Sunday, June 19, 2011

Unhappy Father’s Day

His Grace has been following a particular heart-rending story of one father’s quest to be permitted to spend time with his young son, whom he has not now seen for 195 days (and counting). So distressing are the facts of this case, and so upsetting some of the details, that it beggars belief that such injustice compounded upon injustice might be possible in this enlightened era of ‘human rights’, in which the UK cannot deport 102 foreign criminals because of their 'right to a family life'. And yet our ‘Family Courts’ treat some of our own fathers with utter contempt, inculcating the belief not only that they are worth less than the immigrant, but making them feel that they are possibly even less than fully human.

How this father – let us call him Mr D – has coped, His Grace can scarcely begin to imagine. As you read, you will wonder, too. In short, Mr D was rendered homeless at a stroke by proceedings launched by his ex-wife last January. In fact, he had been the victim of abuse at her hand, and was later granted a divorce on the basis of this. He even has video footage which shows his former wife holding their son in one hand while thumping him with the other. “Hardly Baby P,” said the Judge.

Mr D has not now seen his 2-year-old little boy for more than six months, despite a court order mandating what the courts term ‘contact’. Surrounded by lies, frustrated by the injustices, silenced by the ‘Family Court’, out of sheer desperation he started the blog ‘Love From Daddy’.

Read it and weep. Just over this past week, he discovered from his son’s medical records that his little boy had spent several days in hospital in April, following a fit – and that his GP has no record of the father’s existence: he had been expunged from his son’s ‘official’ life. Mr D’s former father-in-law verbally assaulted and threatened him outside the court in March. But no action was taken against the abuser: instead, it is Mr D whose life has been torn to shreds. It is he who is now hundreds of miles from his son, deep in debt, struggling with his health and employment. His suffering continues, at the hands of secret courts, CAFCASS and their solicitors, all courtesy of the taxpayer.

His Grace has touched on crypto-Soviet ‘Family Courts’ before. They are nothing but an abuse of state power. By writing his blog and speaking out, Mr D risks prosecution, and even faces losing his son forever. Every instinct for natural justice wants to tell the whole story, yet the local authority bullies, in partnership with inept social workers and in collusion with the courts, would exploit the transgression and submit it as evidence that they and they alone are acting in the best interests of the welfare of the child.

But there is a dimension of this case which makes it of greater interest to His Grace: both Mr D and his former wife are members of The Salvation Army, who, far from showing love and compassion, appear to have exacerbated Mr D’s trauma. Scripture exhorts believers to resolve their differences amongst each other and avoid action in the secular courts. Of course, this is not always possible. But one would hardly expect the Church to make things worse.

Commissioner John Matear is leader of The Salvation Army in the UK and Ireland, and has been intimately involved with Mr D and his former wife from the outset. After many months of tireless (yet fruitless) effort to deal with the matter in camera, Mr D has decided to bring the matter of Commissioner Matear’s ‘intransigence’ into the public domain. He is fully aware of the consequences of doing so, not least to the good name and reputation of The Salvation Army.

Launching the study The Seeds of Exclusion, the Commissioner identified family breakdown as the primary cause of homelessness and other forms of social exclusion – ‘people who are lonely, marginalised, and without friends’. What is The Salvation Army for if it is not to minister to such people?

Yet in January this year, Mr D was forcibly removed from worship by the police, merely for attempting to see his son. He was later found to have committed no offence, but it was the leader of the meeting who had called the police after refusing to read the court order she claimed Mr D was breaching. Mr D drove to Bristol to seek help from Commissioner Matear’s subordinate, a Major Hill. By coincidence, that evening he also found Commissioner Matear visiting. Mr D was much encouraged by their words.

He also wrote to General Shaw Clifton, asking questions not specifically about his own predicament but about the absence of policy on this issue, including:

What are the Christian expectations of how two spouses should approach one another and their relationships with their child upon divorce?

What responsibility does the Salvation Army bear to children within its sphere of influence who are affected by the breakdown of their parents’ relationship?

General Clifton asked Commissioner Matear to reply on his behalf, in view of the former’s impending retirement. To date, these questions remain unanswered.

Instead, Mr D received censure. Within days, he was counselled not to blog, and not to return to his son’s church. Contrary to his better judgement, he was told to contact his abusive ex-wife, and (as predicted) his compliance with this earned him a non-molestation order (for the two emails and one text message he sent to her asking when he might see his little boy). He was then told to use secular legal means to resolve the dispute, despite having pointed out that this was unscriptural and that he was in any case without the financial means to do so.

Mr D wrote further letters to Commissioner Matear asking for his assistance, as each passing week without his son left him ever more sorrowful. The summation of Commissioner Matear’s only substantive response expressed the view that the mother’s refusal to comply with the court order for contact between father and son is ‘not a pastoral management matter’ for the Christian denomination to which both parents and the child belong. The Commissioner avoided altogether the question of whether Mr D’s ex-wife should remain a uniformed member of the Army, despite her violence, her abuse and lies. And despite refusing all mediation and repeatedly using court processes to make it impossible for anyone to contact her directly.

In addition to Mr D’s unanswered questions, His Grace ponders how The Salvation Army, which in a recent document said that ‘Biblical values must be upheld by the Church even when they are not upheld by the State’, has come to the conclusion that a child’s right to a meaningful relationship with his or her parents is ‘not a pastoral matter’, but one for the secular law alone.

How can the matter of a Christian Salvationist mother abusing her Christian Salvationist husband and preventing her own son from knowing his father not be a matter of pastoral concern?

‘Love from Daddy’ documents the disturbing details of a process by which a young father has, with no small degree of creativity, sought to expose the impact of family breakdown, as highlighted by his own son’s plight. As a consequence, Mr D has been threatened with a ‘super-injunction’. He despondently concludes that Commissioner Matear has ‘chosen expediency over principle’. Undeterred, Mr D has decided to bring matters into the open; to expose them to the disinfectant of a little daylight.

