Just yesterday we reported that the Illinois Department of Child Services and Attorney General have launched an investigation into religious groups violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Many Christian organizations receiving state funds for serving as foster care centers do not allow gay parents to adopt, and anti-gay foster parents are accused of forcing their anti-gay beliefs upon children in their care.
Christian groups in our country have a vocal history of at once practicing and defending their homophobia with religious pretenses. Which is all fine and dandy, except for the fact that many of these groups receive federal and state government funding, thus eliminating their right to discriminate under any circumstances. We mentioned yesterday that we expected the Illinois case to be the first of many throughout the country.
Today the British have beat us to the punch. London’s Royal Courts of Justice have ruled that Christians who disapprove of homosexuality may no longer serve as foster parents in the country. The case involved Eunice and Owen Johns (62, 65), a Derby couple who had been raising foster children since the 1990’s. A 2007 routine interview with child care services raised red flags when the couple let loose a torrent of “strong views” on homosexuality being sinful. Four years later, the couple’s religious defense for their intolerance has resulted in all anti-gay Christians being barred from raising wards of the state.
Eunice Johns said Monday that she was “extremely distressed” by the decision, which Christian groups also condemned.
But the judges ruled that Britain was “a secular state, not a theocracy.”
The British are not playing around with discrimination any more. In recent weeks the Church of England was legally ordered to allow gays to marry in churches, and authorities ruled handing out anti-gay pamphlets was in violation of the country’s hate crime laws. Bigots, even Christian bigots who have been traditionally protected in their intolerance by their religion, are waking up to a new way of life – one where equality is the norm.
While these measures may seem dramatic, we can’t say we aren’t pleased with them. Those being targeted by England’s anti-discrimination laws need only stop practicing their homophobic ways in order to appear in the good graces of the courts and their fellow man. Requiring people to stop hating is hardly a lot to ask.