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Adopting a compromise

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William Crawley | 22:45 UK time, Thursday, 25 January 2007

2007125115714952.jpgThe Europe minister Geoff Hoon represented the government tonight on BBC Question Time and outlined a possible "compromise" in their very public argument with the Catholic Church over gay adoption. Geoff Hoon said he thought the Catholic Church should not be granted an exemption to the new equality laws. But -- and this is the possible compromise -- he acknowledged that not everyone who works for a Catholic adoption agency is a Catholic. If there are non-Catholics working within a Catholic adoption agency, he said, and if these non-Catholics are prepared to handle cases involving gay couples, why can't the Catholic agency permit them to do so? This way Catholic workers would not be required to act against their conscience in assisting gay couples to adopt children, while the equality laws would still be upheld.

This is quite a clever proposal in its own way, since it mirrors the current situation in the Health Service in England whereby doctors and nurses with a conscience-based objection to abortion are permitted to stand aside from those procedures. Ironically, you will recall that the archibishops of York and Canterbury, in their letter to the government, appealed to this same NHS example to make a case for a Catholic opt-out.

Comments

  • 1.
  • At 11:53 PM on 25 Jan 2007,
  • Jen Erik wrote:

I haven't been following the story at all. I had somehow assumed that the difficulty was that the Church might feel that parents who chose to place their children through a Catholic adoption agency would expect them to be placed in a traditional Catholic family.
Is that totally wrong? Is the debate only about the rights of those working for such an agency?

  • 2.
  • At 12:46 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Michael N. Hull wrote:

What is a 'Catholic' adoption agency?

Is this an organization run by a) the Roman Catholic church alone with b) funds solely provided by the RC church and which places c) only RC children?

If so then how does the State have any say in the matter?

On the other hand if any one of the above 3 elements is not so then I guess the adoption agency must follow the State's guidelines.

I don't see where the need for a compromise comes in?

Michael

  • 3.
  • At 01:21 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Helen Hays wrote:

hi michael, it's a uk story but i can answer your question.

The catholic church in england runs some adoption agencies. They receieve substantial state funding to run them (alongside their church funds).

They have catholic and non catholic staff emplayed (e.g., maybe a protestant social worker or a muslim doctor).

They Take catholic and non catholic children into care.

They place the children with catholic and non catholic families.

They want to be exempt from the new equality legislation which would criminalise their current practice ... they currently refuse to take on gay couples as adoptive parents.

The government says if ur gonna be a state funded agency you cant discriminate like that. I think the government is right.

  • 4.
  • At 02:44 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Hitchens-Stichens wrote:

Matthw Parris was brilliant on the Question Time programme tonight. He said the catholic church's attitude to conscience would be taken more seriously if the church would allow priests in africa handing out condoms to have a conscience too. Well said. This whole business is harming the credibility of the catholic church enormously.

  • 5.
  • At 03:10 AM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Michael N. Hull wrote:

Thanks Helen for the explanation.

You wrote: "The government says if ur gonna be a state funded agency you cant discriminate like that. I think the government is right."

I agree.

Michael

  • 6.
  • At 12:50 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Dave wrote:

This does seem to be one of the few ways that this could be resolved without continued strife.

(Have referred to your blog post here.)

  • 7.
  • At 02:44 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • pb wrote:


seems like a reasonable legal compromise.

perhaps its scope could also be extended throughout the act and far beyond catholic agencies.

This looks like a possible win-win approach I was hoping might be discussed.

PB

  • 8.
  • At 03:48 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

There is a clear distinction between a compromise and a lie. A compromise is where to parties agree to a course of action which is part way between their two extreme positions. A lie is when you do one thing and call it another. By law, the state reserves the right to decide the fate of children who need adopting. It delegates this responsibility to approved agents who must follow its strict guidelines. They either do or they don't. If it is revealed that they don't and they are allowed to remain agents anyway, then they are breaking the law as a priveleged institution. To that degree, the nation is not a democracy. One basic tenet of democracy is that all are equal in the eyes of the law. Now tell me again what it means to be British.

