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Source: (consider it) Thread: Anti-Gay Foster Parents Court Case
Barnabas62
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# 9110

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I'm going to give this a bit more time here in Purg, because there is a narrow distinction between discussing the merits of a particular legal decision and discussing the more general subject of the morality and religous viewpoints on homosexuality per se (which is a Dead Horse). But I appreciate that is a pretty fine line to keep to in this case.

Off to consult with the DH and Purg Hosts. My gut feel is that the discussion might actually go better in Dead Horses - where there would be no need to remember the line - but I'll see what the other Hosts think.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host


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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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quote:
Originally posted by Doc Tor:
Many of these cases illustrate an aggressively confrontational attitude by a certain flavour of Christian organisations, determined to create legal exemptions from existing laws. They have pretty much failed across the board to do so, while succeeding in bringing the faith into (further) disrepute.

Quite. They came over terribly on the Today programme interview (which should be available to listen again on the BBC website), constantly avoiding the question by answering it with ‘we would want to teach the child with Love’. I doubt these people understand the harm they do to their cause, but that they do so is poetically just. They keep on stupidly hammering nails in the coffin of religion.

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این نیز بگذرد

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Marvin the Martian

Interplanetary
# 4360

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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
This threatens to create great alienation and division in society at large.

But the alienation and division that anti-gay attitudes and teachings cause is OK? [Roll Eyes]

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Barnabas62
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Well, that was quick. A DH Host had already posted on Host Board recommending a transfer, so I'm doing that now.

Barnabas62
Purgatory Host


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Who is it that you seek? How then shall we live? How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?

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Liopleurodon

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# 4836

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
The point is that they were applying for respite foster care - short term, one or two nights usually. This is not long term foster care, not looking after children for all of their childhood, it is unlikely to be more than a week. So they will have some impact on the childs life, but, in reality, not a great deal. As long as they are not seeking to explicitly teach the children in their care something unacceptable, this should not be an issue.

The court document talks about the question of what they would do at weekends - which is often when respite occurs - and how they would deal with the issue of church. Apparently they go to church twice on a Sunday and were not prepared to take it in turns or miss church on days when they had foster kids with them. They didn't seem to have an answer to how they should deal with this situation. I imagine they wanted to take the kids with them, and that is a big no-no for foster kids who aren't already in that religious tradition. They should have thought about how they would deal with this area of their life. Not having done so is like turning up to a job interview with no idea what the job involves or what the company does.

Fostering is different from having your own kids, in that you take in kids who already have a background, already have a history and a set of beliefs of their own. My guess is that this couple simply didn't convince the assessor that they understood the implications of this, and that's why they were not approved. It's not simply a question of not having the right views on particular issues. A humanist who wasn't prepared to take a Christian child to church would suffer the same fate as a Christian who wasn't prepared to *not* take a non Christian child to church. Understanding where the boundaries are is important. You want to avoid the wannabe foster parents who apply in the hope of "saving" "lost" children by converting them to their particular brand of religion* - and believe me, these people exist. They may not say as much when you interview them, but to an experienced assessor someone who doesn't understand the boundaries wrt religion sets off alarm bells. Not without reason. These kids have little to no say in whose house they're going to spend the night in. They can't walk away from someone who doesn't respect their beliefs.

* When I worked with volunteers mentoring kids in foster care, these people often applied for volunteer posts. We had to filter them out, not because they were religious, but because they just didn't get what the job was about. We also had a good many excellent volunteers who were very religious but understood that they were not there to preach. Faith was not of itself a barrier.

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Yorick

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Yes.

Well said, L.

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این نیز بگذرد

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St. Punk the Pious

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# 683

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It's interesting that those who bitched the most when Melanie Phillips talked about a gay mafia in the UK keep proving her right.

Now if you refuse to bow to (or bend over for) for the gay agenda, you are considered unfit to be parents.

I don't think even the mafia goes that far.

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Yorick

Infinite Jester
# 12169

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Oh, boo hoo. Poor widdle Christian homophobes, not getting your own way with your filthy sexual oppression. [Waterworks]

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این نیز بگذرد

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chukovsky

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# 116

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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:

The point is that they were applying for respite foster care - short term, one or two nights usually. This is not long term foster care, not looking after children for all of their childhood, it is unlikely to be more than a week. So they will have some impact on the childs life, but, in reality, not a great deal. As long as they are not seeking to explicitly teach the children in their care something unacceptable, this should not be an issue.

