially when some of the people I care about are being vilified unjustly and through ignorance and hatred.”

    JohnK’s – comments
    John argues that his motivation has not been to condemn, convert, dishonour or antagonise gay people !

    Is this true?

    CONDEMN
    *Thread 25 – John believes it is right to condemn gay children to psychological problems and even suicide

    *Thread 52 – John views highlight how he condemns homosexuality as always wrong

    *Thread 61 – John condemns gay peoples loving relationships as sinful

    CONVERT
    *Thread 61 – John believes gay people need to be redeemed from their sexual orientation to be right in God view.

    DISHONOUR
    *Thread 61 – John insults gay people by referring to their loving relationships as “Lifestyle choices”

    *Thread 88 – John insults gay people by arguing that gay relationships do not match up to Gods standards

    *Thread 85 – John dishonours gay people by arguing that he only commends heterosexual relationships

    Do you feel antagonised by Johns ministry on this thread ?

  117. In refusing to tell a foster child that it is okay to be gay Eunice and Owen John would as foster parents be committing an act of civil disobedience by refusing to abide by civil law.
    It would not simply be a matter of religious conscience but rather it would be a criminal matter.

  118. And it means that they would be placing more importance on their own beliefs than the needs of the child, Pavlos. For that reason they shouldn’t be allowed to foster. John already agreed that a couple who said that it wasn’t OK to be black shouldn’t be allowed to foster, and this is exactly the same. But John can’t (can’t not won’t, I think) admit that and I have no idea why. Why would anyone want to cling to a FALSE interpretation of the Bible? The same goes for this couple too. The Bible does NOT condemn gay relationships so why would anyone want to keep on believing that it did against all evidence? That was the main reason I put the Nietzsche quote above.

    JohnK, I don’t feel antagonised just very, very frustrated. I sincerely don’t understand why John keeps coming back to the ‘homosexuality is sin’ argument when it’s clearly incorrect. It’s that ‘belief’ that irks me most not the general Christian ones. If I were to believe that clouds are made of cottonwool, I might be entitled to think that, but that’s not a ‘belief’ it’s a factual mistake and I, thinking that, shouldn’t be entitled to special treatment because of my ‘belief’ – especially if I then insisted that my ‘belief’ meant I had to act in certain ways and so I couldn’t obey the law and was to be given a special opt-out.

  119. “I sincerely don’t understand why John keeps coming back to the ‘homosexuality is sin’ argument when it’s clearly incorrect.”
    Why does he keep coming back to homosexuality as a sin? . . .
    In a sense John’s ruminations appear to highlight a siege mentality in relation to this issue. By ignoring his own inconsistencies, by claiming that we are twisting things; he appears to be trying to preserve the purity of his cherished beliefs. However, he also in doing so makes the gross error of misunderstand the dynamic nature of our evolving understanding of the ineffable, the sublime or call it . . . Gods Majesty (If there is such a thing)

  120. Iris

    John was flushed out on another thread, when he was exposed as a Plymouth Breathren ministry living in Essex, who had also mentioned having sexual feelings for men.

    In a nutshell a FECC . . . Fundamentalist Evangelical Christian Crackpot

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