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January 30, 2007

Gay and Lesbian Adoption and the Demise of Catholic Power: Christie Davies challenges many of the underlying assumptions about the current gay adoption controversy

Posted by Christie Davies

Christie Davies has a new angle on the controversy about Roman Catholic adoption agencies being forced by the government to treat same-sex couples seeking to adopt in the same way as any other couple. He questions both the government's mad obsession with equality and the Church's negative view of same-sex relationships. Bad faith all round.

The Roman Catholic hierarchy in Britain has been badly slapped in the face by the Labour government, despite the best efforts of Blair and Kelly. Now its adoption agencies will either have to agree to hand over children abandoned by their heterosexual parents to same sex couples for adoption or else go out of business altogether. The Archbishops of Westminster and of Birmingham and the hierarchy generally are tamping, furious that Ruth Kelly of Opus Dei and Tony Blair with his Catholic wife, children and sympathies could do nothing to save them.

Holy writ and nearly two thousand years of church tradition and theological discourse about the natural purpose of sexual behaviour and its relation to reproduction have been dismissed as of no importance by those in power who worship at the evil idol of equality. Far-sighted Muslims should realise now what their own future will be, once they cease to be a feared adversary and a pampered minority defined by colour. Will British Muslims be allowed to refuse haram (unlawful, forbidden) medical treatments and vaccines for their children or will they be roughly overborne like Christian Scientists are? Will there be new, inalienable and fiercely enforced rights for gay Muslims to the fury of the faithful?

There was a time when the Roman Catholics could, as an essentially Irish church in Britain (though now increasingly Polish), claim both the special favours given to those claiming to be downtrodden ethnics and enjoy the froth from the waves of fear generated by the Fenians - but no more.

The turning point came in the 1960s with the liberalisation of the law on abortion. In earlier years Labour MPs would not sponsor or support the reform of the law on abortion for fear of losing Irish Catholic votes in marginal seats and of a rebellion by Labour Irish Catholic MPs and voters, particularly in Lancashire (Roman Catholics are a third of the population) and the Glasgow region (Catholics are nearly half). Gerald Gardiner QC - later Lord Chancellor, then a Labour candidate - refused, against his own conscience, publicly to support abortion law reform, because he was a Labour candidate in a marginal seat with some potentially belligerent Catholic voters. In those days the Catholics had the kind of clout in Britain that the Muslims have today. Within their community they could play the bigotry card and outside it the equality card. It was an unbeatable combination.

During the period 1970-2000 Catholic power all but disappeared. In 1971 Peter Mahon, a former Labour MP, standing against Labour on an anti-abortion ticket in a by-election in Liverpool Scotland, Britain's most Irish and most Catholic constituency, got 10% of the vote. In the 1997 election there were 56 anti-abortion candidates, mainly in Catholic areas, and they averaged 345 votes per candidate. Today the Catholics are a spent force, as shown by the very disagreeable contempt with which new Labour now treats them. Ruth Kelly has been forced to put the ideology of the risible "Ministry of Equality" first, well ahead of her commitment to Opus Dei.

Should Prince Charles, Carlos el Verde stick to his logically absurd wish to become "Defender of Faith" rather than "Defender of the Faith", it will signify nothing. In Britain's progressive ruling circles faith counts for nothing. Equality rules and equality is of necessity incompatible with faith, for it destroys those inequalities that faith demands. Believer and heathen, Mussulman and kafir, Jew and Goy, pure Hindu and mlechha, the children of Lot and the children of Gomorrah, the natural and the unnatural are all equal in the sight of the ungodly. Soon the New Labour government's policies on inclusiveness will be extended to cover Hell. Hope springs infernal in the humane breast.

From a secular point of view same-sex couples capable of good parenting are obviously better at adoption than flawed heterosexual ones. Their sexual orientation is not in and of itself a bar, as may be seen from Britain's willingness to dump on them handicapped children whom no-one else wants. Better two respectable poofs or a butch and dyke in a stable relationship than two "normal" members of the lumpen, with their weakness for alcohol and violence, gambling and improvidence, love of soaps and football and contempt for culture. Worst of all are children's homes, where even if you are not abused by the staff, you can not be protected from older, stronger, more aggressive waifs and strays.