However long or short a child is in your care, they can bring things up that need deep discussion. Often vulnerable children will tell you a nugget of information - even if you don't know the child that well - at the most inopportune moment. A little girl I volunteer with - for a couple of hours a fortnight - told me her dad was in prison, while we were crossing a very busy road.

So a child comes home from school on a Friday to a respite placement and says "I really like Mary but today the other girls said I'm a dirty lezzer". Or a disabled child who is living with her dad comes for weekend respite (a major category of children needing respite is disabled children who live with their parents most of the time). The child is very excited about being a bridesmaid at dad's civil partnership and wants to spend the whole weekend talking about how much she is going to enjoy it.

Added to this you get the fact that respite carers are often asked to switch to short term or even long term care for particular children if other placements fall through - and I don't see how you can say this will "never come up" for respite carers.

[ 01. March 2011, 13:37: Message edited by: chukovsky ]

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Liopleurodon

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Also bear in mind that a lot of the kids in foster care have been through experiences which have given them rather screwed up attitudes towards sex in the first place, so that they talk, think and act in a sexually precocious way. You may have to look after an eight year old whose experience of life has been that the only way to get attention from an adult is through sex. Obviously it's not the kid's fault; but you will need a clear, calm head for dealing with that kind of situation. You can't simply say "at that age, the issue of sex or sexuality will never come up in conversation." You need to know in advance how you'll deal with it if it does.

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Our God is an awesome God. Much better than that ridiculous God that Desert Bluffs has. - Welcome to Night Vale

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Alogon
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quote:
Originally posted by Spawn:
What is most disturbing about this judgement and others is the extent to which people who were previously pillars of the community are now persona non grata because of their refusal to accede to state-approved views.

I'm sure that expressing any sympathy whatsoever for homosexuals would at one time have sufficed to make one persona non grata as a pillar of the community. This is no longer true, and I for one consider this development to be progress. I'm curious as to what extent, if any, you agree. Do you pine for the days when one could be thrown in jail for "sodomy"?

You speak of state-approved views as though they were purely random, "arbitrary" sentiments with no rationale behind them.

I'm singularly uncomfortable with the word "arbitrary," by the way. It has to be one of the most inherently ironic terms in the English language. We use it to mean random and without any particular reasoning beyond a need to make a decision. But etymologically, it means "like a judge," and we want our judges to be models of circumspection, i.e. seeing an issue from all sides and carefully weighing every consideration. In other words, the very last thing a good judge will be is "arbitrary."

Now let's apply these thoughts to the cases at hand. Children needing foster care are wards of the state. Hence the state has a vital interest and responsibility in determining how they will be treated. Neglecting this responsibility has caused scandals and gotten people rightly fired who should be looking after it.

Children face all kinds of penalties for their behavior short of actual conviction and imprisonment. Threats that a well-adjusted adult would merely laugh at may terrify them. I'm here to say that even the vaguest suggestion of dire consequences for any desire or act (however tentative) of reaching out to another for erotic love, when such conduct is perfectly o.k. for everyone else and all one's peers are living for it, is a heinous miscarriage of justice, and often psychologically warping. It is perfectly in order for the state to prevent its wards from suffering in such an environment. While we can expect minors-- either gay or straight indifferently-- to avoid sexual intercourse, we have no right to expect them to spend their lives in an emotional ice cube, and that is exactly what a homophobic atmosphere imposes. Why are you fine with this?

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Patriarchy (n.): A belief in original sin unaccompanied by a belief in God.

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Louise
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quote:
Originally posted by St. Punk the Pious:
It's interesting that those who bitched the most when Melanie Phillips talked about a gay mafia in the UK keep proving her right.

Now if you refuse to bow to (or bend over for) for the gay agenda, you are considered unfit to be parents.

I don't think even the mafia goes that far.

According to a populus poll for The Times in 2009, 68 per cent of the British public back “full equal rights” for gay men and lesbians. If you cross-check that figure with the Observer poll which included a question on the number of people who have had same-sex contact, the number who claim that is 13%. That's probably larger than the number of people who identify as gay in the population, but even if we take that larger figure as an approximation and knock out the likely number of gay/bisexual people from the 68% approval of equal rights figure in the first poll, that leaves you with about 55%, as a likely figure for the British population who are likely to be gay positive but not gay themselves. So in other words, about 80% of your 'gay mafia' is likely to be straight people, including vast numbers of heterosexual parents.

