I'm thinking confusion is probably the wrong word in the title but I have only had one cup of coffee this very morning and my head is deeply congested. The trees for the forrest analogy I wanted to use wasn't working either. Also if I was speaking instead of typing that would have been, 'by heb id deebly condested' so bear with me.
Now I read the following story this morning and was struck almost immediately with confusion and botheration.
As the world and it's mother knows I have gay friends and I love them dearly. For the record, being an frightful agnostic, I don't believe in god, I don't think the bible is the literal word of anyone, I don't believe in discrimination on sexual orientation and I get a deep pain in my inner ring piece when I read something like 'gays CHOOSE to be gay'. Right, that's like saying I chose to have delightful ankles. I didn't, I was born this way.
Are we all clear?
But I am old and I am from the country and I went to a catholic boarding school, a nifty combination that means I have dealt with all manner of weird folk who have differing view on things. And the older I get the more I accept that is the way the world works and there's just no point in getting all het up about shit like that. Pick your battles. If someone say something stupid in front of you pull them on it. If someone emails you with contrary views, pull them on it. If someone makes another suffer because of how they are, speak up.
But what if there was no cause for action. What if a person thought a certain way, did not act on it, and were too old to be any different? What if everything about them was gold star, except for one ridiculous view.
Let me give you a quick glimpse into my botheration today.
From that bloody addictive rag the Mail....
"They are devoted foster parents with an unblemished record of caring for almost 30 vulnerable children.
But Vincent and Pauline Matherick will this week have their latest foster son taken away because they have refused to sign new sexual equality regulations.To do so, they claim, would force them to promote homosexuality and go against their Christian faith.
The 11-year-old boy, who has been in their care for two years, will be placed in a council hostel this week and the Mathericks will no longer be given children to look after.
The devastated couple, who have three grown up children of their own, became foster parents in 2001 and have since cared for 28 children at their home in Chard, Somerset.
Earlier this year, Somerset County Council's social services department asked them to sign a contract to implement Labour's new Sexual Orientation Regulations, part of the Equality Act 2006, which make discrimination on the grounds of sexuality illegal.Officials told the couple that under the regulations they would be required to discuss same-sex relationships with children as young as 11 and tell them that gay partnerships were just as acceptable as heterosexual marriages.
They could also be required to take teenagers to gay association meetings.
When the Mathericks objected, they were told they would be taken off the register of foster parents.
The Mathericks have decided to resign rather than face the humiliation of being expelled.
Mr Matherick, a 65-year-old retired travel agent and a primary school governor, said: "I simply could not agree to do it because it is against my central beliefs.
"We have never discriminated against anybody but I cannot preach the benefits of homosexuality when I believe it is against the word of God."
Mrs Matherick, 61, said they had asked if they could continue looking after their foster son until he is found a permanent home, but officials refused and he will be placed in a council hostel on Friday.
She said: "He was very upset to begin with. We are all very close, but he's a mature young man and he's dealing with it."
The couple, who have six grandchildren and one greatgrandchild, are both ministers at the nonconformist South Chard Christian Church.
When they first started fostering they took in young single mothers and their babies.
More recently they have been caring for children of primary school age.
Mr Matherick added: "It's terrible that we've been forced into this corner. It just should not happen.
"There are not enough foster carers around anyway without these rules.
"They were saying that we had to be prepared to talk about sexuality with 11-year-olds, which I don't think is appropriate anyway, but not only that, to be prepared to explain how gay people date. They said we would even have to take a teenager to gay association meetings.
"How can I do that when it's totally against what I believe?"
Now A part of me wants to say why doesn't he just sign the bloody thing and why on earth doesn't he understand that being gay is no more against the word of god than being black or curly haired. But then I thought more of it.
These people are deeply committed christians and as unpalatable as their view on homosexuality might be, they have their opinions and their faith and they live by their christian beliefs- which in itself is no bad thing. There is a lot of good in religious folk and I think ANYONE who takes on the difficult and generous task of raising a foster child is a special sort of person. Also these people are in their 60s and are hardly going to change the way they think at this stage ow are they?
Then there is their track record. They appear by all accounts a genuinely loving couple who have opened their home up time and time again to help children in dire need of love and stability, and this is how they are repaid? One aspect of their beliefs has been singled out and they are being punished for it.
How many families openly discuss a gay lifestyle with their children? How many families discuss any sort of sexual lifestyle with their 11 year old children? Is there such a wealth of foster families willing to take on older children in Britain that the foster services are happy to remove a child due to his other wise exemplary Christian foster parents being unwilling or unable to go against their firmly held beliefs?
I would have called CG but he's on his way out of the country, so I called FG instead.
'French Gay!' I said.'I need your opinion on something.'
'Oo iz thees?'
'Fatbabbycab? Alorzzz... snorg snorg snog...'
Anyway the French brat finally stopped laughing long enough to give consideration to my question. What did he think?
And he thought that the poor child was then one to lose out, that he's being removed from a loving home of two years with two people who cared for his well being and development, he thought his own parents didn't foster a great tolerance for the being gay but they just had to put up with it and they mellowed later in life. He thought most families did not do a whole lot of talking about sexual matter with their children apart from the rudimentary 'be safe and don't come home pregnant/get a girl pregnant'. He thought a stable home was more important than to be a pawn of a liberal council and he wondered aloud about the future of this boy when he was removed from his home of two years and plonked into a hostel and questioned how that bettered the life of that child.
'But don't you think they should talk to him about a gay lifestyle?'
'Offf, if 'e is gay 'e weel findz out 'eimself, non?'
'Probably. Thanks dahling.'
'Sorg sorg, you soundz 'orrible.'
So anyhoo, there we have it. On the one hand these christians have funny views on stupid things on the other, they have good hearts and a willingness to live and love and nourish a fledgling person.
I know which one I'd rather support.
How 'bout you?
Labels: Your bishop to my knight.