Eunice and Owen Johns (Photo Christian Legal Centre)
An attorney for a Christian couple who faced religious discrimination in their request to provide foster care says there's no point in appealing a stunning decision that accused them of "infecting" children with their beliefs, because the nation's legal system is skewed against Christianity.
But Paul Diamond, who served as barrister to the Johns family in the dispute in the United Kingdom over the nation's mandatory promotion of homosexuality to foster children, said there is a solution: The people need to reverse the nation's surge toward treating homosexuals as a privileged class.
WND reported on the court ruling that Christians who want to provide foster care for needy children must promote homosexuality to them, and that there is only a "qualified" right to exercise their Christian beliefs.
The judgment came in a claim by Eunice and Owen Johns that their biblical beliefs in opposition to homosexual behavior were being used by the government to discriminate against them regarding their application to be foster parents.
The couple previously provided foster care and had applied to resume their work but suddenly were rejected because they expressed their Christian beliefs regarding homosexuality.
According to the Christian Legal Centre, which also posted online the decision in the landmark High Court case, the judges refused to say the Johns should be allowed to provide foster care.
"There now appears to be nothing to stop the increasing bar on Christians who wish to adopt or foster children but who are not willing to compromise their beliefs by promoting the practice of homosexuality to small children," the organization said.
According to the opinion authored by Lord Justice Munby and Mr. Justice Beatson, "the laws and usages of the realm do not include Christianity, in whatever form."
They said "the aphorism that 'Christianity is part of the common law of England' is mere rhetoric; at least since the decision of the House of Lords in Bowman v Secular Society Limited … it has been impossible to contend that it is law."
"It is important to realize that reliance upon religious belief, however conscientious the belief and however ancient and respectable the religion, can never of itself immunize the believer from the reach of the secular law. And invocation of religious belief does not necessarily provide a defense to what is otherwise a valid claim," they wrote.
The judges noted Article 9 of the European Convention, which explains all have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion and the related "practice and observance," but they said the "manifestation" of Christianity is subject to "qualifications."
Munby and Beatson endorsed the belief that it "cannot therefore be justified" that a position "held purely on religious grounds" could be defended by the law.
On the issue of requiring foster parents to promote homosexuality, the judges said, "If children, whether they are known to be homosexuals or not, are placed with carers who … evince an antipathy, objection to or disapproval of, homosexuality and same-sex relationships, there may well be a conflict with the local authority's duty to 'safeguard and promote' the 'welfare' of looked-after children."
The ruling continued, "While as between the protected rights concerning religion and sexual orientation there is no hierarchy of rights, there may, as this case shows, be a tension between equality provisions concerning religious discrimination and those concerning sexual orientation.
"Where this is so … the National Minimum Standards for Fostering and the Statutory Guidance indicate that it must be taken into account and in this limited sense the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence."
Munby and Beatson said in their ruling that there is only a "qualified" right "to manifest religious belief" and that "interferences in the sphere of employment and analogous spheres are readily found to be justified, even where the members of a particular religious group will find it difficult in practice to comply."
The Christian Legal Centre subsequently warned, "The summary contained in the judgment sends out the clear message that orthodox Christian ethical beliefs are potentially harmful to children and that Christian parents with mainstream Christian views are not suitable to be considered as potential foster parents."
In a commentary posted by the Christian Legal Centre website, Diamond, who represented the Johns family, said it now is up to the people to redirect their nation, as the courts have proved they won't.
"This liberal tyranny must be rejected by the British people. The law is now prejudiced, irrational and partial; it punishes individuals for 'thought crime' and the state endorses an inverse morality," he wrote.
"Many British people despair of the law enforcement agencies and have (rightly) little confidence that they will achieve justice in the courts. There is no reason in law or otherwise why sexual orientation rights should prevail over religious rights. There is something deeply wrong with the ethical and legal compass of Britain," Diamond said.