In other words your 'gay mafia' is mostly made up of the millions of heterosexual people who simply no longer regard anti-gay prejudice as decent. That can no longer be disguised by throwing around misleading terms like 'gay mafia'.

L.

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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Louise, there are times when I want to marry you and have your babies, however much of a biological impossibility that might be.

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Johnny S
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# 12581

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I'm not sure whether my question got missed in the moving of the thread of just avoided out of boredom (which is fair enough) so here it is again, just in case.

quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
The example I used, was not malnourishment but non-stringent hygiene - and the difference between the two examples matters ie. what I'm saying is that a risk that's legal and reasonable for me personally may not be reasonable for the public at large, where there may be people for whom my small risk might be for them a much greater risk and certainly not reasonable for a vulnerable group to whom it would be a huge risk.

I get the distinction between public and personal risk. However, your analogy must assume that it is possible to be at fault in the private arena too.

A parent does not need his/her kitchen to match public hygiene standards, but he/she could be prosecuted if their child was seriously harmed directly due to their negligence in this area.

What would be the equivalent in this situation? I can't see what objective evidence you would use for abuse in an existing family other than either:

a) things already existing in law

or

b) simply that 'my parents believed homosexuality is a sin'.

And if that is the case then I can't see why this belief would need to blacklist potential foster parents either.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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But it's not the belief as such that got them blacklisted, it's the method of implementation.

More to the point, though, is the fact that the duty of care rests with the state, and the state has a positive responsibility to make decisions about placement.

To use the hygiene analogy, a restaurant kitchen gets accredited by a state health inspector. A private kitchen does not.

[ 02. March 2011, 12:06: Message edited by: orfeo ]

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orfeo

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# 13878

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Addendum: I don't think talking about 'blacklisting' is appropriate for that very reason. It conveys the idea, in kitchen terms, of saying 'you will get sick if you eat here'.

Failing to accredit is not blacklisting. It's not a statement that 'you will get sick'. It's a statement that 'we can't give our guarantee that you won't.' It's primarily a protection of the accrediting body, not a condemnation of the person failing to get accredited.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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The whole essence of the case, actually, was that this couple wanted a declaration that something about their lives was irrelevant.

That's a fairly extraordinary proposition from an accreditation or licensing point of view. I honestly can't think of any kind of licensing system where the person seeking a license gets a say in what is or isn't relevant. You might be able to dispute the FACTS, but the criteria that are to be considered are usually spelt out in the law, often in great detail. I should know, I write these criteria a lot of the time.

If the council was left to make an accreditation decision entirely on its discretionary view of 'well, they seem like nice people basically', there would be total uproar.

As there would be in other contexts. Would anyone be happy if an applicant for a driver's license would be able to demand the licence based on their OWN assessment of their driving ability? Or if they got 59% on the written test when the pass mark is 60%, or lost 16 points on the driving test when the law says you can't lose more than 15?

A person might in fact be a perfectly good driver, in the sense that they've never crashed into anyone. But the law sets a test for getting a licence. And if someone slipped that driver a licence when they haven't actually passed the legal requirements, and that driver subsequently DID crash into someone, the victim would be suing the licensing body for all sorts of things.

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Low Treason
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quote:
Originally posted by Schroedinger's cat:
I am about to wade in here with both feet. This is a bad decision, because it does ( both in the press and in terms of what the decision means, even if not in the words of the judgement ) put "human rights" over personal religious views.

Are you seriously suggesting that 'personal religious views' should supersede "human rights"? [Eek!]

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Bran Stark
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quote:
Originally posted by Low Treason:
Are you seriously suggesting that 'personal religious views' should supersede "human rights"? [Eek!]

Well anyone who believes that God is telling him one thing and secular society another thing, and then chooses to follow secular society, is a very strange person indeed. [Smile]

So from the standpoint of individual persons, that view is certainly correct.

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Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
But it's not the belief as such that got them blacklisted, it's the method of implementation.

You are probably right that blacklisted is not the right term, nonetheless I'm confused about what exactly it was about their method of implementation that triggered this case.

It appears that simply saying, "We think homosexuality is wrong," was enough - because however that was implemented might well be harmful to the children.

And if that is the case I can't see why, in the future, parents of their own natural children (if you see what I mean) could not be prosecuted for believing the same thing.