In the war between the Christians and Muslims on the one hand and the "perverted" citizens of the plain on the other side, there is much absurdity and a fair amount of dishonesty. Under God's inspiration, the Jews in exile in Babylon edited into its lasting written and final form their horrified rejection of sodomitical practices among men [Leviticus 18: 22-4,20:13-20], just as they did the basic rules of kashrut, the dietary laws concerning what food Jews may or may not eat, in order to emphasise the supposed sacredness of the ordinary boundaries between categories in everyday life, as a stern reminder of the need to preserve the eternal boundary between Jew and Gentile [Leviticus 20:24-7].

The Book of Genesis is probably later than the Book of Leviticus which tells the Jews what they may and may not do in everyday life; it is a set of myths devised to justify the latter. When the Christians at St Paul's bidding and after St Peter's dream gave up the Jewish dietary rules, logically they should have dumped the taboos against homosexuals as well. These prohibitions have nothing to do with the preservation of family life.

Yet at the same time, if Genesis is divinely inspired, it is utterly dishonest of modern homosexuals, such as that regular perverter of truth the late John Boswell, to claim that the sin of Sodom, for which the city was destroyed, was merely to mistreat guests, rather than to try to bugger angels. Lot would not have offered his virgin daughters to a mob of asexual Sodomites intent only on coming to investigate who his visitors were. It follows from Leviticus that the Sodomites were indeed sodomites and that was why their city was nuked.

Homosexuality, whether male or female, has never been a threat to family life, nor has the preservation of family life been the reason for persecuting its practitioners. In societies such as Japan or in the Maghreb that tolerate male homosexuality (and in so far as they think about it at all, lesbianism), family life and kinship ties are strong, certainly as strong as anywhere else. The current threat to the family comes from somewhere else - from the modern secular ideology of equality itself. Equality is the main enemy of family life and in the last fifty years in particular it is equality that has undermined it.

For the Roman Catholic Church itself the drive to persecute homosexuals has always stemmed from the need to keep order in single sex monastic communities and from the celibate nature of the priesthood. It has nothing to do with family life and the preservation of the family only became of any importance at all within arguments about homosexuality as late as the 1980s, when the Church had lost all the other public arguments. The real enemies of the family were feminism and progressive child rearing practices, both rooted in equality ideology but no one was willing to say that. Homosexuals and lesbians were made scapegoats because their inequality was the only acceptable one.

The queer folk of both sexes did not help matters by their hysterical anti-family rhetoric at this time (the 1980s), when they joined forces with the nutters of the polytechnic left to blame the family for all manner of social evils including prejudice against homosexuals and lesbians. The gay activists were both foolish and offensive and indeed self-defeating, since they alienated many of us who were otherwise sympathetic to their cause. Now in effect what they are demanding is the right also to be recognised as a locus of family life. Instead of attacking respectability they are seeking it.

There is also a doubtful side to the existence of the Roman Catholic adoption agencies. They are widely perceived as a device for manipulating a market in which a disproportionate number of the children up for adoption had Roman Catholic parents but where adopters were more likely to be Protestants. Others saw and see their purpose as not so much charitable or for the benefit of the children's welfare but as a way of retaining within the fold small children who might otherwise have been brought up Protestant - if this is true, then they were sectarian in the same negative sense that we use that word when talking about the troubles in Northern Ireland or in Baghdad.

It was further alleged that the reason for the surplus of Roman Catholic children, and particularly new-born babies, for adoption, was that Catholic patents were more likely to abandon their offspring and Catholic girls more likely to give birth to bastards, and following this more likely to experience total rejection by their families.