It is evident from the correspondence that Commissioner Matear and others have sought to avoid answering difficult questions (for a question is indeed difficult if one does not have a comfortable answer). Mr D has shown himself patient, tenacious and at all times reasonable.

But what impresses His Grace further is that, far from wallowing in self-pity (which would be an eminently understandable and completely excusable response to such personal trauma), Mr D has joined with like-minded Christian friends to establish a service to assist fathers who find themselves victims of the crypto-fascist ‘Family Courts’ which purport to have the best interests of the child at the forefront of their minds.

Father’s Outreach is a service open to all. Their ethos is unapologetically Christian – they seek to assist anyone and everyone ‘regardless of background, age, sex, creed or colour and regardless of means’. They explain:
We have looked hard to see what practical support is available to parents and their families who find themselves in this desperately sad predicament, and we found none. We asked our Church what its policy was – it had none. We looked to other denominations, convinced that we would find someone offering some sort of outreach – we found none – no organised support at all.

We decided that “none” simply wasn’t a good enough Christian answer to such a widespread problem, and that if no-one was trying to reach out to meet these needs, someone definitely should be.
Today is Father’s Day. His Grace encourages his readers and communicants to reflect on this sad story, and to remember those fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers who are routinely deprived of access to the children they adore. And pray also for Mr D, who fears either reprisals from the courts or excommunication from The Salvation Army for bringing all this into the light.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well YG this post touched home with me, it is just disgusting, having also been in a violent relationship some years back I do feel for this chap and me and my good wife today got married through a Salvation Army Captain.

I am a bloke quite capable of looking after myself, but when you have been brought up with the ethic not to hit women, then find yourself in this situation, well its difficult to say the least.

Karma sorted it out in the end, we went our seperate ways and she found a fellow who had a history of wife abuse.

She wore sunglasses a lot when she was with him, to hide her black eyes.

If only our Courts could rediscover the concept of ethics.

19 June 2011 at 10:40  
Anonymous veracity said...

I would like to comment on the Salvation Army role. I am sorry to have to do so .Like many Christian societies I beleive they have departed from their original Christian principles.
I had extensive correspondence with the leaders over the closure of one of their old people's homes. It was largely run by secular people who asked for my help as they feared for the future of the old people . They had known for years they would close it but still took in more and more people assuring them it would be their home for life . One couple who had given charity money to the SA for years sold their home although one did not need care so they could go in together . They were assured of a home for life. When my mother died there we asked for financial contributions for the home instead of flowers. These were gladly accepted although they knew they were about to close . It is a well known fact that when the aged are uprooted and moved it can mean a death sentence . Christian? Well business is business isn't it?

19 June 2011 at 11:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Christian? Well business is business isn't it?

Its the old adage charity begins at home, that is why I support localism.

Donate to Sally and it ends up in head office, donations made direct to your local Captain remain local.

19 June 2011 at 12:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE MY DADDY;);););) YOU R THE BEST DAD IN THE WHOLE UNIVERSE..U R MY LIFE MY FATHER...I love u,i love u,i love u more than anything in this world daddy..u r my heart!! May god give all my happiness to u and all ur sorrows to me=D....Alwazzz b HAAPPPPYYYYYY..LoVe U sO mUcH mY DEAR DAD.Happyyy Father's Day=D <3 <3 <3 <3

19 June 2011 at 13:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a police officer and spent some time with a chap arrested yeterday for a drink related matter. It was 4 years of not seeing his children that had ground him down to virtual alcoholic status.

I am a single father but had to sacrifice 6 years of my life in the battle to stay involved in my son's life. I will not get married again, i will not have another child and i doubt i would ever live with another woman again. The scars run too deep and the devastation that can be wrought by a malicious woman in the system is hard to comprehend.

I feel sorry for all men who are about to enter the family court system.

19 June 2011 at 13:18  
Anonymous Oswin said...

As is so often the case, too much law and not enough justice.

I have a great respect for the Salvation Army, but as elsewhere, they are not without their own problems, as they stumble forward in this crazy world of ours. Mistakes are made, opportunities are missed, individuals err.

For those who would poke a stick at the 'Sally-Ann' I would suggest that they first use it as a scourge against the iniquities of our legal system.

Sadly, Mr. D's case is not in the least exceptional, there are hundreds, possibly thousands, suffering a similar plight...and all whilst the legal profession grows ever fatter.

19 June 2011 at 13:47  
Blogger Phil Taylor said...

I work for a church as a youth worker and one of my youth team has been having problems with his ex-wife over visiting rights. I am proud to say that the entire church has been supportive to him throughout his ordeal, which still continues although he is seeing some results now.
It is something that has often left him feeling down about life and I have often been amazed at how he has continued to contribute to the life of the church while going through this.

This particular blog entry is a damning indictment of at least a local SA church, if not a wider issue that may well be entrenched in a flawed system. I pray that someone gets their arse in gear and actually tries to fix the problems as I fail to see any salvation being shown in this instance.

19 June 2011 at 13:54  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Be careful with this one. As in all family matters arriving at an opinion based on the account of one party is dangerous. And we do not know the information before the Family Court.

Having read through the blog of this guy it's clear its intended as an attack on the child's mother and family and primarily intended to divide the child's loyalties. Not good seeking self publicity at the expense of your child's dignity and anonymity.

One quote:

"Given your maternal family's evil intransigence, how do you reassure a frail, elderly man in his 80s, with asbestosis, that he will see his great-grandson ever again?"

Guilt trip or what? If this is his stance no wonder the mother has sought the intervention of the state.

When parents for whatever reason cannot resolve their differences it falls to lay and church bodies to help if both parties want that. There are a good number of these about the country. A church cannot impose its 'help'. Then it's over to the state to resolve matters. Are you advocating a church based 'sharia' style system for christians?