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Alogon
Cabin boy emeritus
# 5513

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Please let us know where in the Bible God tells you to accept a job whose qualifications or duties are immoral and then object to them.

If God tells us to be pacifists, then we become conscientious objectors. We don't join the army and then demand to be exempt from learning how to fire a gun.

I really don't see how this case is much different. The duties include allowing every young ward of the state who may come into your care to seek affection from, and give it to, peers. They do not include singling out some, and not others, for emotional solitary confinement. It totally bewilders me why anyone should believe that God tells them to do the latter, but it seems you have just admitted that those who do should not be foster parents.

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Patriarchy (n.): A belief in original sin unaccompanied by a belief in God.

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Crœsos
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# 238

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
And if that is the case I can't see why, in the future, parents of their own natural children (if you see what I mean) could not be prosecuted for believing the same thing.

Except ath "natural" parents are not assigned their children by the state. Assigning children to foster parents is a state action. Leaving children with their biological parents is a state inaction.

On a broader note, is there any kind of screening that a state can do of religiously held beliefs in cases like this. For example, if an anti-semitic couple were making the same arguments, would we find it plausible that they could raise a child without imparting those beliefs? Especially if they said things like "We are prepared to love and accept any child. All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of [Judaism] was a good thing."

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orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
But it's not the belief as such that got them blacklisted, it's the method of implementation.

You are probably right that blacklisted is not the right term, nonetheless I'm confused about what exactly it was about their method of implementation that triggered this case.

It appears that simply saying, "We think homosexuality is wrong," was enough - because however that was implemented might well be harmful to the children.

And if that is the case I can't see why, in the future, parents of their own natural children (if you see what I mean) could not be prosecuted for believing the same thing.

The Council never actually made a decision on whether or not this couple could be foster parents. They only got as far as 'we'll have to think about this'.

Which is why trying to draw any larger conclusions from this case is a bad idea.

In administrative law terms, the whole thing is a mess and I think the judges showed remarkable fortitude not to just throw the whole thing out to begin with.

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orfeo

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# 13878

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One of the reasons the case was so fundamentally flawed was that this couple were arguing against themselves.

In legal terms, they were seeking a declaration that their religious views were irrelevant to their parenting skills.

In real life, I would bet that they themselves think their religious views are HIGHLY relevant to their parenting. They think it's part of what makes them GOOD parents.

But a court making an administrative law judgment is simply not in a position to declare this. The common law countries positively run away from that kind of decision by courts, because of the doctrine of separation of powers.

They are entitled to have a court ensure that the council's decision is made according to law. They are NOT entitled to have a court ensure that the council gives them a favourable decision.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Except ath "natural" parents are not assigned their children by the state. Assigning children to foster parents is a state action. Leaving children with their biological parents is a state inaction.

I think we have already established that (about 4 times) on this thread.

My question involves joining up the dots between foster parents and biological parents. There is a big difference between those two (as you say, expressed here as action and inaction) but there must be a connection. If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

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Low Treason
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# 11924

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quote:
Originally posted by Bran Stark:
quote:
Originally posted by Low Treason:
Are you seriously suggesting that 'personal religious views' should supersede "human rights"? [Eek!]

Well anyone who believes that God is telling him one thing and secular society another thing, and then chooses to follow secular society, is a very strange person indeed. [Smile]

So from the standpoint of individual persons, that view is certainly correct.

OK, so if God tells me to put you to death, that is perfectly acceptable?

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Johnny S
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# 12581

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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
The Council never actually made a decision on whether or not this couple could be foster parents. They only got as far as 'we'll have to think about this'.

Which is why trying to draw any larger conclusions from this case is a bad idea.

What would be the point of the SOF if we just waited until final decisions were made? [Razz]

More seriously, I understand that the council has not made a final decision. But they have already made a decision - namely that the views of the parents are serious enough to place the final decision on hold.

I think it is highly relevant to discuss that decision. Who knows, discussions like this all over the country, may even impact the final decision.

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iGeek

Number of the Feast
# 777

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quote:
Originally posted by iGeek:
No. Because in that situation the state isn't in the position of having the assess their fitness as parents UNLESS the parents do something which draws that into question.

quote:
Posted by Johnny S
Can you take that a bit further to explain what that might look like? I'm struggling to think of something (in this particular issue) that a parent might do that isn't already covered.

