Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Cameron backs High Court foster carers judgement

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It's interesting to note that the Prime Minister expressed his support for the position taken by the High Court last week in relation to Derby City Council's wish to turn down as foster carers Owen and Eunice Johns, a Pentecostal Christian Couple with strong views on homosexuality. The court judged that it would be legal for the council to reject the couple if they applied to become carer, and David Cameron was asked about the case during a visit to Derby yesterday. "This matter was decided by a court in the appropriate way, Cameron said, "and I think we should rest with the judgement that was made." On the subject of whether Christianity is compatible with tolerance of homosexuality the Prime Minister, who pointed out that he is a church-goer, added: "I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad minded."

If the conservative Christian groups that throw their weight behind cases such as this had hoped that a Conservative-led government might prove sympathetic to their cause, Cameron's words will come as a disappointment. The Christian Institute, for their part, are unhappy, with their spokesman, Mike Judge, saying:
“The Prime Minister has waded in on one side of a deeply controversial case, and suggested that Christians who share the Johns’ beliefs are automatically intolerant, unwelcoming and narrow-minded. One can disagree with homosexual behaviour without harbouring any hostility to homosexual individuals. Disagreement is not hatred. The remark will disappoint millions of orthodox Christians who hold the same views as the Johns. They will be surprised that the Prime Minister has taken a swipe at them for believing that sex is only for marriage.”
From the secular perspective, on the other hand, it is encouraging to see that the Prime Minister is unsupportive of the efforts of socially-conservative Christians, spearheaded by the Christian Legal Centre, to secure exemptions from equality legislation and claim Christians are being persecuted by laws which prevent them from citing their beliefs in order to discriminate on the basis of sexuality.

We discuss this issue with Naomi Phillips of the British Humanist Association in the latest New Humanist podcast, which you can listen to using the link below (or find other ways to download and listen here). Naomi joins us at 5:59.

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