And really!

"...crypto-Soviet ‘Family Courts’ ... are nothing but an abuse of state power" says Mr AB Cranmer. What would you put in their place?

19 June 2011 at 14:13  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

EU Referendum and Bookers have written several articles on the secretive nature of the Family court system. There is no independent oversight of this most sensitive of all judicial process.

19 June 2011 at 16:11  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

The more I read the blog of this guy the more I believe it is best for all to keep this bitter family dispute out of the public domain - in the interests of the child.

The hostility and hate shown towards the child's mother is unlikely to assist the child. Access, if granted, would need to guard against this. To say to a child, supposedly, on a blog: "Even if Mummy does dredge someone else up on the internet ..." is hardly sensitive to the child and nothing short of disgraceful. And why would he refer to his new woman as 'step mother'? Has this child even met her.

The blog is full of self pity and is centred on the man's needs not the child's needs. No wonder the Salvation Army were unable to assist.

Family Courts are 'secretive' i.e. private and confidential, to protect children from the hurt and damage of the very type of campaigns this father is waging. Like all courts there exists a right of appeal to a higher court.

My suggestion - cooperate with the courts and court appointed officials and stop airing your dirty linen in public. Do you really want your son growing up in the knowledge his mother and father despise one another? To be divided in his loyalty and affection? To have to watch what he says to one parent for fear of upsetting the other?

Remember the judgement of Solomon!

19 June 2011 at 16:42  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Your Grace - Happy Fathers Day to all the wonderful and loving fathers out there. And may their sons and daughters value and return the example of that love -- for it is beyond price.

The point I'd like to highlight here is that children, also, are the victims when they are deprived of their fathers.

Misandry is indeed as pernicious as misogyny, and the fault for the 'battle of the sexes' lies not with either men or women, but with both. By which I mean: if bad fathers produce hate-filled sons and daughters, so do bad mothers. And so the distortion and anger perpetuates itself, and multiplies.

The solution, then, would lie in teaching our children to understand and diagnose this perversion, and to avoid it when choosing marital partners. ...

Oh, and also we would solve much by removing the hatred from the educational sphere: both misandry and misogyny are intrinsic to homosexuality. We should not be teaching that perversion to our children either, if we want them to form healthy heterosexual relationships.

All of which supports my earlier suggestion that detailed 's**' education should wait until children are old enough to need it- and good parents are likely to be the best judges, not teachers, especially if they're homosexual.

We need to model love, nurturing, caring before anything else. Christianity teaches this; Franco-german claptrap does not (largely invented by homosexuals anyway).
As Matthew 7: 15-20 has it...

19 June 2011 at 17:20  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Sorry; the other was long, so continued...

Matt 7:15-20 --
15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

19 Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

19 June 2011 at 17:25  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

*cough* Remember, it wasn't me who brought it into this topic unnecessarily. ;)

19 June 2011 at 17:45  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Mr. Dodo, all of what you say, should be just as you say, but it is frequently otherwise. I have a deal of professional experience re' 'Family Courts' and their processes, fore and aft. I am afraid that in many cases, they are less than one might hope for.

I have witnessed the most ridiculous judgements; judgements that fly in the face of common sense, justice and 'care' of the children concerned. Once, a parent offered a video-tape as evidence of protracted cruelty, only to have the judge THREATEN the parent with the consequences of having illegally filmed the offending parent(without the permission of the assailant etc.) - the judge point-blank refused to admit, or even to privately view, the evidence! How that judge managed to sleep at nights, is beyond me entirely. It certainly disturbed me!

19 June 2011 at 18:40  
Anonymous not a machine said...

This case is very sad really , as i have posted many times before ,it is not just the churches that appear to be emptying,it is also the natural moral standards of marriage and family.
Our society has been so pumped full of individual rights that , marriage and family have become cluttered and totally undervalued.
cyber senseabilities have replaced the more inate workings lowering our emotional inputs towards marriage and family ,as the self is always in conflict rather than fully coperative.

It is sometimes as though the whole innocence of girls playing with dollys and prams ,and boys role playing proper men ,has been finally done over by the thought police.Add in the addictiveness of some liesure activities and the capturing desires of powerfull advertising , and you realise that the slow everyday moral learning that we once had ,has been erased for some considerbale time ,leaving only yet more gaps that some think the state should fill.

being just a component in a system that we cannot control is a problem I have been wondering the social consequences of for some time .The old natural moral codes have become perverted and displaced by addictiveness. The state never can or could care for spouse and children as those closest are truly capable of , but I fear we are losing that love of life ,that we all used to understand when we were broadly christian and directed differently .
it would seem all the archbishop of canterbury now stands for is progressive a latent gay clergy issue through , no one has mentioned wether one would want ones marriage blessed by a gay clergyman , all rather small beer for me when you look what is going off.

19 June 2011 at 19:34  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...


We're not miles apart on this. Yes Family Courts have their deficiencies - they're human.

I rememeber the days of Crown Courts with barristers, wigs and judges sitting on benches. Adversarial cross examinations that polarised parents and distressed children. Today children have independent solicitors and guardian ad litems appointed by the courts to represent their interests.

My point is that this father will not help himself or the child he says he loves by this kind of behaviour.

He is clearly intelligent and articulate. I would also offer the observation that he is quite possibly manipulative and of a passive-aggressive disposition. Now this tends to evoke two responses from those closely associated with such people. You either want to, and sometimes do, slap them or they make you feel guilty and responsible for them.

Is it right for all this to laid on a child? To hear how his 'poor' father 'suffered' emotionally and financially because of his 'evil' mother and her family? I don't think so!

The sooner the Family Court shut this blog down the better!

19 June 2011 at 19:48  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's the betting Mr Dodo is a family lawyer?

19 June 2011 at 19:56  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

As if ...

Who in their right mind would want to instruct an aged old bird like me?!