You seem to be talking about emotional and mental damage to children / teenagers which is quite hard to quantify. I'm puzzled as to how, when you applied this to existing families, you wouldn't end up with simply saying that the belief (that homosexuality is a sin) was in and of itself harmful.

I think you're reading something into my post that isn't there.

Parents who have non-foster children are granted wide latitude and autonomy as to how to raise them. The bar is set quite high before the state can step in. Teaching your children to be religious bigots isn't sufficient cause, at least in Texas, USA. Beating them up or sexually abusing them is. Emotional abuse, depending on the nature and severity, might be.

I'm certainly not arguing for the bar to be lowered.

However, once the state *becomes* responsible for the child, the state ought to exercise due diligence in the placement of the child. The state would be remiss not to assess placements based on the state's current criteria for fitness of the parents.

I think the state makes lousy parents. But once it becomes responsible as parents of last resort, this is certainly one criteria I'm happy for it to apply.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by iGeek:

Parents who have non-foster children are granted wide latitude and autonomy as to how to raise them. The bar is set quite high before the state can step in. Teaching your children to be religious bigots isn't sufficient cause, at least in Texas, USA. Beating them up or sexually abusing them is. Emotional abuse, depending on the nature and severity, might be.

I'm certainly not arguing for the bar to be lowered.

But what do you mean by 'religious bigots'? I assume you mean that that would be a good enough reason to prevent fostering children by the state, but not intervention by the state.

Roman Catholics believe that other Christians are not really part of the True Church (TM). Is that religious bigotry? Are you suggesting that all RCs be prevented from fostering? Who gets to define what religious bigotry is?

There is a vagueness in the arguments here that I find troubling.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
Except ath "natural" parents are not assigned their children by the state. Assigning children to foster parents is a state action. Leaving children with their biological parents is a state inaction.

I think we have already established that (about 4 times) on this thread.

My question involves joining up the dots between foster parents and biological parents. There is a big difference between those two (as you say, expressed here as action and inaction) but there must be a connection. If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

No, sorry, there are no dots to join.

The gap between the employment policies of my employer (who happens to be the state) in terms of what I must and must not do in the course of employment, and what the criminal law says I must and must not do in my private life is an ENORMOUS one.

What you're arguing is equivalent to saying that, because my employer says I can't do something as a condition of employment, I can't do it on my own time either.

You seem to be confused because in this particular case the location of employment would be the family home.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
The Council never actually made a decision on whether or not this couple could be foster parents. They only got as far as 'we'll have to think about this'.

Which is why trying to draw any larger conclusions from this case is a bad idea.

What would be the point of the SOF if we just waited until final decisions were made? [Razz]

More seriously, I understand that the council has not made a final decision. But they have already made a decision - namely that the views of the parents are serious enough to place the final decision on hold.

I think it is highly relevant to discuss that decision. Who knows, discussions like this all over the country, may even impact the final decision.

It might be relevant to discuss that 'decision' as a matter of general public interest, but in legal terms it's no decision at all.

Which is why acting as if there has been a court pronouncement on the topic is simply wrong.

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Crœsos
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
I think we have already established that (about 4 times) on this thread.

My question involves joining up the dots between foster parents and biological parents. There is a big difference between those two (as you say, expressed here as action and inaction) but there must be a connection. If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

No, your question involves assuming that the dots have been joined up and going from there. If you see a direct connection, please explain what it is and how you go from one to the other.

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Alogon
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Changing the subject is a standard tactic when one runs out of arguments.

If the topic is same-sex marriage, the same people will make dire predictions that we will be able to marry goats.

I'll worry about someone's marrying a goat on the day I hear the goat say, "I do."

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

No, your question involves assuming that the dots have been joined up and going from there. If you see a direct connection, please explain what it is and how you go from one to the other.
I thought I had pointed to a question (see above).

Yes, as Orfeo says, there is a difference between my employment and my home.

However, I repeat, If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

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Alogon
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

Yes, it is. Horrors! I think it is a defensible position that denying certain young people the right to seek affectional relationships in the only way that means anything to them-- if it goes as far as that-- is abusive.

Some children are in foster care, or living on the streets, in the first place because they are gay, and the parents who should be nurturing them have literally kicked them out of the house, or made life so miserable for them that they have run away. One mother's parting shot (was it mentioned in this thread?) was that she wished she had had an abortion. Others have shipped their "sodomite" kids off against their will to fanatical boot camps designed to "cure" them.

