NTW on the Gay Adoption Row

N.T. Wright comments on the recent refusal of exemption to Roman Catholic adoption agencies on anti-discrimination legislation.

There is no way that the Catholic Church is going to change its mind on this one given 18 months or so. This completely fails to take into account the views and beliefs of all those involved. The idea that New Labour – which has got every second thing wrong and is backtracking on extended drinking hours, is in a mess over this cash-for-peerages business, cannot keep all its prisons under control – the idea that New Labour can come up with a new morality which it forces on the Catholic Church after 2,000 years – I am sorry – this is amazing arrogance on the part of the Government.

Legislation for a nouveau morality is deeply unwise. That is not how morality works. At a time when the Government is foundering with so many of its policies – and I haven’t even mentioned Iraq – the thought that this Government has the moral credibility to be able tell the Roman Catholic Church how to order one area of its episcopal teaching is frankly laughable. When you think about it like that, it is quite extraordinary. I suppose the hope is that in 18 months time there will be a different Prime Minister who might take a different view, and this will kick it into the long grass until then.

I completely agree with Wright, the present Labour government is utterly lacking in moral credibility. The recklessness with which terms like ‘family’ and ‘parenthood’ are redefined in order to pander to a homosexual agenda is frightening. The rise of the Newspeak is far more rapid than many of us would expect. The fact that some of Britain’s most vulnerable children will be the pawns in all of this is even more troubling.

I believe that much anti-discrimination legislation is important. I have no desire to see homosexuals unfairly treated or refused services in most contexts. Whilst I strongly believe that homosexual practice is condemned as immoral by the Christian faith, this should provide no justification whatsoever for prejudice against homosexuals in most areas of life and business, something which I think that Christians should strongly condemn where it occurs. The problem is that there are some areas of life in which discrimination is extremely important. A culture that has lost the ability to recognize where discrimination is necessary and the ability to discriminate wisely is in moral freefall.

The problem here is that, whatever the government might wish, the truth is often deeply politically incorrect and unpalatable. As Flannery O’Connor once wisely observed, ‘The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.’ However, over the last decade or so it has been painfully clear that the Labour government is more committed to political expediency than it is to justice and truth. The rot has been permitted to set into the foundations of our society and its progressive collapse is now all but assured. These are mistakes that we will be paying the price for for many years to come.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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3 Responses to NTW on the Gay Adoption Row

  1. Christopher Witmer says:

    People should be free to dispose of their private property as they see fit. If some landlords wants to post a sign on his housing that says “Apartment for let — Christians need not apply” or a pub owner wants to post a sign on the door of his establishment that says “Colored people only — no whites allowed”, I think we ought to respect that.

    The only way to make discrimination illegal is for the government to discriminate. And a decision on the part of government NOT to prohibit discrimination also requires the government to discriminate. Discrimination is inescapable, so I say we ought to embrace it. The important thing is to learn to discriminate properly. HWJD?

  2. robert p says:

    Racial discrimination is an egregious practice for a public organization. However in our personal lives people discriminate all the time. Wise people are choosy about their flatmates, friends, or spouse. This law violates freedom of association for a very sensitive topic — who will take care of a baby. It is only fair that a Catholic mother would wish her child to be part of a Catholic family.

    Enforcing foreign values on a religious charity is a cynical, perverted misarriage of justice. But secular elites have made a habit of killing babies, wrecking families, and promoting sin.

  3. Phil Walker says:

    As if the Catholic church is discriminating against homosexuals in its provision of services! Suppose they had a child who had declared that they were gay–would the RCC adoption service refuse to provide that child with a loving home?

    Oh, sorry, the service is providing all those nice couples with the children they demand, isn’t it? And I thought the service was to the children. How silly of me.

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