19 June 2011 at 20:08  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

And besides I'm not a Mason ...

19 June 2011 at 20:09  
Anonymous chevron said...

@Dodo : "Is it right for all this to laid on a child? To hear how his 'poor' father 'suffered' emotionally and financially because of his 'evil' mother and her family? I don't think so!"

If the child is shown the blog by the mother, then I would agree with you that it is 'not right', and it would rather prove his point that the mother is inclined to 'evil'.

On the other hand, if the child does not see / is not shown the blog (which can be expected, assuming the mother is fulfilling her parental responsibilities, I'd have thought, until the child is at least 12/13), then where is the problem? Afraid that third-parties might read it and thus through their indiscretion might *gasp* emotionally scar the child? Tough! Society has an unhealthy obsession with restricting individual freedoms to cover instances where someone, somewhere, might do something bad.

Frankly, I think his grievances against the system and the way he has been treated should be heard in public. As you say, there are two sides to every story, and he clearly feels this is the only way his side can be heard. He would be a saint not to feel bitter, and dishonest if he did not reflect that what he writes. Good luck to him, if that is how he feels.

I'll be blunt: as I see it, there are NEVER any circumstances where a bar to right of access should be sought by one parent against the other, and any situation involving this is an illustration either of the desire for "revenge", or an assertion of the superiority of the wishes of one party over those of the other. If there is something truly sinister that merits such a bar, it is for dispassionate examination in the (criminal) courts. And in the absence of the sinister, there needs to be a recognition on both sides that a child is manufactured by two parents through agreement, who then should, if they individually wish, have an equal right to instil their values and participate in the life of their child.

19 June 2011 at 22:19  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...

Chevron said ...
"Afraid that third-parties might read it and thus through their indiscretion might *gasp* emotionally scar the child? Tough!"

" ... there are NEVER any circumstances where a bar to right of access should be sought by one parent against the other ..."

" ... a child is manufactured by two parents ..."

I'm afraid the above quotes sum up your position! Clearly you have limited knowledge about young children. No child is the property of either parent and parents only have rights to fulfill their responsibilities.

The best interests of the child is paramount in law, a civil test and not a criminal one. Quite right too. This is dispassionately examined by a system where both parties and the child each have representation. Sometimes children are harmed by adults fighting their battles through their children.

Have you considered the impact on this child of having his photo's on the internet and all this self pitying, self obsessed information published?

No - this guy is out of order. As you say his son can't read it. No doubt he's done it to aggravate his ex-wife and the Salvation Army. Just like the good little passive-aggressive he is.

19 June 2011 at 23:28  
Anonymous non mouse said...

The following in appreciation, once more, of fathers who think rightly before they act and marry - and who afterwards know how to care for wives and children.

And in recognition of the difference between them, and others:
Here we go round the prickly pear
Prickly pear prickly pear
Here we go round the prickly pear
At five o'clock in the morning.

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the Shadow.
For Thine is the Kingdom

Between the conception
And the creation
Between the emotion
And the response
Falls the Shadow
Life is very long

Between the desire
And the spasm
Between the potency
And the existence
Between the essence
And the descent
Falls the Shadow
For Thine is the Kingdom

For thine is
Life is
For Thine is the

This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

And Directives from the courtrooms of the euSSR can't do a thing about it.

Eliot, T. S. "The Hollow Men." V: 68-97. (1925).

20 June 2011 at 00:08  
Blogger Loo said...

There are usually 2 sides to every parental story, the Salvation Army a third, but a 4th silent one...
The only story that really matters is the child's and it's best interest.
I am very careful about what I say about my children on the net as they have their own lives. I am not even allowed to comment on my son's Facebook account.
Mr D is taking a chance that his son will one day perceive his endeavours as positive. It could backfire on him. He needs to stop feeling sorry for himself, and be a supportive father. Save evidence of his love, and keep his heart open to his child. God does this for us, even though many reject Agape.

20 June 2011 at 00:16  
Anonymous chevron said...

@Dodo "No child is the property of either parent and parents only have rights to fulfil their responsibilities."

I disagree entirely with that, much to the inevitable outrage of social workers who may be reading this thread!

Parents do not derive their rights on account of their child, but on account of their special status as parents. They are inherently set above according to their position, and children are not the equals of their parents in any competency. It is both the duty and right of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children and, in so doing, such decisions are obviously made according to the judgement of the parents, not that of the child. This is key, because it is not what is best for the child that counts, but what the parents believe to be best for the child (obviously as long as the result of what they believe to be best is within the bounds of the Law).

Further, because a parent's authority is derived from their parental status, rather than the preferences of their child or anything else, it follows that they ought to be generally equal in their authority (though obviously they will take different and natural roles within the family). If we have it your way, with the needs of the child defining the competent authority, the rights of parents become transferable to whichever party can convince lawful authority that they "know best", not only making a mockery of the equality and ideals of marriage but offering the potential for these rights to be usurped by social workers etc. Ok, yes, modern society does actually work like that, and I'll agree that, in extreme situations, intervention is sometimes required. But it is, in my eyes, a very slippery slope that justifies all sorts of insidious and destructive intervention by "professionals" (compulsory sex-ed at 8? Bring it on. Confidential contraception at 12? No problem: we know best. Vetting of adoptive parents to ensure that they are PC enough to not "harm" the child with unacceptable values such as religion and the need for boundaries? Go for it. ... ad absurdum ...).

"Clearly you have limited knowledge about young children."

I have here written of my conception of the ordering of the family unit, not the finer points of child psychology. That you think they are linked implies that you consider a family is ordered according to the needs of the children, rather than the needs of the whole as judged by the parents. So I can understand why you might think I 'clearly' know nothing of children. Clearly? :) Well you might be rather surprised. But if I said that I consider the needs of the State to come before those of the Individual, you might better understand my position (and probably disagree all the more violently!). To me, the family is its own state, whose rulers - the parents - have authority over, yet work for the good of, the citizenry children. Isn't this a bit old-fashioned, and authoritarian, perhaps? I make no apology.

