Tuesday, March 01, 2011
Christian beliefs DO lose out to gay rights: British judges' ruling against devout foster couple
Christian beliefs an "infection"!
A Christian couple facing a foster parenting ban because of their views on homosexuality were told by a court yesterday that gay rights ‘should take precedence’ over their religious beliefs. Owen and Eunice Johns heard that their values could conflict with the local authority’s duty to ‘safeguard and promote the welfare’ of those in foster care.
The grandparents have already fostered 15 children and were praised by social workers as ‘kind and hospitable people’ who ‘respond sensitively’ to youngsters.
Outside court, Mr and Mrs Johns, aged 65 and 62, said they were ‘extremely distressed’ and had ‘only wanted to offer a loving home to a child in need’. They believe homosexuality is ‘against God’s law and morals’ – but said they are not homophobic and would ‘accept and love’ any child.
The Pentecostal Christians, who have been carers since 1992, had applied to Derby City Council in 2007 to restart fostering after a break.
But social workers raised concerns that their attitudes to homosexuality would conflict with the new Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.
The couple decided they were ‘doomed to failure’ and sought a clarification of the law over whether their religious beliefs excluded them from becoming foster carers.
Their case, heard last year, was supported by senior clergy including former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey who, in an open letter, warned that gay rights were taking precedence over the rights of others.
During the case, the Equality and Human Rights Commission argued that children risk being ‘infected’ by Christian moral views.
Yesterday the retired couple’s request for a ruling that faith should not be a bar to becoming a carer was denied at the High Court in London.
Their case was heard by one of the most senior members of the family court, Lord Justice Munby, who was sitting alongside Mr Justice Beeston. It was ruled that there was no discrimination against them as Christians but that their views on sexual morality may be ‘inimical’ – or harmful – to children. In that situation, they ruled: ‘The equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence.’
The Johnses are considering an appeal but campaigners fear the ruling will be used as a blueprint for other councils to stop devout Christians from becoming foster parents.
The couple, who have four grown-up children and six grandchildren, had applied to be respite carers offering short-term placements for children aged between five and ten. Mrs Johns, a retired nurse, said: ‘This is a sad day for Christianity. The judges have suggested that our views might harm children. We do not believe that this is so. We are prepared to love and accept any child.
‘All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing.’
She added that the couple have visited her nephew, who is gay, and his partner in San Francisco. Her husband added: ‘We wanted to offer love and stability and security to a vulnerable child. Eight-year-olds we have looked after want to play, not talk about their sexuality.’
Yesterday the council denied that it had sought to discriminate against Mr and Mrs Johns on the grounds of religious belief, but added that it ‘welcomes the judgment’.
Another false rape claim from Britain
A soldier's wife cried rape after her husband worked out their baby was conceived while he was thousands of miles away on the Helmand frontline. Samantha Morley told her partner Thomas she had been attacked while he was fighting in Afghanistan to cover up her infidelity. He went to police and the 24-year-old repeated her claims, leading to the arrest of two innocent men.
But after police questioning, the mother-of-three admitted the allegations were an elaborate lie to conceal her affair.
Yesterday she wept as she was jailed for 12 months for perverting the course of justice. Morley, nine weeks’ pregnant with her fourth child, will only serve six months and not have the baby behind bars.
Oxford Crown Court had previously heard that Mr Morley, then her fiancé, grew suspicious after working out the timings of the girl’s birth last May. When he confronted her in June, she claimed she had been raped during a drunken night out the previous summer.
The soldier in 23 Pioneer Regiment, based in Bicester, near Oxford, called police but as detectives delved deeper, they worked out she was lying. Despite the affair, Mr Morley stood by his fiancée and later married her.
Rachel Drake, prosecuting, said: ‘She said she had been out with her sister and they had been drinking. ‘She said she had been assaulted by a stranger in an alleyway and that she had picked up a small part of his name.’
Police visited the Morley home and took a statement during a two-hour interview. They estimated that more than 54 hours were spent investigating her claims.
DNA samples were taken from the couple and the baby. An e-fit picture was produced, which police thought matched the description of a local man. He was arrested and later released on police bail.
Morley then contacted the police and told them she had seen the rapist driving a blue Citroen Saxo car and officers were able to identify a second man.