  • 9.
  • At 05:25 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Jen Erik wrote:

Thanks, Helen.

  • 10.
  • At 06:03 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Michael N. Hull wrote:

I wonder if there is a theoretical case that could be made looking at adoption more from the child's standpoint.

If there were a limited number of children available for adoption would it be reasonable to prioritise adopting 'parents' as follows:

1) Married heterosexual couples

2) Same sex male or female couples

3) Single women

4) Single men.

I would think that in raising a child the most desireable situation would be to have both a male and a female influence in their lives if possible.

What will happen in a Catholic adoption agency (CAA) if the agency has equally qualilfied type 1 and type 2 'parents' available and all children could be placed with type 1 couples?

What would be the position of the CAAs if they had children available for adoption and did not have enough type 1 parents, would they still refuse to place a child with a type 2, 3, or 4 parent(s)?

Would priortization of adopting parents being a workable compromise?

Regards,
Michael

  • 11.
  • At 11:53 PM on 26 Jan 2007,
  • Hitchens-Stichens wrote:

Michael,

Not so simple. The Catholic agencies arent looking to prioritise, they want to say No to all gay couples. On principle. So your proposal wouldnt be a compromise.

  • 12.
  • At 03:31 AM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Michael N. Hull wrote:

Re 11:

I suspected that would be the case.

Oh well!

Michael

Michael- It just occurred to me while scanning through that surely some gay couples with a penchant for noticing when their rights are being violated would oppose your priority list on the grounds that it's discriminatory? I don't disagree with you... but I would guess that your belief that prefers a male and a female role model is inherently a heterosexual belief, to the exclusion of homosexual belief.

  • 14.
  • At 04:01 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Michael N. Hull wrote:

One of the admirals at the Battle of Jutland watching his battleships roll over and disappear beneath the waves remarked:

"There’s something wrong with our bloody ships today”.

If we add the position of the RC church and its adoption policies to that of the Southern Babtist seminary here in the USA and its policies towards the teaching of theology by women I feel like remarking:

“There’s something wrong with our bloody religions today.”

The following quotes come from the NY Times of January 27, 2007

Begin quote .... A former theology professor at a prominent Southern Baptist seminary here said officials had told her to leave because women are biblically forbidden to teach men. The professor, Sheri Klouda, said she was hired in 2002 to a tenure-track position as an assistant professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where she taught Hebrew and had earned her doctorate. But in 2004, Dr. Klouda said an administrator told her that the seminary’s president, Paige Patterson, would not be recommending her for tenure because she was a woman, and that she should plan to move on.

In January 2006, the same administrator told her she would no longer be able to teach but would be paid through the 2006-7 academic year. A couple of weeks later, she said, she was told she would be terminated at the end of 2006 instead. She appealed to Dr. Patterson in April, she said, to no avail.

Mr. McClain said Dr. Klouda had not been dismissed, but he did say that she had not been granted tenure. He also said it had been rare for women to teach theology at Southern Baptist seminaries. “With regard to the tightening of the policy of women teaching in the School of Theology, there has been no change in policy, but rather a return to the way it has always been,” Mr. McClain said. “There was a momentary lax of the parameters,” he said, adding that the seminary had “now returned to its traditional, confessional and biblical position.”

Southern Baptist leaders agree that the role of pastor is reserved for men, based on a verse in I Timothy in which the Apostle Paul says, “I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man.” The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message prohibits women from serving as pastors.

In June, Dr. Klouda took a position with Taylor University, a nondenominational evangelical college in Indiana. “I gave up four years toward tenure,” she said. “I had to begin all over again.”.........End quote

The irony in all of this is that I Timothy is one of the NT forgeries written under Paul’s name.

Regards,
Michael

  • 15.
  • At 04:10 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Michael N. Hull wrote:

Re 13:

Hi John:

What if we look at it from the child's perspective. Could we not argue that it is more 'inclusive' to have both a male and a female influence in a child's life? And if so would the child's right to this inclusivity not have the top priority?

