We’ve had religious zealotry turning up in art galleries, registry offices, Stormont, counselling organisations – now we can add paediatric medicine to the list of areas of work which Christian fundamentalists seem desperate to colonise:
Sheila Matthews, who sat on an adoption panel in Northamptonshire, lost the job when she asked to abstain from voting in cases where same-sex couples were planning to adopt.
Now she has been reinstated, although Northamptonshire County Council will not allow Dr Matthews to vote on future cases.
Dr Matthews, 50, is a community paediatrician with more than 18 years’ experience advising parents and children. She had worked on the adoption panel for five years, before she was removed earlier this month.
Dr Matthews said: “As a professional I have done a lot of reading around the subject and am satisfied that there are research findings which support my position that a same-sex partnership is not the best family setting to bring up children. As a Christian and a paediatrician I believe that children do best with a mother and father in a committed, long-term relationship.
“I cannot recommend a same-sex household to be in the best interest of a child, despite what politicians may have legislated for, and as those on the panel have a legal obligation to do what is in the best interest of the child, then I am not able to vote in favour of such placements.”
Fine, perhaps firing her from the adoption panel was wrong under the law. It’s right however that she not be able to vote in cases where same-sex couples are planning to adopt, given that her ‘belief’ is based entirely on bigotry and not the rule of law. I’m sure that she can find research findings hostile to same-sex adoption – it doesn’t make them reliable though, particularly if written from a religiously zealous perspective. Ultimately it’s reassuring that although she’s managed to keep her job, she’s been prevented from behaving in a homophobic way towards gay couples who are objectively as good at parenting as heterosexual ones. You don’t need research findings to prove that one.
Posted in gay, politics, religion
Tagged adoption, Christianity, gay, gay adoption, God, homophobia, homosexuality, Northampton County Council, paediatrician, religion, Sheila Matthews
Nick Herbert is both right and dead wrong:
The truth is the major parties are reaching a consensus on gay equality. So the real dividing line will be between the parties that are honest with the public and those that are not; between those who can mount a broad appeal and those who fall back on a narrow tribal base. Even as their once natural supporters abandon them, New Labour still has not learned that the public is rejecting old politics, and that people – gays included – are crying out for change.
I think his final comment is spot on. The failures and abuses of the New Labour government are so severe that gay voters will indeed not vote as overwhelmingly tribally as in previous elections. However Tory gains will hardly come because of a so-called consensus between the major parties on equality – just look at Cameron’s new pals in Strasbourg. And I don’t believe for a moment that the gay electorate is so ill-informed that it would start switching its allegiance to a party whose essential nature is greedy and divisive, merely out of a feeling (without any proof I might add) that it simply no longer hated gay people. If they make significant gains next year, it’ll be because gay voters (as straight) have seen the entire system fail – economically and politically, with the resulting disenchantment transcending questions of voter self-interest in every demographic.
I suspect though he’ll have as serious problem as New Labour, because the Tories are also seen as wedded to ‘old politics’ and will also suffer at the ballot box. If they win it’ll only be because of an absence of believable choices for voters, not because alienated gay voters suddenly think Dave’s their ‘mate’.
Bishop Nazir-Ali has declared gay people should be ‘changed’. It so happens that other people agree and do this as a result:
Jason Saunders, aged 18, was left with a broken nose and bruising after being jumped on by a five-strong gang after they started shouting abuse at him as he walked to work from the Sydenham area of Bridgwater with his partner, Gary Holman. The attack happened on June 23 at around 6.40pm.
Turning on to College Way, he walked past a group of five people. The group started shouting abuse at him, calling him “queer” and “ginger”, telling him to “sort out his hair colour”.
Jason said: “I asked them why they were shouting abuse at me and the next thing I know, all five people were attacking me.
“They were kicking and punching me in the face and still calling me names.”
After the attack, Jason was rushed to Bridgwater Hospital, before being taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton as doctors were worried about him drifting in and out of consciousness.
He has been left traumatised and in fear of his safety. Left with a broken nose and bruising, he has become totally reliant on other people.