Mrs Drake said: ‘He said he met her the summer before and they had a relationship. ‘He was able to point the police to computer records from Facebook that showed he had been in contact with Mrs Morley and was asked to resolve the paternity of her youngest child. ‘He thought the dates tallied with the time they spent together. He knew the defendant’s fiancé was away in Afghanistan when they conducted their liaison.’
Mrs Morley was arrested last July and initially insisted her allegation was true before realising how much officers knew.
Mrs Drake added that she had not expected her partner to call the police.
Morley kissed her husband as she entered the dock wearing a grey suit with her dark hair tied back yesterday. He has left the Army to care for their children while she is in prison.
Sophie Murray, defending, said Morley had been afraid of losing her husband and had not acted out of malice.
Judge Mary Jane Mowat said: ‘The result for the two men suspected of one of the worst crimes in our law was undeniable. ‘The more the public hears about false allegations the less likely they, and juries, are to believe the true ones.’
Australia: Men banned from dance event at Town Hall
A WOMEN-only dance party has seen a suburban council accused of being segregationist. The Dance Sister Dance at Brunswick Town Hall in Victoria has won a VCAT exemption from equal opportunity laws. The Moreland City Council dance is designed for cultural groups whose women would not take part if it involved men.
But Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis said Moreland was supporting segregation. "We have segregation in swimming pools, now we have segregation for dancing. Will the next step be buses only for various nationalities," Mr Davis said. Similar exemptions have been granted for councils to offer female-only swimming sessions at public pools.
VCAT member Anna Dea said the dance party was justified because Moreland council research showed many women and girls preferred to be active in a female-only environment. [What say I prefer to be active in a "whites only" environment? Would that be OK?]
"In addition, many newly arrived communities find it culturally inappropriate for young women to participate in physical activity with males present," Ms Dea's decision said. "Young women tend to be less confident dancing at mixed events and it is hoped this event will build confidence, raise self-esteem and develop skills."
The City of Moreland, which stretches from Fitzroy North to Glenroy, has a large migrant population, with about 8 per cent of residents Muslim. It offers a women's only program at the Brunswick City Baths.
Mayor Oscar Yildiz said it was important for the council to offer activities in appropriate settings. "This event encourages women and girls from all cultural backgrounds to become familiar with dancing and raise their skill and confidence," Cr Yildiz said.
John Roskam, head of free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, said the dance party issue wasn't as clear cut as women-only swimming sessions. "If it's encouraging people to participate in the community then that would have to be a good thing, " Mr Roskam said. "But the thing is, we can't be making a habit of it. "We want the genders to be mixing in society."
Australia: Personal responsibility upheld
This may help cut back the fashion for blaming everyone except the person responsible for mishaps
A man left a quadriplegic when he dived into a riverbed has lost a $5 million lawsuit against local authorities. Timothy Felhaber was aged 17 in September 2002 when he and friends were using a rope swing attached to a tree to propel themselves into the Fitzroy River at a recreational area known as the Ski Gardens, near Rockhampton.
On his last swing he dived headfirst into the water, struck his head on the river bed and broke his neck. Mr Felhaber claimed Rockhampton City Council was responsible, at least in part, for his injury. He claimed authorities should have erected signs warning of the dangers of diving into the water.
At a trial in the Rockhampton Supreme Court earlier this month, he sought $5 million in damages.
He claimed the council was in breach of its duty of care to him by failing to remove the branch of the tree from which the rope was slung, removing the rope swing.
He also said the council failed to put up a sign warning people that the depth of the river may change and that diving was prohibited.
However the council argued Mr Felhaber had failed to prove any duty of care owed to him had been breached.
In a judgment published last week, Judge Duncan McMeekin found in favour of the council, ruling:
* the activity on which the plaintiff was engaged was a voluntary recreational activity
* the risks inherent in the activity were obvious and the exercise of care by members of the public could be expected to keep them safe
* the council were not armed with any special knowledge relating to the risks inherent in carrying out the activity
* the council in no way "required or invited or encouraged" entrants to the area to engage in the activity
"The plaintiff made a mistake in his dive," he said in the 22-page-long judgment. "I suspect that his swing took him not so far out as was usual and his chosen method of dismount brought him a little closer to the bank than he expected. It was not a deliberate action of courting a risk but a negligent failure to ensure he kept a safe distance away from the bank."
In 2004 the council erected a sign at the Ski Gardens warning of diving dangers and of crocodiles in the water.
Judge McMeekin said it was unreasonable for the council to remove every tree from which a rope could be attached.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.