I can't see how one could argue that the richness of the child's upbringing would not be greater in what I called the type 1 group (Post #10) of adopting parents compared with any of the other three groups. All four groups can bring all of the same experiences to the child except that of a male plus female perspective.

I would be interested in hearing other views as to whether this is discriminatory - I don't think so but ....

Regards,
Michael

  • 16.
  • At 06:18 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

Re Post 8.

"Tell me again what it means to be british".

That's a big stone you threw there buddy, I do hope we don't find you living in a glass house.

Now are you the chap who derides anti americanism? (Rhetorical).

Increasingly, I hear you brit bashing. You know what? You go right ahead, but don't jumop down my throat when I say the US isn't a utopia.

Want to know what it means to be British?

WE CAN TAKE CRITICISM, WE CAN LAUGH AT OURSELVES, AND WE DON'T CLAIM TO BE PERFECT.

  • 17.
  • At 09:10 PM on 27 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah #16, it seems to me you are much better at dishing it out than at taking it. Most Europeans are. They aren't used to taking criticism at least from Americans. Most Americans are too obsessed with wanting to be liked to tell Europeans what is actually on their minds. This one isn't. It's hopeless anyway. The more Europeans bash America and Americans and get away with it unchallenged, the more contempt they feel for America. I view BBC as one vast anti-American anti-Israeli propaganda machine. It's views seem to me to be more like France's than Britain's. It seems to me that a nation which managed to stumble into and lose two world wars and an empire on which the sun never set in well under a hundred years shouldn't expect its advice to be taken seriously by anyone but the criticism and advice for America just never seems to end. All this as Anglo Brits flood out like rats deserting a sinking ship and the home world is coming apart at the seams. More devolution anyone?

  • 18.
  • At 11:07 PM on 28 Jan 2007,
  • Michael N. Hull wrote:

Re post 16 in which Gee Dubyah commented on Mark's comment in post 8: "Tell me again what it means to be British".

Gee:

If you look at all of the threads in this discussion it is remarkable the high standards of decorum that were maintained including post 8 until Mark threw in that unnecessary final remark.

He constantly says something useful and then leaves via the gutter. Now in addition to 'cockroaches', 'thieves'

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/ni/2007/01/kenneth_kearon_attacks_rowan_w.html)

and lately ‘rats’ one is in danger of joining him in the sewer if one continues to dialog with him on this level.

Michael

  • 19.
  • At 11:20 AM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • pb wrote:


I think Michael has a point about the rights of the child in gay aoption.

Today's thought for the day on Radio Ulster was a plea that the child's voice be heard in regard to its preference for same sex parents and that they be not just an ideological pawn in the current battle.

By law children's views on their adoption must be taken into account, their biological parents' views and where the child cannot express a view the views of their family are taken on board.

I think in all this we need to remember too that Government figures forecast that a massive 96.5% of the gay community would not be interested in civil partnerships.

So only 3.5% of gay couples were predicted to form a lifelong committment. But I think just about any child if asked fairly would like to see a lifelong committment from their parents to each other.

The Church of Ireland adoption agency says it has no doubts that a child should have both male and female role models in its parents and I think that stands to reason; isnt it impoverishing a child not to have such an input in its formative years?

Let the children have their say, I say.

PB

  • 20.
  • At 04:54 PM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

Michael,

Re 18

Oscar Wilde once said, "all of us are in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars...".

...but you make a good point.

Post 16 requires no additions.

  • 21.
  • At 06:52 PM on 29 Jan 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

Mark,

if you pay attention to what has been said you will notice me indicating you are welcome to knock britain for being the imperfect place it surely is.

I am expressing surprise only in as much as you will not tolerate similar observations on the US.

A position that is valid, but some would call hypocritical. Capeesh?

  • 22.
  • At 05:29 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah #21
Tolerate them? Americans for a long time have been numb to them because of their constant endless barrage. Mostly what Americans have heard from Europe about their nations, their government, their culture had been criticism. Why not reserve some of your invective for other nations like China, Russia, Inda, Brazil, Indonesia, and a lot of other imperfect places, some of which may be fairly close to home.