20 June 2011 at 01:56  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

20 June 2011 at 08:41  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

Cranmer said

Mr D has joined with like-minded Christian friends to establish a service to assist fathers who find themselves victims of the crypto-fascist ‘Family Courts’ which purport to have the best interests of the child at the forefront of their minds.

I make no comment about the case outlined or the role of the Salvation Army but using the term crypto-fascist ‘Family Courts’ is so utterly repugnant as to be beneath contempt and you should be ashamed of yourself for uttering such a statement. The Family Division places the welfare of the child above all other considerations and I know as I have benefited from their judgement, albeit many years ago.

My ex wife was an alcoholic and to cut a very long story short there came a time when I considered her incapable of looking after my son. I started divorce and custody proceedings an eventually was granted custody of my five year old son at a time when paternal custody was very rare. My ex wife was allowed access on the basis that she would remain sober which she did not and arrived drunk on several occasions. I made further application to the court and access was halted.

Family breakdown occurs for many reasons and the courts are the last line of defence for the protection of children, perhaps they get it wrong sometimes but I am confident that when they consider the evidence presented to them and try to do what is in the best interests of the child.

20 June 2011 at 09:31  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...


The above post by Mr G Davis illustrates the points I was making which you have misunderstood.

Of course I agree parents should have the necessary authority to raise their children as they see fit and to so in partnership.

However, when they seperate and are in dispute about the future care of their children, or when one is unable to discharge their duties responsibly, some person or body has to determine what is best for the child. That requires professional assessment, expert evidence and impartial judgement.

I do not agree with the State intervening in the upbringing of children on a general level - sex education, abortion and contraception advice etc, but I think you'll find the Family Courts are fairly 'old fashioned' too in these matters.

Bottom line is the State has to protect children from sexual, physical and emotional abuse that is shown to actually or likely to be to be significantly harmful. It also has to arbitrate in disputes.

What alternative is there? The role of a responsible parent who puts his/her child first will be to cooperate with this process.

20 June 2011 at 10:54  
Anonymous Jon said...

Seriously - how the hell did you people jump from compassion for an awful family breakdown to the pernicious influence of homosexuals?! Non Mouse - are you Richard Littlejohn in disguise?!

As several other posters have pointed out, the welfare of the child should (and I would hope as a general rule, would) be regarded as paramount. The tragedies such as this seem to originate from the complexity of human relationships and the blunt instrument that is the legal system, which makes the consequences no less awful for those concerned.

As to those who hark back to a golden age when we looked after one another without any state intervention - when would this be exactly?

20 June 2011 at 14:19  
Blogger Daddy said...

I want to thank His Grace for choosing to think of my son's plight yesterday, and will endeavour to restrict myself to this one comment.

Thank you all, too, for your various tales of encouragement and abuse. To the former, my thanks are naturally for affirmation. To the latter, thank you, too. Like Labour-voting friends, you remind me of the necessity of standing up for my convictions.

Mr Dodo, bless you. You particularly have helped in that regard. Your specific concern for my son over all others involved echoes my own, and I know that having expressed such views as you have, you will be keen to find out more about the facts appertaining to our family, to back up and refine your copious assertions. Moreover, I know that you will want to compare Solomon's Judgement and ponder anew which parent seeks to divide the child, for whom my stated desire is most fundamentally a meaningful relationship with both his parents.

I only hope that you never meet my fate, Sir, because by the logic of your own last argument, when the courts strip you of your rights, and they or a mother take your infant from you, you will have to take it on the chin. I'm glad to say my friends and I will do our best to help you cope, should the worst happen.

I do not take pride in having to do as I do for my little lad. I take no pride either in what I have had to challenge in a church context. I neither blogged nor twittered until this came along! But I am proud of fighting to the last for my son, and pray that in time, he, and suffering families may see my good deeds, and praise my father in heaven.

Blessings to you all. Follow the story at Love from Daddy, where it may yet be an interesting week...

Love from Daddy

20 June 2011 at 14:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Mr Dodo - Cranmer says the father has an order for 'contact', yet isn't seeing his son because of Mum's refusal. This being so, who is failing to respect the court system?

If it is not enforcing its orders, is the court even respecting itself?

20 June 2011 at 15:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

still unsure as to how the salvation army is at fault here. or should even be mentioned on this post.
you say that the family courts are secretive - well how can the salvation army then make a judgement if they only know one side of the story.
The Salvation army is not here to make a judgement on your case they are merely here to minister to you and look after your needs, which i know for a fact that the person in question is ministered too in great depth at his chosen place of worship.
i am sure that the other side of this story is ministered too in the same way "but we only know your side of this story" as her church only knows her side of the story.
isnt the family court secretive??
i feel for your situation but i cannot pass judgement or sympathy if i do not have the facts from both sides, that is for the law to deal with (even if you think it is wrong)
i personaly think you should pray to your god and concentrate your energies on your new future....

20 June 2011 at 18:14  
Anonymous Maurice Atkins said...

Says 'Loo':

"He needs to stop feeling sorry for himself, and be a supportive father."

What??? A supportive father? Have you read the flippin story?!! He hasn't seen his Son since before Christmas!! What exactly is the 'support' you propose?!!!

20 June 2011 at 18:21  
Anonymous Maurice Atkins said...

Just noted 'Anonymous''s comments since I started typing my last post. First - very brave - you clearly know the people concerned but don't have the nuts to put your name to the post. Well done - brave!!

Second, if you take the time to read past blog posts it will become very evident very quickly what has happened here. The SA is 'not here to make a judgement' you say. The SA IS here to stick up for what it stands for - the church is about the relationship of a father in heaven with his childre. Relationship is at the heart of the church. There is not one good reason why this chap shouldn't be seeing his son. *A court order is in place which says he should be allowed to see him* - and yet you still can't see that the fact he doesn't see him isn't right?! Astonishing.

