The Judges’ Atheist Inquisition
by Melanie Phillips
The secular inquisition against Christians was ratcheted up another notch yesterday in a grotesque judgment in the High Court by two judges, who have upheld the ban against a couple from fostering children simply because they hold traditional Christian views about homosexuality.
The implications of this judgment are utterly appalling on many levels. The couple involved, Eunice and Owen Johns, are upstanding, traditional people whose quality of care for the twenty or so children they have fostered is not in doubt. At a time when is estimated that there is a need for another 10,000 foster carers, one might have thought the Johns would be treated as gold dust. Nor have they even prevented any homosexuals from having or doing anything. Their crime is simply to believe it is wrong to promote a homosexual lifestyle to a child in their care because they take the view that sex outside marriage is wrong.
Yet for that view – which not long ago was a normative moral position – Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson have agreed that they must be banned from fostering any further children. They are being banned simply because they have views of which these judges disapprove.
Such a ruling is, first, utterly illiberal and intolerant. Second, in its shallowness and secular bias it is ridiculous. For the judges actually said that there was no place in law for Christian beliefs – that Britain was a ‘largely secular’, multi-cultural country in which the laws of the realm ‘do not include Christianity’.
As the former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali said, this was absurd:
He pointed out the monarch took a coronation oath promising to uphold the laws of God, while Acts of Parliament are passed with the consent of ‘the Lords Spiritual’, and the Queen’s Speech finishes with a blessing from Almighty God. ‘To say that this is a secular country is certainly wrong,’ he said.
‘However, what really worries me about this spate of judgments is that they leave no room for the conscience of believers of whatever kind. This will exclude Christians, Muslims and Orthodox Jews from whole swaths of public life, including adoption and fostering.’
Next, the judges decreed that the right of homosexuals to equality should take precedence over the right of Christians to manifest their beliefs and moral values. On what basis did they decide this other than their own prejudices? But then, that’s the inescapable effect of human rights law. On the basis of the oxymoronic fiction that the ‘rights’ it enshrines are ‘universal’, human rights law demonstrates that these rights are in fact conflicting, and thus utterly contingent on the subjective views of the judges who are required to arbitrate between them…
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