Some people say you are what you eat. I believe you are where you are born. The culture you grow up in shapes your views of the world, of life in general, and of yourself. It's very hard to shake. There are no Utopias. A lot of people look for every commonality they can find between people of different cultures. I am much more overwhelmed and startled by the differences. Except for our common biological needs to survive physically, we are worlds and worlds apart. Even Canada is quite different from the US. I always wonder if people who emigrate to other nations are horrified when their children grow up to be much more like the natives of their newly adpoted country than like their old one and like themselves. It must come as a shock and an unexpected disappointment. Blogging on the internet gives us a chance to see others as they really are, as they think and see the world. Sugar coating it or hiding it blunts that experience. BTW, only people who live in the absolutely worst places don't think that their own nation is the best place on earth, even if it is going through some temporary trying times. There's no place like home and time heals all the wounds which cause people to have left in the first place.

  • 23.
  • At 05:31 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah #21
Tolerate them? Americans for a long time have been numb to them because of their constant endless barrage. Mostly what Americans have heard from Europe about their nations, their government, their culture had been criticism. Why not reserve some of your invective for other nations like China, Russia, Inda, Brazil, Indonesia, and a lot of other imperfect places, some of which may be fairly close to home.

Some people say you are what you eat. I believe you are where you are born. The culture you grow up in shapes your views of the world, of life in general, and of yourself. It's very hard to shake. There are no Utopias. A lot of people look for every commonality they can find between people of different cultures. I am much more overwhelmed and startled by the differences. Except for our common biological needs to survive physically, we are worlds and worlds apart. Even Canada is quite different from the US. I always wonder if people who emigrate to other nations are horrified when their children grow up to be much more like the natives of their newly adpoted country than like their old one and like themselves. It must come as a shock and an unexpected disappointment. Blogging on the internet gives us a chance to see others as they really are, as they think and see the world. Sugar coating it or hiding it blunts that experience. BTW, only people who live in the absolutely worst places don't think that their own nation is the best place on earth, even if it is going through some temporary trying times. There's no place like home and time heals all the wounds which cause people to have left in the first place.

  • 24.
  • At 05:35 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah #21
Tolerate them? Americans for a long time have been numb to them because of their constant endless barrage. Mostly what Americans have heard from Europe about their nations, their government, their culture had been criticism. Why not reserve some of your invective for other nations like China, Russia, Inda, Brazil, Indonesia, and a lot of other imperfect places, some of which may be fairly close to home.

Some people say you are what you eat. I believe you are where you are born. The culture you grow up in shapes your views of the world, of life in general, and of yourself. It's very hard to shake. There are no Utopias. A lot of people look for every commonality they can find between people of different cultures. I am much more overwhelmed and startled by the differences. Except for our common biological needs to survive physically, we are worlds and worlds apart. Even Canada is quite different from the US. I always wonder if people who emigrate to other nations are horrified when their children grow up to be much more like the natives of their newly adpoted country than like their old one and like themselves. It must come as a shock and an unexpected disappointment. Blogging on the internet gives us a chance to see others as they really are, as they think and see the world. Sugar coating it or hiding it blunts that experience. BTW, only people who live in the absolutely worst places don't think that their own nation is the best place on earth, even if it is going through some temporary trying times. There's no place like home and time heals all the wounds which cause people to have left in the first place.

  • 25.
  • At 05:36 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah #21
Tolerate them? Americans for a long time have been numb to them because of their constant endless barrage. Mostly what Americans have heard from Europe about their nations, their government, their culture had been criticism. Why not reserve some of your invective for other nations like China, Russia, Inda, Brazil, Indonesia, and a lot of other imperfect places, some of which may be fairly close to home.