20 June 2011 at 18:25  
Anonymous Maurice Atkins said...

Re Dodo's comments - as someone else has pointed out, the simple fact that a court order says the little 'un should be seeing his dad and that his mother is refusing to comply, well, what do you think of that?? Who is in the wrong? You're all for the court system but seem to conveniently ignore the fact that one party is laughing in its face and getting away with it?

20 June 2011 at 18:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Mr Dodo "This is dispassionately examined by a system where both parties and the child each have representation."

Which system is this where both parties and the child have representation? It doesn't exist in the UK.

The parents have representation if they pay for it (charged for by the six minute unit - not sustainable for very long on an average wage), or if they qualify for legal aid.

If you can't afford a solicitor, you're on your own.

You can't even bring a family member in the room with you to hold your hand while you stand opposite someone (solicitor or barrister) who has trained for at least 7 years to be a specialist in the field.

The best you can hope for is to know someone who is sufficiently distant from the case (and who your ex doesn't object to) to be a "Mackenzie Friend". A MacKenzie friend can do little more than take notes.

Children have no automatic right to separate representation in Court.

CAFCASS's role is NOT to provide representation of the child in court hearings.

In many cases, as Mr D's case, the only voice with proper representation in the court's "dispassionate" examination, is the mother.

Is that really fair?

It's easy to say so when it isn't you standing in the court room, and it isn't your ability to discharge those parental responsibilites you refer to, at stake.

20 June 2011 at 19:16  
Blogger Mr Dodo said...


Sir, sarcasm is not a tactic I would recommend in the situation in which you find yourself.

You know my views on your blog and my suspicions about your motives.

20 June 2011 at 20:01  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Mr. Jon @ 14:19 said: the hell did you people jump from compassion for an awful family breakdown to the pernicious influence of homosexuals?! Non Mouse - are you Richard Littlejohn in disguise?! Never heard of 'im.

To answer your first question, I: a)Note that breakdowns evidence misandry and misogyny, and b) suggest that breakdowns engender continuity and expansion of the hatred. [Implied link: the effect is individual at first, but it extends to society through the individual].

My suggestion is that we can avoid some of those results by i) facilitating informed choice-making when creating a family [implied: girls avoid misogynists; boys avoid misandrists]; ii) preventing exacerbation of misandry and misogyny by refusing to submit young children to educational/societal influences that perpetuate the hatreds. [Notable among those influences is homosexuality - which should be as far away from the infantile horizon as possible, and which certainly shouldn't be dictating educational content that fulfills its own ends (as discussed on another thread recently)].

These generalized suggestions for moving towards solution proceed from the perception that we need to break a vicious circle by: i) mitigating individual tragedies like this case; ii) decreasing the numbers of family breakdowns and so, iii) reversing the trend of societal breakdown - which in turn affects individuals and families.

Certainly, I broached the gender issue because it is thrust in my face every time I read this blog, the news, etc. It would be very nice to lower the profile of the 3rd gender-- my suggestions incline to that end.

20 June 2011 at 20:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maurice Atkins - you never answered the question, what has it to do with the salvation army? i have read the posts, but i still cant find issue of why the salvation army needs to be brought in to this in a hateful way.

the salvation army is not here to judge!! end of.

the salvation army was created to share the christian message to the whosoever, that includes the mother of this story.

the salvation army throughout history never took sides and will never take sides.

so stop making the army out to be an issue in this, the issue is that two people do not get on and are not willing to get on for the sake of a child.

my prayers are for all concerned…ALL concerned.

20 June 2011 at 20:48  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Third gender? I'm masculine ... as a stranger you wouldn't know my orientation unless I told you and I don't do that as a rule.

You sit next to us quite regularly I expect without realising it. We probably serve you food and other goods in shops. We probably worked with you at times without you knowing it. Some of us probably give you communion if you are a actually real Christian.

But some gay men are quite feminine. Are they misogynists? It sounds a bit unlikely. Most camp young gay men I know adore the company of women. You can spot those fairly easily from afar, though not all camp men are gay of course, they're the ones surrounded by women!

Gay men are likely to be misogynists? It's quite an, erm, interesting notion I suppose.

20 June 2011 at 20:50  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Non Mouse said 20 June 2011 20:33

Well said old girl.

They forget that it is foolish to talk about some golden age (it never existed) but it was the 'Golden Ideal' of what family life was meant to be and how it should show love and respect between parents and children that previously existed as something to be attained and was therefore cherished.

A father in the past, who dominated his family without love or concern for his wife and children was an abomination but how has it improved where the wife has complete 'rights' over the upbringing of the children and the father is largely an irrelevance and possibly a hindrance in society's eyes, until it all goes wrong etc.

Agree with your argument regarding 3rd gender, that with acceptance of depravity (homosexuality and hedonist lifestyles) comes the disintegration of family life.

Ernsty my girl.

20 June 2011 at 20:52  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

On the other hand, keeping kids away from homophobes might be a good idea to break propagation of that. Not least for the gay teenagers who are probably affected by that sort of perverse and unpleasant outlook. I wonder if Christians are more likely to be homophobes? You know, I bet they are. Especially the more extreme right wing ones.

20 June 2011 at 20:57  
Anonymous Caroline H said...

@Anon 20:48 - I am all for the Salvation Army sharing the Christian message with all concerned in this story.

The Christian message is supposed to change its' adherants. It is supposed to be transformational. No church is doing enough to say 'here's the message' - it must live it out and demonstrate what that means. Sometimes that means pastoring people.

If the Salvation Army is counselling the mother that her course of action is acceptable (by commission or omission) and somewhere else telling the father that mother's position is wrong and he should go to law, are they not guilty of a measure of hypocrisy?