Today pregnant girls from Ireland regularly travel on the ferry to Liverpool for abortions (increasingly too they fly to Spain where even fewer questions are asked). The sailors who see them going home again call the returners, "the empties". The Irish RC Church is horrified at this and has tried to prevent it, which has led to the Irish government being sued in the European Court of Human Rights for trying to obstruct this trade. How much better if these girls were secretly looked after by gay and lesbian couples who would, when the pregnancy came to term, adopt the child.

In the old days a woman from a small Catholic town or village in Ireland would flee to Britain the moment she knew she was pregnant and secretly give the child up for adoption through the Catholic church. In Austria this was so common that religious orders of sisters would have a small rotating door fixed in the wall of the convent where the mother could dump the child anonymously, spin the wheel and go back home, often with no-one or just a few intimates knowing what had happened.

Protestants were more prudent and later more proficient in contraception, so there were fewer Protestant bastards up for adoption. Even today it seems likely that the rate of abortion is higher among Roman Catholics. Such Protestant discards as there were, were often brought up by other family members, and the Protestant ethic of work, temperance and an abhorrence of gambling also meant that fewer children were put up for adoption for economic reasons.

The greater Protestant demand for adoption relative to the higher Catholic supply often meant that Protestant parents adopting a child from a Catholic adoption agency would have to agree to bring the child up as a Catholic, a faith they did not accept and quite possibly abhorred. This was the price childless couples had to pay. One can now see why the Catholic adoption agencies do not have many sympathisers among outsiders in their present plight. Old beardie of Canterbury has only backed them for reasons of his own; the Anglicans don't really care.

Yet perhaps there is a loophole here that will save the Catholics' position. The Roman Catholic agencies will not in the future be able to discriminate against same-sex couples wishing to adopt, but presumably they can still insist on the new parents sincere commitment to bringing up the child to be adopted within the full rigour of traditional Catholic clerical teaching. Same-sex couples by virtue of their very status can not be trusted to do this and so the children can be withheld from them not on discriminatory grounds but to ensure the child's eternal welfare. All you need is casuistry.

Christie Davies is the author of The Strange Death of Moral Britain, a study of the decline of Catholic power in Britain and Ireland and the rise of the gay and lesbian estate.

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Clearly the only 'solution' for the Catholic Church is to get out of the legal adoption business... or stop being the Catholic Church (which are the only choices being offered by the state).

The right to free association has clearly rejected by the British state and now if you wish to interact with anyone, you must do so with whoever the state says you must.

However if the Catholic Church have the courage of their convictions, they should simply move their adoption 'business' underground and ideally they should announce in public that this is what they are going to do. If the Catholics can operate in China against the will of the state, why not in Britain?

I grind no axes for the Vatican and am quite 'god-free' myself but is a dark day when the British state is once again in the business of suppressing the Catholic Church and in effect denying the right to freedom of a non-coercive religion and completely denying the freedom of DIS-association.

Posted by: Perry de Havilland at January 30, 2007 06:31 PM

This is, by and large, a most significant article. As the Good Book says (Ephesians 5:11):

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

But one thing I do not like. The author has a thing about Leviticus and homosexuality, as you can see by searching out his web offerings. If I were a spiritual man, I would suggest that he is using this as an excuse to evade the moral authority of the Bible, but since I am a rather earthy fellow I cannot tell how come he feels like this, especially since it seems increasingly likely that the bog burials carried out by our Northern European ancestors were of homosexuals, designed so that they would occupy neither the earth nor the water. (Tacitus said that this was the Gaulish practice). Or maybe there is some news event that has struck him – just as I suspect that there is more than rationalism behind Richard Dawkins’ hatred of religion.

As for Genesis being “a set of myths devised to justify” Leviticus, does he suggest that the Jews convened a committee, chaired by Rabbi ben Durkheim, to create a “designer” religion to keep their people separate? This is as bizarre as those mathematicians who claim that Pythagoras discovered the irrationality of the square root of 2 by a method which even today is a headache for anyone who is not moderately familiar with elementary set theory.

Posted by: Robert H. Olley at February 2, 2007 07:50 PM
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