Some people say you are what you eat. I believe you are where you are born. The culture you grow up in shapes your views of the world, of life in general, and of yourself. It's very hard to shake. There are no Utopias. A lot of people look for every commonality they can find between people of different cultures. I am much more overwhelmed and startled by the differences. Except for our common biological needs to survive physically, we are worlds and worlds apart. Even Canada is quite different from the US. I always wonder if people who emigrate to other nations are horrified when their children grow up to be much more like the natives of their newly adpoted country than like their old one and like themselves. It must come as a shock and an unexpected disappointment. Blogging on the internet gives us a chance to see others as they really are, as they think and see the world. Sugar coating it or hiding it blunts that experience. BTW, only people who live in the absolutely worst places don't think that their own nation is the best place on earth, even if it is going through some temporary trying times. There's no place like home and time heals all the wounds which cause people to have left in the first place.

  • 26.
  • At 05:44 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah #21
Tolerate them? Americans for a long time have been numb to them because of their constant endless barrage. Mostly what Americans have heard from Europe about their nations, their government, their culture had been criticism. Why not reserve some of your invective for other nations like China, Russia, Inda, Brazil, Indonesia, and a lot of other imperfect places, some of which may be fairly close to home.

Some people say you are what you eat. I believe you are where you are born. The culture you grow up in shapes your views of the world, of life in general, and of yourself. It's very hard to shake. There are no Utopias. A lot of people look for every commonality they can find between people of different cultures. I am much more overwhelmed and startled by the differences. Except for our common biological needs to survive physically, we are worlds and worlds apart. Even Canada is quite different from the US. I always wonder if people who emigrate to other nations are horrified when their children grow up to be much more like the natives of their newly adpoted country than like their old one and like themselves. It must come as a shock and an unexpected disappointment. Blogging on the internet gives us a chance to see others as they really are, as they think and see the world. Sugar coating it or hiding it blunts that experience. BTW, only people who live in the absolutely worst places don't think that their own nation is the best place on earth, even if it is going through some temporary trying times. There's no place like home and time heals all the wounds which caused people to have left in the first place. At least in their minds it does.

  • 27.
  • At 05:54 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Gee Dubyah #21
Tolerate them? Americans for a long time have been numb to them because of their constant endless barrage. Mostly what Americans have heard from Europe about their nations, their government, their culture had been criticism. Why not reserve some of your invective for other nations like China, Russia, Inda, Brazil, Indonesia, and a lot of other imperfect places, some of which may be fairly close to home.

Some people say you are what you eat. I believe you are where you are born. The culture you grow up in shapes your views of the world, of life in general, and of yourself. It's very hard to shake. There are no Utopias. A lot of people look for every commonality they can find between people of different cultures. I am much more overwhelmed and startled by the differences. Except for our common biological needs to survive physically, we are worlds and worlds apart. Even Canada is quite different from the US. I always wonder if people who emigrate to other nations are horrified when their children grow up to be much more like the natives of their newly adpoted country than like their old one and like themselves. It must come as a shock and an unexpected disappointment. Blogging on the internet gives us a chance to see others as they really are, as they think and see the world. Sugar coating it or hiding it blunts that experience. BTW, only people who live in the absolutely worst places don't think that their own nation is the best place on earth, even if it is going through some temporary trying times. There's no place like home and time heals all the wounds which caused people to have left in the first place. At least in their minds it does.

  • 28.
  • At 07:49 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

Mark,

re posts 23, 23, 24, 25, 26.

Invective? I think the one offering invective here is not me.

It seems what you are struggling to deal with here is the very lack of sugar coating you mention (several times) in the above posts. I have offered no criticism of your nation that has not been matched by the crticism I have meted out to my own. But I have criticised your country, sure. I didn't sugar coat it.Then you run off at the mouth - what is it you are so sensitive about? You'd have us all believe you are tough as old boots, which is it mark? You can't have it both ways.

Most of all, as I have explained several times, I take a position that nationalism of any sort is not constructive - i don't require you to agree - but I'd rather you did not misrepresent my clearly stated position.

Is that sugar coated enough for you? Or are you going to continue to throw your toys out of the pram? If so - count me out.