If you had a gay child, how far would you go in restraining his or her behavior to conform to your beliefs?

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Louise
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
[
However, I repeat, If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

Well, some people want it to say this, so they can turn it into 'Shock horror! Teh Gheys are coming to take away our children!' but fostering is not all parenting. It is a highly specialised sub-set of parenting where different and sometimes much more stringent rules apply. Partly the difference is because of its temporary/provisional nature, so a foster parent is expected to not enforce their religion on a child. Partly it's because it's dealing with children who can generally be expected to be in vulnerable states and situations - the more vulnerable the population, the more care needs to be taken in how they are treated. As Alogon says some of these children will be those gay kids who have been kicked out or abused because they are gay, to put children in that situation into an anti-gay household would be to re-abuse them in the guise of taking them to safety.

L.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Crœsos:
quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

No, your question involves assuming that the dots have been joined up and going from there. If you see a direct connection, please explain what it is and how you go from one to the other.
I thought I had pointed to a question (see above).

Yes, as Orfeo says, there is a difference between my employment and my home.

However, I repeat, If the state (bearing in mind, as Orfeo says, no final decision has been made yet) decides that this constitutes grounds for preventing fostering then the state is saying something about all parenting.

Technically true. Except that 'the state' would be one particular council (while some other council might reach an entirely different conclusion). And what 'the state' has done would constitute an opinion that has no force of law whatsoever.

It is completely impossible from this situation, even after a final decision is made, to receive a LEGAL pronouncement that 'having these views about homosexuality is bad' (and equally impossible to receive a legal pronouncement that they are good views). The only possible legal pronouncement is that your views on homosexuality will be taken into account.

Again, I really don't think that this couple, or more to the point their lawyers, thought this through very well. If they had won the case, the declaration would have been that a person's views on sexuality are irrelevant to their parenting skills. Which would have meant, as a general proposition of law, that ANY views on sexuality would be irrelevant. Including ones that this couple and their friends would be horrified by. It would be impossible to exclude people from being foster parents on the grounds that they espoused free love and swinging lifestyles, or would tell kids that being faithful and mongamous is a terrible idea.

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Alogon
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I'm relatively big on the right of parents to propagate their beliefs to their children (which some secularists talk as though they would deny altogether, at least when it comes to any religious beliefs). But there are recognized limits.

If a seriously ill child is denied medical care because the parents are convinced that faith healing will solve the problem, then child protective services might be justified in stepping in. If over a period of days, the child becomes weaker and eventually dies while the parents do nothing but pray, they would be criminally liable for neglect and involuntary manslaughter at least. Does anyone here disagree?

If so much as a trip to the doctor is with-held from a foster child because of the same beliefs, when most parents would take action if only to be on the safe side, shouldn't the state intervene earlier-- or better yet, do well to prevent such people fostering in the first place?

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Alogon:
If you had a gay child, how far would you go in restraining his or her behavior to conform to your beliefs?

It is hard to know even where to begin with a question like this.

If we are talking about children of an age that they could, potentially, be fostered then they are going to be well under the age of consent. I'd be encouraging them to see sex as a good thing but something that can wait until they are mature enough to make their own decisions about it.

Most of all I think I'd try my best to treat them simply as a child, and not as if they had some great label 'gay'.

quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
Well, some people want it to say this, so they can turn it into 'Shock horror! Teh Gheys are coming to take away our children!' but fostering is not all parenting.

Do you put Alogon in this group of 'some people' then?

quote:
Originally posted by Louise:

It is a highly specialised sub-set of parenting where different and sometimes much more stringent rules apply. Partly the difference is because of its temporary/provisional nature, so a foster parent is expected to not enforce their religion on a child. Partly it's because it's dealing with children who can generally be expected to be in vulnerable states and situations - the more vulnerable the population, the more care needs to be taken in how they are treated.

You use the expression 'more stringent'. How is it possible to read that in any other way than the difference is one of degree?

My question involves that degree. If (potentially in the future) all someone has to do to be turned down for fostering is say they believe homosexuality is wrong, I don't see how you can change that by degree - either someone believes this or they don't.

Surely what the council should be considering is evidence of how their beliefs translate into behaviour?

quote:
Originally posted by Orfeo:

Again, I really don't think that this couple, or more to the point their lawyers, thought this through very well. If they had won the case, the declaration would have been that a person's views on sexuality are irrelevant to their parenting skills.