(article by Thomas Justice, Bridgwater Times)
I wonder if the Bishop – a supposedly Godly man – will apologise to Jason Saunders for his homophobic attitudes, his need to make them public, and to justify them? Those vocally opposing him are growing in number:
Labour MEP Michael Cashman accused the Bishop of Rochester of being “selective” about which parts of the Bible he upheld. “When he calls for the closure of all the banks, finance houses and credit card companies because of what it says in the Bible about usury, then I’ll take him seriously,” he said. “Until then, unless he can say anything good, he should shut up.“
Curious timing for the Anglican Church to tack back towards blatant homophobia:
Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester called on gay people to “repent and be changed” saying the Church of England must not be “rolled over by culture.” Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell called on the Bishop to “repent his homophobia.”
Dr Nazir-Ali told the Sunday Telegraph: “We want to uphold the traditional teaching of the Bible. We believe that God has revealed his purpose about how we are made.
“People who depart from this don’t share the same faith. They are acting in a way that is not normative according to what God has revealed in the Bible.
“The Bible’s teaching shows that marriage is between a man and a woman. That is the way to express our sexual nature.
“We welcome homosexuals, we don’t want to exclude people, but we want them to repent and be changed.”
He added: “We want to hold on to the traditional teaching of the Church. We don’t want to be rolled over by culture and trends in the Church. We want a movement for renewal. We need a reformation of the Church and the life of the Communion.”
‘We welcome homosexuals – we want to stop them being homosexuals.’ Anyone else see what’s wrong with this picture? I think it’s shocking that such a senior Churchman should actually admit he rejects social change. He doesn’t want to be rolled over by culture? Sounds to me like he picks and chooses which culture he accepts and which he doesn’t – not very Godly if you ask me. He has no choice – the clock can’t be turned back to a repressive time when gay people couldn’t be out, nor are we living in a society as Iris Robinson would wish, where we could fix people’s natures as they suit us. Is either option what Christianity is supposed to be about? An Asian man who must understand discrimination should be ashamed of himself to preach homophobia, particularly when his religion does nothing of the sort.
Posted in gay, religion
Tagged Anglican Church, Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, Christianity, Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, gay, God, homophobia, homosexuality, religion
Lillian Ladele may be defeated, but she was never alone. In fact it turns out she wasn’t even alone at Islington Council:
Theresa Davies, a registrar for Islington Council, has claimed she was forced out of her post as registrar because of her religious beliefs against civil partnerships.
Davies, who had worked for Islington Council for 18 years, said she had asked to opt out of performing civil partnerships in 2006.
While her request was being considered, Davies took four months off work due to stress. On her return she was told that she would either be demoted or dismissed.
Instead of leaving the council, Davies chose to take on the offered position of receptionist, which she described as “humiliating”.
Last July, she was put back on the general rota. However, in January this year she failed to turn up to a ceremony she was supposed to be overseeing. Consequently, she was told that unless she presided over civil partnerships she would be demoted from her position.
“I know of other councils that have allowed Christian registrars to carry on by ensuring that colleagues are given civil partnerships,” said Davies. “But I was told this was not Islington’s policy.”
No, we know that Islington Council’s policy was, in the case of Lillian Ladele, to offer different work for the same pay, when she decided that she wanted to breach their policy of providing an equal service for all members of the community, rather than ones that she wanted to pick and choose. Davies may not have liked the ‘humiliating’ new work, but this has already been established not to be discrimination on the grounds of religion. The devoutly religious do not have the right under the law to behave as though they are a special case in who they provide services for. I look forward to her grievance failing equally badly.
Posted in gay, Human rights, politics, religion
Tagged Christian, Christian Legal Centre, Christianity, civil partnerships, gay, gay marriage, gay rights, homophobia, homosexuality, Islington council, Lillian Ladele, religion, same-sex marriage, Theresa Davies
It would be very easy to dismiss the content of this video as the actions of a few crackpots whose ideas about the world haven’t moved on past the Middle Ages. I personally think it’s horrific, and find it hard to understand why the Christianist culprits haven’t been investigated by police. “We don’t hate them, we just do not believe in their lifestyle,” – such an innocuous justification on the surface of things, yet if carried to its logical extent able to bring about terrible violence. I personally would rather like to cast out their homophobic spirits and see what they were left with. You do not have to be homophobic in order to be spiritual.
Posted in gay, religion
Tagged Christian, Christianity, Connecticut, exorcism, gay, God, homophobia, homosexuality, Manifested Glory Ministries, Pastor Patricia McKinney, religion
You thought the BNP were the only extremist story from last week’s elections? Think again:
The newly-elected mayor of Doncaster has vowed to cut funding for the town’s annual gay Pride event.
