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Caroline Farrow: Christians can no longer adopt children

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Christian couple who have been fostering two young children from the early part of this year have had their application to adopt them turned down, because guess what? That’s right, they have the wrong views on same-sex parenting. It doesn’t matter that reports from social workers have praised the couple for the ‘lovely care’ which they have provided, nor does it matter that the couple already have two adopted children who have formed strong relationships with their foster siblings and neither does it matter that this Christian couple have ‘worked well with all professionals’.

No, what matters most in our halcyon climate of equality is that any prospective parents are, to use a hateful term, ‘right-thinkers’. Their views are, apparently, so heinous that they could be ‘detrimental to the long-term needs of the children’, according to the local authorities. The views in question, predictably enough, have absolutely nothing to do with child discipline, hygiene, nutrition, education or anything that could pose any sort of a threat to a child’s physical and emotional needs. No, it is simply that in common with a large number of people in this country, the couple believe that ideally every child ought to have a mum and a dad.

It appears that as is often the case in these situations, the couple’s honesty appears to have been their downfall, along with the fact that social workers seem to be working to an agenda. The couple had expressed an interest in adopting the children on numerous occasions, each time fobbed off with absurd excuses, such as their three-bedroom house being too small. Two children per bedroom is hardly the extreme of Victorian poverty or  tenement slum living. The case workers clearly  had other more politically-correct ideas up their sleeves. Since this couple already had two children, wouldn’t it be ‘fairer’ to let other people have a chance of a family of their own? and who better than two men, unable to have children of their own thanks to their freely-chosen relationship!

No matter that one of the children was under the impression that they were waiting for a ‘new mummy’; No, what matters is that every couple, regardless of their sexuality, has a chance to raise a precious family of their own.

What is quite so sickening about this decision is that the children’s best interests appear to have been thrown under a bus in the interests of equality and political correctness. Holding the genuinely held belief that children ought to have a mum and a dad wrote the couple off as anti-gay, with their Christian faith extra proof of their supposed homophobia.

It should be a no-brainer that provided that there are no obvious issues, the children would be better off staying with the family where they had received wonderful care for the past year.  You’d think the council would be jumping with joy at having previously trusted foster-carers able to provide a loving and permanent home for the two vulnerable children already in their care.

And what sense could it possibly make to subject vulnerable children to the emotional trauma of separating them unnecessarily from a family where they have formed a strong attachment?  You don’t need to be an expert in child psychology to understand the stress that placing them into any new family will put them under.

Yet what mattered more to the authorities was the couple’s view about mothers and fathers, their belief that children fare better in a stable relationship between a man and a woman. It’s what statistics continually demonstrate as providing the best outcome for children. Every single study into parenting holds up heteronormative couples in lifelong committed relationships as the gold standard against which other situations are measured. Recognising this is not an indicator of dislike for gay relationships or gay people

There is nothing inherently homophobic in being concerned about how children used to a male/female relationship and with the expectation of getting a new mother, will adjust to a family with two men as parents.

Why, in a culture which demands that women are equally represented in all strata of society from politics, to the boardroom, the media, and so on and so forth, is it suddenly such an anathema to suggest that both sexes should be equally represented when parenting a child?

And let’s entertain for a moment the prospect that the Christian couple do not approve of or sanction same-sex relationships. It does not mean they dislike gays, Nor does it make them ‘homophobic’.

Yet their views were deemed to be ‘detrimental to the long-term needs of the children’, a piece of professional jargon that translates as follows: ‘We are concerned that as Christians, you are going to bring your children up, to think the same as you.’

Underlying this is the implicit assumption that a Christian view on sex and marriage will cause untold psychological damage to children. Either they  will become homophobes themselves or, if they turn out to be gay themselves, will suffer immeasurable harm from attempting to lead lives of sexual continence.

The ironic truth is that most Christians with orthodox views on sex and marriage aren’t half as obsessed with sex as the authorities are.

The irony is that they are far more prepared peacefully to coexist with others and allow them to hold different views to themselves than your average social justice warrior. There’s only one set of people imposing beliefs upon others and demonstrating intolerance as well as crass and cruel insensitivity in the case of the poor children and that’s the secular authorities.

It is a chilling day for freedom when religious belief – supported by what is known about the wellbeing of children – is taken as prima facie evidence of being an unfit parent and grounds for the permanent removal of children.

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Caroline Farrow
Caroline Farrow
Columnist for the Catholic Universe

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