I agree with you that this case is a farce. I agree with others that someone probably put them up to it. I'm not really interested in their legal case since I agree that it is rather a red-herring.

What I'm interested is the decision of the council to put the fostering decision on hold. That, in and of itself, is a significant decision. They wouldn't have asked the questions about sexuality in the first place unless it was part of formally agreed protocol. And then they wouldn't have put a hold on everything unless they were fairly confident that there was a problem here.

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Alogon
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
I'd be encouraging them to see sex as a good thing but something that can wait until they are mature enough to make their own decisions about it.

Who said anything about sex? 13-14 year olds aren't supposed to "have sex" no matter what their orientation, but are allowed to dance, have boyfriends and girlfriends, kiss, probably even date (certainly if they are 15-16). They don't need to hide the fact that they are attracted to one another.

But if it's two boys who want to do this-- oh oh! Sin!

How are they going to live happily and grow up if they are begrudged these experiences, especially when everyone around them is not?

quote:

Most of all I think I'd try my best to treat them simply as a child, and not as if they had some great label 'gay'.


[Votive]

If only everyone showed such common sense and moderation...

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Louise
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Alogon wants to interpret it that way for entirely different reasons which are obvious from his post.

If such a statement was made by a council (which it wasn't) it says that the council thinks it best in terms of giving a safe environment to children in public care (where you have to be safe rather than sorry or be sued), in a temporary relationship, and in unusually vulnerable circumstances. If you're going to read fostering decisions as a statement about all parenting, then you'd need to read the sensitivity which is usually asked of fosterers towards culture/ religion of fostered children to mean disapproval of parents teaching their own culture and religion to children which obviously isn't the case. So therefore even if you want to, I don't think you can read rules for fostering as being about all parenting. They might coincide with things that some of us think are good for all parenting and which some of us don't, but in fact they are addressing a different and specific situation.


L

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Alogon:
Who said anything about sex? 13-14 year olds aren't supposed to "have sex" no matter what their orientation, but are allowed to dance, have boyfriends and girlfriends, kiss, probably even date (certainly if they are 15-16). They don't need to hide the fact that they are attracted to one another.

That was my point. The couple in question said that sex was only for marriage. I get the impression that they wouldn't encourage much physical contact whether gay or straight. The council might consider them rather prudish and unsuitable for that, but that is not necessarily because of their views on homosexuality per se.

Considering all that I could understand the council making the decision to consider this couple unsuitable for fostering teenagers who have self-identified as gay - especially those who have left home because of it. But that is not the same as wondering if they are suitable to foster at all - rather it is surely something that a social worker could make a call on when it came to fostering. Surely that would only be considered if the majority of children needing fostering were gay.

Again, it comes down to how their beliefs translate into practice.

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
If you're going to read fostering decisions as a statement about all parenting, then you'd need to read the sensitivity which is usually asked of fosterers towards culture/ religion of fostered children to mean disapproval of parents teaching their own culture and religion to children which obviously isn't the case.

That is a fair point, although I'd quibble about the 'obviously'.

When parents foster they are not required to deny their culture or religion either. I fully agree that short-term foster care for damaged children needs to be stable. If the foster parents were to impose their religion and culture on such children it would be harmful. The foster parents need to view these children as guests rather than offspring.

However, as in this case, I'd argue that there is a difference between having strong religious and cultural values and imposing them on these children.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
If (potentially in the future) all someone has to do to be turned down for fostering is say they believe homosexuality is wrong...

False premise. The council pointed out during the case that they have many foster carers who are devout Christians or Muslims. They just know how to keep some of their opinions to themselves when caring for a child on a short-term basis. What they DO with their belief is different to what this couple said they would DO.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by Alogon:
Who said anything about sex? 13-14 year olds aren't supposed to "have sex" no matter what their orientation, but are allowed to dance, have boyfriends and girlfriends, kiss, probably even date (certainly if they are 15-16). They don't need to hide the fact that they are attracted to one another.

That was my point. The couple in question said that sex was only for marriage. I get the impression that they wouldn't encourage much physical contact whether gay or straight. The council might consider them rather prudish and unsuitable for that, but that is not necessarily because of their views on homosexuality per se.

Considering all that I could understand the council making the decision to consider this couple unsuitable for fostering teenagers who have self-identified as gay - especially those who have left home because of it. But that is not the same as wondering if they are suitable to foster at all - rather it is surely something that a social worker could make a call on when it came to fostering. Surely that would only be considered if the majority of children needing fostering were gay.