Peter Davies, an English Democrat, has said: “My policy on gays and lesbians is very simple.
“I don’t think councils should be spending money on them parading through town advertising their sexuality.”
Davies, a retired politics and RE teacher, has also promised to end council spending on “politically correct” issues and plans to cut his mayor’s salary by £32,000 to £62,000.
He also plans to reduce councillors’ numbers by two thirds to 21, although it remains to be seen whether he has to power to do so, and to hold a referendum on whether his own post should exist.
Davies added: “I have nothing whatsoever against gays and lesbians, what they do in their private lives is absolutely fine.
“But I don’t see why councils should be spending money on that sort of thing.”
Proof if any more were needed that what happened in California with Proposition 8 could easily happen here. Not everyone supports the diversity agenda, not everyone respects difference, and even people elected to positions of political influence can these days still hold negative opinions about minorities and be prepared to act on them. Nationalism is repugnant, whether it be at the BNP extreme or this one. Hopefully he’ll cut his salary to zero and retire immediately, in his eagerness not to be parading his sexuality around town at taxpayers’ expense. Idiot.
Was it staged or was it real? Sacha Baron Cohen’s new alter ego Bruno appears to have comprehensively humiliated the notorious homophobe-or-is-he Eminem at the MTV Movie Awards:
Personally I think this is hilarious. If it was an accident it couldn’t have happened to a more deserving man, but it looks about as staged as staged can be to me. Either way it fulfils Baron Cohen’s and Eminem’s joint promotional needs nicely. I look forward hugely to the release of ‘Bruno’ later this summer.
Click to the right to see a painfully candid still of the ‘accident’… Continue reading
Posted in films, humour, popular culture
Tagged Borat, Brüno, Eminem, faux-gay, faux-homophobia, gay, homophobia, homosexuality, MTV, MTV Movie Awards, Sacha Baron Cohen
Paul Hogarth complains that by upholding Proposition 8, the California State Supreme Court has made a very odd and inconsistent decision indeed:
while the people have “sovereign power” and can “alter or reform” the Constitution as they see fit, our framework does not allow them to make all changes to the state Constitution. A minimum threshold of voters can collect signatures to put an “amendment” on the ballot, but only the state legislature – or a constitutional convention – can initiate a major “revision.” And the Court failed to understand both the history and basic structure of this distinction.
Before 1911, California did not have an initiative process – and all “amendments” had to come from the state legislature. Every state that distinguishes between “amendments” and “revisions” (and California based its constitution off New York) has a common thread – none of them allow the people alone to make the most profound changes. An “amendment” to the California Constitution is there to “improve” the existing framework, but a “revision” would substantially alter its “substance and integrity.” Even states that passed equivalents of Prop 8 only generally did so after the legislature put it on the ballot.
The Court said Prop 8 was not a revision because it “simply changes the substantive content of … one specific subject area – the … designation of ‘marriage.'” It did not alter the “scope” of the Constitution, and only has a “limited effect on the fundamental rights of privacy, due process and equal protection.” The Court even implied that only changes affecting a wide spectrum of our Constitution are protected from the whims of the public opinion – and explicitly said that a revision is not anything that “abrogates a foundational constitutional principle of law.” Based upon the Court’s narrow definition, it is hard to see how any change to the Constitution would qualify as a “revision.”
So in other words by in effect limiting the definition of ballot measure changes to the constitution to “amendments” they find a way to allow the will of a hostile majority to circumvent the equal protection clause of the state constitution. However he also notes that in choosing to allow the 18,000 gay marriages already licensed to stand because nullifying them would violate due process (after acquiring property rights accruing from marriage), they have set a very strange sitution up indeed. Why the will of a hostile majority trumps the right to marry but not property rights makes no sense at all. Yesterday’s ruling really was bad law.
Posted in gay, Human rights, politics
Tagged California, California Supreme Court, gay, gay marriage, homophobia, homosexuality, Prop 8, Proposition 8, same-sex marriage
I could not endorse this video more highly. Make with the clicking to see why, then tell your friends!
Posted in gay, Human rights, humour, politics, popular culture
Tagged California, Fuck You, gay, gay marriage, homophobia, homosexuality, Lily Allen, Prop 8, Proposition 8, same-sex marriage