Round II: Roman Catholics besieged by Sexual Orientation Regulations
And close they have - two so far, and doubtless others will follow. One has to hope and pray that adoption agencies which favour gay adoptive parents will be just as assiduous in placing thousands of problem teenagers, as the Catholic adoption agencies have done over the years.
But the effects of the Sexual Orientation Regulations do not stop there.
The headmaster of a Roman Catholic school in Liverpool has decided to enter into a ‘civil partnership’ with his male partner, confronting directly the orthodox teaching of the church, and challenging the view of Pope Benedict XVI that civil partnerships are ‘anarchic’ and a danger to the family. Yet despite the views of the school governors, parents, and many of the faithful, he is unable to be dismissed from his position. For some, this is ‘unacceptable’. As one has said: ‘It is not unreasonable for parents sending their children to a faith school to expect the headteacher to be living according to that faith.’
Indeed not. The man purports to represent his church, and ought to abide by its moral teachings. What manner of example is he setting to those vulnerable hearts and minds to whom he has a duty of care?
The Sexual Orientation Regulations involve competing rights and are an infringement of freedom of conscience. The law which was designed to protect minorities from discrimination is riding roughshod over the rights and beliefs of the majority. There is no limit to the application of such a principle. As the Archbishop of Canterbury observed: 'By legislating to protect and promote the rights of particular groups, the government is faced with the delicate but important challenge of not thereby creating the conditions within which others feel their rights have been ignored or sacrificed, or in which the dictates of personal conscience are put at risk'.
He concluded: 'The rights of conscience cannot be made subject to legislation, however well meaning'.
But Cranmer is puzzled. He does not understand why neither the adoption agencies nor the school are not prepared to continue as they always have, and let those who are aggrieved bring their cases to the courts. Would not this law then be shown for the ass that it is? Could not the competing arguments be played out in the full glare of the media? Would not sympathies of the overwhelming majority fall to the Roman Catholic Church? Would not this be a media coup?
It is unacceptable that Christians should be obliged to conform to 2007 sexual orientation legislation, when Muslims are still not conforming to 1975 gender-equality legislation. Why do the courts not involve themselves in the issue of all-male mosques? Do not forced marriages involve kidnap, coercion, or abuse? The law turns a blind eye to such practices, conveying a distinct sense of exemption from the law.
In all of the minority competing claims experienced so far, two groups have consistently triumphed – Muslims and homosexuals. These two are presently held in pre-apocalyptic tension, and the final conflict is yet to take place. When they ultimately confront each other, and be assured they will, there must be a victor and a vanquished. A homosexual headmaster of a Muslim school in a ‘civil partnership’ cannot, under the law, be dismissed. A Muslim homosexual youth worker applying for a job to teach children in a mosque cannot, under the law, be refused the position. A woman who demands admission to an all-male mosque cannot, under the law, be prevented.
But perhaps there are other ways of dealing with such inconvenient individuals…