I’ve just watched a news article about the “end of the battle” between state and church over the issue of adoption centres allowing gay couples to adopt. Now, I’m not normally one to rant about political issues, indeed I generally avoid anything political, but I’m afraid I just couldn’t resist this time, something had to be said, even if only so that I could get it off my chest. I must point out right at the beginning, however, that I don’t purport to know all the details, nor do I stand on any experience or authority in what I write here, this is simply me writing my mind. Feel free to read, comment, or ignore at your discretion.
As far as I can tell, the issue lies with adoption centres run by the Church, primarily the Catholic Church, and the conflict of belief with law. The Bible clearly states its disapproval of homosexuality, no argument there – the difficulty comes when applying it to our own lives and living it out in reality. Interpretation, culture, society and history have all had a part in shaping our views on this somewhat controversial issue, some for good and some not.
For me the saddest part is that it is no longer an issue about right and wrong, but about rights and discrimination. We are not dealing with morality here, but with ideals and cultural acceptability. According to this new legislation, the Church will be frowned upon if it discriminates against gay couples, regardless of what the Church believes, and regardless of whether (belief aside) homosexuality is morally right or not – it just doesn’t come into the equation.
Let’s look at it from the standpoint of the Church, then, and see where we end up. Christian adoption centres are set up with the primary function of finding parents for children, but it goes beyond that. The link with the church is not just in the name, nor in the people who run the centre, but in the way they seek to do their business. Those with a heart for God’s work, those who are running these adoption centres, would of course be understandably disinclined to let a child live with parents who were obviously and publicly living a life that was, according to scripture, sinful and damaging. I’m not specifically referring to any sin in particular, but rather taking a more general view first. If a couple appears unsuitable because of the way they live their life, that should be a good enough reason for the adoption centre to reject their application. The problem comes when the state dictates to the church what is an ‘unsuitable way of life’.
This unsavoury situation is not something unexpected, however, many have seen this sort of thing coming for years. While this nation was growing up the state and the Church were inextricably connected, which meant above all that the Church was treated with respect and honour (even when it was wrong, but that’s another story). However, as society has evolved it has tried to reject its upbringing, shedding the ties with the Church and holding itself as the new authority. It was only a matter of time before something began to boil and Christians started to be persecuted once more.
It is truly ironic that a culture so obsessed with equality, rights, freedom and tolerance should find itself being intolerant of those it is accusing. We haven’t suddenly changed our views, they have been the same for thousands of years, it is our present-day society that has suddenly decided it disagrees with us. Not only does it disagree, but it refuses to allow us to carry out what we believe. That, my friends, is intolerance – the active persecution of anyone who does not conform to your own beliefs.
There may be many ways of reacting to this situation, one of which is to ignore the problem and hope it goes away. As attractive as that may seem, I doubt it will solve anything. We could, as a Church, adapt to our society, change our beliefs, update our policies, move with the times, become the sort of Church the world wants us to be. But that would be a travesty – the Church does not serve society, but God. Another alternative is to stand by our beliefs, to continue living our lives publicly and privately the way we know we should. This is bound to cause friction, because of course we would then be directly opposing society, and now the state as well.
The outlook does look rather bleak. But then as Christians we were never going to have life easy. Throughout history we have been persecuted, pushed down, attacked. Now, finally, that fight has come to our doorsteps. How we as Christians respond to this is bound to have an affect both on our own life and the lives of those around us. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to tell people what they should and shouldn’t believe, that’s not my place, but neither am I going to let society tell me what I am allowed to believe.
Finally, then, an injection of reality. If I wanted to take out a loan, I would first have to agree to the terms and conditions for that loan. If I went to a different bank, they would quite probably have different terms and conditions. With me so far? If one bank accepts your application and the other doesn’t do we kick up a fuss and take the bank to court? Of course not, we just accept that different banks operate in different ways and take out the loan with the bank that accepts you. Why, then, should it be any different with gay couples adopting? If a Catholic adoption centre rejects you based on its terms and conditions (i.e. the Bible), I suggest you go to an adoption centre with different terms and conditions!
That’s all from me on this for now. If you really want to debate with me about homosexuality and the church, it’s probably best to do it in person, otherwise this page will fill up fast…