In the article titled "Why the Johns case will not be appealed," he explains that the governmental Equality and Human Rights commission argued in the Johns court case that their beliefs would "infect" children.
That, he wrote, was an argument "implicitly accepted by the court who held that the views of Christian foster carers on sexual morality could be 'inimical' to the welfare of children in care. The commission has now said it was an 'error' to have used this term, but did not retract this statement when I raised it in court."
Diamond said the question is pertinent "in light of the fact that I have reluctantly advised the Johns not to appeal; such an appeal would normally be expected but now, in my opinion, futile – a waste of resources. The courts are so set against religious freedom for Christians that an appeal is likely to only make matters worse."
He said it's a combination of "bad laws" and "poor judicial appointments."
"Where there are excellent judges they are restricted by bad laws. Unfortunately, there are also judges making law based on personal predilections. Parliament must remedy this situation as a matter of urgency," he wrote.
There's a serious moral agenda being pursued by those who oppose Christianity, he suggested.
"The laws are currently being used to eradicate Judeo-Christian morality and usher in secular values. The secular movement is but a variant of the Utopian ambitions that have inspired man from the beginning of time. However, the end game of such programs is always the same. To repeatedly promote a failed ideology is base ignorance or at its worst criminal. Coerced morality or coerced immorality (depending on one's perspective) is not the hallmark of a free society," Diamond wrote.
He cited a "special animosity" reserved in courts for Christians.
"In recent years, I have argued cases that I would have thought of as unthinkable back in 1997. In the British Airways Cross case, our national flag carrier permitted the wearing of the hijab, the Sikh turban and the Siska Hindu ponytail, but banned the wearing of a small cross around the neck, the size of a sixpence. The court held that there was no discrimination against Christians because a Muslim would have received the same treatment and been similarly dismissed for wearing a cross. Astonishingly, the appeal court in the case required evidence to back the claim that the cross was a symbol that Christians wore as part of their faith. Further, the courts have made the evidential requirement for this so complex it is likely never to be satisfied," Diamond said.
"In another case, an employee was disciplined for expressing an unacceptable view; namely his support for marriage in a private conversation with a fellow employee as this discriminated against people living together. In another, a nurse made the serious violation of asking a patient if she wanted prayer. Churches have had noise abatement notices served on them for singing hymns too loudly on a Sunday morning. I could go on about the countless other cases where no permissible accommodation of conscience is permitted for Christian marriage, registrars or bed and breakfast owners," he said.
"As the laws drive out the Christian faith from public life on absurd applications of anti-discrimination laws, the Lord Chief Justice and the Archbishop of Canterbury have supported the introduction of parts of Shariah law," Diamond said.
He said now it's up to the people.
"The British people have reversed silly laws in the past; the time is ripe for a review of the equality laws," he said.
The Johns told the Christian Legal Centre "we have been excluded because we have moral opinions based on our faith, and a vulnerable child has now probably missed the chance of finding a safe and caring home. … Being a Christian is not a crime and should not stop us from raising children."
Andrea Minichiello Williams, CEO of Christian Concern and the Christian Legal Centre, said the family was "humiliated and sidelined and told by a government body … that their mainstream Christian views might 'infect' children. They have also effectively been told by British judges that their views may harm children."
Williams continued, "The judges have claimed that there was no discrimination against the Johns as Christians because they were being excluded from fostering due to their sexual ethics and not their Christian beliefs. This claim that their moral beliefs on sex have nothing to do with the Christian faith is a clear falsehood made in order to justify their ruling. How can the judges get away with this?"
J.E. Dyer, on the Hot Air Green Room blog, said the judges' interpretation of the law "is idiotic on its face. … The next obvious step is ruling that parents must endorse homosexuality to their own children."
"If the British High Court deems Christian beliefs on homosexuality 'inimical to the interests of children,' it will justify intervening between parents and their natural children, just as governments do the world over when child welfare is at issue."