If someone stole from another member of your congregation, would that be ok because the church loves them both no matter what?

Would you tell the perpetrator 'There, there, don't worry about it, Jesus loves you' and counsel the victim to go to the Police?

Or would you sit down with both to examine the issue, provide pastoral care, and encourage both restitution and reconciliation?

Either way, much is being said about both parents and their respective rights and courses of action. What about the actions of this church leader in favour of showing God's love to a little boy who's lost his Daddy?

20 June 2011 at 21:13  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

DanJo said

'I wonder if Christians are more likely to be homophobes?'

What exactly is your definition of homophobe and why are you to be feared by christians?

I have yet to come across a text in the Bible that says it (homosexuality) is acceptable, any more than something that states sex between a man and a woman outside marriage is tickety boo!

We are therefore consistent.


20 June 2011 at 21:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the salvation army throughout history never took sides and will never take sides.

what about when they called the police in? looks like taking sides to me!!!!

20 June 2011 at 21:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear, youv`e mentioned the 'H'word!. When your`e arguments fail throw in the 'H'word as a last resort, rather like 'trumping everyone`s hand' with an Ace.

It is sad that the family unit is under(constant) attack and the repercussions are felt throughout society, it is not a victimless crime.
Tendencies towards Homosexuality and other self indulgencies are intensified in a self seeking ,self obsessed, society and this undoubtedly puts pressure on the Family Unit.
The Family unit is God`s ordained order for humanity and it is perhaps not surprising that God`s enemy and the enemy of Mankind is ratcheting up the pressure on the Family unit.Family breakdown heralds the breakdown and disintegration of society with all the attendant misery .

20 June 2011 at 21:27  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Welcome back, Mr. Blofeld (and the dear Kitty) - missed you both:)

Glad you agree, too. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.

You're right - indeed we strive for an ideal of love when we build our families. Sadly, the fruits of the ideal so often fall victim to the lust for power. And yes, that lust is as evident among feminists as among other misogynist/misandrists!

20 June 2011 at 22:02  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Non Mouse 20 June 2011 22:02

Thank you for your kind words.
Unfortunately I have suffered ill health and the tragic loss of my mother in law.

Several weeks ago I mentioned how someone stopped me in the street and told me that he had it on his heart to approach me and tell me Jesus loved me. Oh the poigniancy of those words today as I was rocked with a very personal old battleaxe in the Les Dawson parody mold but a true friend.
It devastated me and I wondered what it was all about.

How nice to be made aware that the Lord knows how to comfort those in need as 'a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief'.

I cannot forgive the hospital responsible for a simple procedure (a systoscopy) leading to her death and their denying of their responsibility in the matter. A burst duodenal ulcer by the use of anti-inflammatory drugs they said, when she has never had an ulcer or ever taken medication that was anti-inflammatory. I know because I nursed her for the last 5 months and made sure she took her medication regularly.

For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.

"I, even I, am he who comforts you. Who are you that you fear mortal men, the sons of men, who are but grass.

Scriptural proof that the word of God lives for ever, in contrast to man's natural frailty.

Unfortunately for them, the atheists that frequent this blog, cannot conmprehend the hope that is in us that trust in Christ in all things because of His shown love towards us.

Ernsty, my kind hearted lass.

20 June 2011 at 23:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daddy is no saint. What abuse did he inflict on his wife to cause her
to hit him? Maybe he is a sado masochist rather than passive aggressive.

21 June 2011 at 04:15  
Anonymous Jonathan said...

Your Grace,

This sounds truly terrible, but I would like to point out that the situation is not quite so bad as Mr D. apparently fears. You close by saying that "Mr D fears excommunication from The Salvation Army."

But seeing as the Salvation Army is no true church, lacking as it does one of the "notae ecclesiae", namely, the administration of the sacraments (39 Articles, #19), it is not possible for anyone to be "excommunicated" from it in the sense in which it is used here. As you will no doubt know, the SA right from the outset has never bothered with the Lord's Supper or baptism at its meetings (seeing itself, I can only assume, as far too superior to need to keep such basic commands from Christ and the Apostles).

So if Mr D. does in fact get kicked out of General Booth's club, then it may well work for his good by leading him to join himself to the true church, where not only will true Christian compassion be shown to him in his plight, but where he may also partake of Christ's appointed means of grace and healing.

"extra ecclesiam nulla salus"

"Outside the Church there is no salvation" -- no, not even if a the so-called 'Salvation Army' says otherwise!

Yours faithfully,


21 June 2011 at 04:17  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Len: "Tendencies towards Homosexuality and other self indulgencies are intensified in a self seeking ,self obsessed, society and this undoubtedly puts pressure on the Family Unit."

Self-indulgences? Dear god, you're clueless. There's something of the Stephen Green in you at times.

21 June 2011 at 05:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear of your loss Mr Blofeld,hope your health improves.

Excommunicated from the Salvation Army?
Salvation is in Christ Jesus not in ANY organisation. The Bible specifically says, without any other possible interpretation, that there is only one God, one faith, one baptism, and one way to God the Father – and that is only through His Son Jesus Christ and His sacrificial death on the cross. Jesus says that He, and only He, is the way, the truth, and the life leading to God the Father and that no one comes to the Father except through Him!

Thank God that He didn`t give ANY ORGANISATION OR RELIGION'sole rights'(no pun intended)on salvation but left the ultimate authority in the hands of Jesus Christ.
Danjo,With 'freedom' comes responsibility and accountability.Responsibility for our actions and accountability for the affect these actions will have on others,not a very popular thing nowadays?
Who`s Stephen Green?

21 June 2011 at 08:12  
Anonymous PC Magic said...

Anonymous said...
"Daddy is no saint. What abuse did he inflict on his wife to cause her to hit him? Maybe he is a sado masochist rather than passive aggressive"

Read the blog in it's entirety, watch the video of Daddy being hit...