  • 29.
  • At 07:52 PM on 30 Jan 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

Mark,

re posts 23, 23, 24, 25, 26.

Invective? I think the one offering invective here is not me.

It seems what you are struggling to deal with here is the very lack of sugar coating you mention (several times) in the above posts. I have offered no criticism of your nation that has not been matched by the crticism I have meted out to my own. But I have criticised your country, sure. I didn't sugar coat it.Then you run off at the mouth - what is it you are so sensitive about? You'd have us all believe you are tough as old boots, which is it mark? You can't have it both ways.

Most of all, as I have explained several times, I take a position that nationalism of any sort is not constructive - i don't require you to agree - but I'd rather you did not misrepresent my clearly stated position.

Is that sugar coated enough for you? Or are you going to continue to throw your toys out of the pram? If so - count me out.

Gee Dubyah- America is not above criticism. But it's above so much of the criticism that SHOULD be levelled at other countries, and is not, by European liberals who have come to hate everything that America stands for. Your dislike of nationalism is in that vein, and I think Mark is simply pointing out that there are more worthy places of critique than the United States, which, in comparison, he feels right to be proud of.

  • 31.
  • At 09:01 AM on 31 Jan 2007,
  • Gee Dubyah wrote:

John,

I don't have a problem with national pride - but my issue here is that Mark feels that no-one else is entitled to it. he is on a hair trigger re critcism of the US, but feels he can say what he likes about anyone else.

The truth is - he can say what he likes, and i would defend his right to do so. BUT I CAN TOO. Especially when I am not "America Bashing" and have only ever offered balanced comment on this front.

GW- You say you don't have a problem with national pride, but you've said often that you have a problem with nationalism of any kind. How do you reconcile those two statements?

  • 33.
  • At 12:30 PM on 01 Feb 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

First let me apologize for the multiple postings of what was essentially the same post. BBC's file server seemed to have a problem the other day and even yesterday. Every time I tried to post, I got a statement saying "submittal error, try again." Uploads were very long if they worked at all all across BBC's web site.

John Wright #30
Not proud, just lucky. It was just the roll of the dice that I was born here. A lot of problems other people are just starting to grapple with, haven't faced, are aren't even willing to admit they have were being worked on for a long time here. They may not have been solved completely by a long shot but you can't make any progress if you don't even try.

One of America's most ingenious inventions I think has been to devise a way for people to get along with each other without constant wars. It hasn't always worked, the Civil War was the bloodiest case in point by far. There may be more trouble ahead though, over uncontrolled illegal immigration, amnesty for the illegal migrants, and what measures are necessary to best assure our security. An error of judgement on these issues based on sentimentalism instead of a sober assessment of reality could be fatal.

  • 34.
  • At 11:09 AM on 02 Aug 2007,
  • Jordan wrote:

Hi Michael/pb,

The question of whether or not a child will suffer by having same-sex parents can already be answered. There have been numerous studies concerning the children of same-sex parents (especially lesbian parents), and the body of evidence overwhelmingly suggests that they are identical, or near identical, on all measures of upbringing to the children of opposite-sex parents. The APA website's section on Chidren of Lesbian and Gay Parents is a good place to start if you are interested.

Two things should always be remembered about children. First, they are very quick learners. Some people believe that "baby-talk" helps growing infants to develop language skills; there is a tribe, mentioned by Stephen Pinker in The Language Instinct, which teachers their children to sit upright by positioning them carefully against mounds of sand. But neither of these is necessary, nor particularly beneficial, in teaching a child to talk or sit up.

The second is that, whenever possible, parents should not raise their children alone. An extended family is an invaluable resource in raising and teaching children, and where this is not available even close friends of the parents may assist. One hopes that this circle of trusted individuals will include at least a few individuals of the opposite sex to the parents.

Diversity comes in more forms than gender alone. The children of opposite-sex parents have a slightly different experience to those with same-sex parents; this, to me, is more in keeping with the spirit of diversity than deeming one type of couple "superior" purely on the basis that one is a man, and the other a woman.

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