And why assume that Daddy is at fault? Not all DV victims are women and not all perpetrators are male!

21 June 2011 at 11:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"Danjo,With 'freedom' comes responsibility and accountability.Responsibility for our actions and accountability for the affect these actions will have on others,not a very popular thing nowadays?"

Sounds fair enough, albeit a little 'Tony Blair'. But what's that got to do with gay adults being attracted to each other and acting on that attraction? Self-indulgent? It's a normal, natural state of affairs and it's just like with straight people. Self-indulgent? Such a weird thing to say.

"Who`s Stephen Green?"

Founder and director of Christian Voice. Some of the stuff he comes out with is pretty outrageous ... he's the sort of person who would describe homosexuality as self-indulgence for example.

"Christian Voice is a ministry for those Christians who are fed up with the way things are, who have had enough of secularist politicians imposing wickedness on the rest of us and who are not satisfied with trying to get ‘Christian influence in a secular world’ because they know ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein’ (Psalm 24:1). If you want instead to lift high the Crown Rights of the King of kings, you have found the right place!"

21 June 2011 at 17:27  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Danjo, thanks for the info,must say cannot disagree with the thinking behind Stephen Greens remarks.
Sometimes plain statement of facts is needed to establish Biblical truth.
We need a system to measure our exact position (biblically speaking), a true assessment of our spiritual condition, the Bible gives us that, we might not like this assessment and probably initially reject it and get offended by it.
This might seem to be excessively harsh, but unless a true assessment is made change is impossible.
A man who is physically sick sees a doctor to get a diagnosis.
A man who is spiritually sick will get a diagnosis from the Word of God.
'For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.(Hebrews 4:12)
I think on reflection that the Word of God is as much applied to Christians as well as unbelievers!.

21 June 2011 at 18:56  
Blogger Daddy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

22 June 2011 at 09:15  
Blogger Daddy said...

Thank you one and all for your commentary.

An interesting one with which I am not personally connected. Yesterday, a Dad of three (two of his children live with him) was jailed for three months for marking his missing son's 8th birthday with some balloons.

What is the Christian response?

With that I shall conclude my contribution here and return to merely being one of His Grace's humble communicants.

May God bless and use His Grace's ministry, and all his readers.

22 June 2011 at 09:18  
Anonymous Jon said...

Yet another off-topic discussion about gay stuff. How sad.

We're not going to agree - you think how I am is wrong because I choose it, when I know I fought against myself, with constant prayer for many years, and lost.

I think what you think is wrong because of how many other biblically proscribed activities you're choosing to ignore, whilst you have clearly identified homosexuality as the root cause of faithlessness, violence, paedophilia and almost all else that ails society.

Why don't we just agree that you can think what you want, and I can shag who I want, and let Jesus decide?

Today's article references freedom of religious association, which Christian's rightly claim for their own. Well, I claim freedom of sexual association. The difference is that you are also free to renounce what you believe, but I am unable to change who I am.

Can we just leave it there and leave the comments section for posts on topic?

22 June 2011 at 14:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jesus didn`t come to condemn sinners(of whatever sort)Jesus offered salvation to mankind.
We become born again ,a new creature,a new start, a new beginning,
we leave the old self behind on the cross with Jesus Christ, we are reborn, resurrected with Christ.

22 June 2011 at 16:37  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Len Said 21 June 2011 08:12

Thanks old fella for your kind comments.

Nearly lost my little finger yesterday and spent most of today having finger restitched on by excellent kind hearted staff at hand trauma unit in East Grinstead, who had me giggling throughout the hour long operation or else I would have thanked you sooner.

What do they say 'Somedays it never rains, it pours'?

Old Ernsty


22 June 2011 16:37


22 June 2011 at 22:43  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Mr. Blofeld - please accept condolences on your bereavement. Having lost so many from 'our greatest generation,' I believe I empathise, not least because the world will never see their like again. I suspect you might also join me in thanking God for the privilege of having known some of them.

You also are not alone in your reaction to NHS experiences; I've met many others who've been there. It's a bad business - and not unrelated to the topic of this strand. How can we look at the father's blog without questioning the role played by the doctors who treat the little boy?

There is still some good, though - in that East Grinstead have taken care of your hand - and I wish you a speedy recovery :)

23 June 2011 at 01:08  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Non Mouse said 23 June 2011 01:08.

God bless you.

Told I may have to give up all hope of being a hand model for the Saga catalogue or a concert pianist by the surgeon who re-attached it.*Damnit*

As Ernst's favourite novel is The 39 Steps, I thought I was going to end up with the same distinguishing feature of missing the top part of my little 'pinkie' like Professor Jordan, who was the villain in The 39 Steps.Irony..LOL.

Ersnty, my lovely lass.X

As Cranny says, the NHS should not be above criticism, it is meant to be there for us not for itself..saw loads of admin and others but few nurses, who were struggling to do their work with few resources.There wasn't even a crepe sling to put my arm in, only a plastic cut up sheet held together with sellotape!

One kind nurse had even stayed after she should have gone home after completing a 12 hour shift just to help an elderly fool like me be calm and comfortable as she could see I was in shock. God Bless them.

24 June 2011 at 09:14  
Blogger dutchlionfrans1953 said...

Obviously also here ´Might makes right,´for these are crimes against humanity committed by judges _ other authoirties, abusing their powers. So where and when will the Lord revenge, since He forbade us to do so? If He had not I would have a field-day purifying the land with the Sword of the Lord in my hand!

How much longer can tyranny by such evil anti-father biased judges be tolerated, when these cursed judges should be prosecuted and HANGED for their crimes against humanity, even abusing their powers of State!

It is appaling to witness what traitors the ´leaders´of the churches are; what ´sons of vipers!´ What hirelings!

3 July 2011 at 01:23  

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