Again, it comes down to how their beliefs translate into practice.

Did you read in the judgment about the other ways they proposed to translate their beliefs into practice?

They included refusal to take a child to a mosque, and refusal to give up going to church twice on Sundays despite the fact that most respite care occurs on weekends.

I think it was entirely reasonable for the council to feel that their suitability IN GENERAL was questionable. There was a consistent pattern of refusing to budge from any of their own usual behaviours to consider the different needs of a child.

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Jahlove
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:

Considering all that I could understand the council making the decision to consider this couple unsuitable for fostering teenagers who have self-identified as gay - especially those who have left home because of it. But that is not the same as wondering if they are suitable to foster at all - rather it is surely something that a social worker could make a call on when it came to fostering. Surely that would only be considered if the majority of children needing fostering were gay.


The views of parents/caregivers on *Group X* can also influence how a non-*Group X* child views/treats *Group X*.

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Liopleurodon

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quote:
Originally posted by Louise:
Well, some people want it to say this, so they can turn it into 'Shock horror! Teh Gheys are coming to take away our children!' but fostering is not all parenting. It is a highly specialised sub-set of parenting where different and sometimes much more stringent rules apply. Partly the difference is because of its temporary/provisional nature, so a foster parent is expected to not enforce their religion on a child. Partly it's because it's dealing with children who can generally be expected to be in vulnerable states and situations - the more vulnerable the population, the more care needs to be taken in how they are treated. As Alogon says some of these children will be those gay kids who have been kicked out or abused because they are gay, to put children in that situation into an anti-gay household would be to re-abuse them in the guise of taking them to safety.

L.

Wot Louise said. Different kids, different situations, different job. Also: there are lots of lousy incompetent parents out there. Kids are only taken away from parents as an absolute last resort, however, because the experience of being removed from your parents is itself traumatic. Many kids who've suffered horrific abuse still don't want to go, because they've bonded with their parents nonetheless. Not to mention that the care system tends not to create great outcomes for kids either. So you need a damn good reason to take them away. The approval process for foster carers is different. It's about acknowledging that the experiences of being taken from your parents and handed over to strangers is unavoidably horrible, so every step needs to be taken to avoid making it any worse. You need to be more competent, patient and sensitive to be a good foster carer than to be an acceptable parent. Therefore the bar is set higher. Moreover, deciding that someone shouldn't be approved as a foster carer doesn't traumatise the kids that they don't yet have - deciding that someone isn't a fit parent traumatises everyone.

Even in the case of animals, the RSPCA isn't going to give you a dog if you live in a high rise flat with no garden, but if you get a dog from elsewhere and keep it in that flat they won't take it away unless you mistreat it. Same basic principle.

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Haydee
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quote:
Originally posted by Johnny S:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
But it's not the belief as such that got them blacklisted, it's the method of implementation.

You are probably right that blacklisted is not the right term, nonetheless I'm confused about what exactly it was about their method of implementation that triggered this case.

It appears that simply saying, "We think homosexuality is wrong," was enough - because however that was implemented might well be harmful to the children.

And if that is the case I can't see why, in the future, parents of their own natural children (if you see what I mean) could not be prosecuted for believing the same thing.

As I said a number of times to Saul ( [brick wall] ), why not read the judegment? Including the point where the social worker asked how they would support young people in the following situations:
1 Someone who is confused about their sexuality and thinks they may be gay.

2 A young person who is being bullied in school regarding their sexual orientation.

3 A young person who bullies others regarding the above.

4 Someone in their care whose parents are gay

They weren't able to give examples of what, in practice, they might do or say to support the child. it wasn't saying "we think homosexuality is wrong" that caused concerns.

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Curiosity killed ...

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But JohnnyS, the majority of children that this couple might foster are not Christian. This couple had said in the paperwork considered for the judgement that they are not going to forego up going to church twice a Sunday if they are fostering. According to this paperwork, they are not even prepared for the husband to go to one service and the wife to another so they can stay at home and not take the foster child to a church. It's not just about homosexuality.

Children in challenging circumstances, ie those children who are fostered, can exhibit very challenging and sexualised behaviour. Children can and do start having sex at 11 voluntarily -they may have been sexually abused from much younger. Children can and do have an understanding that they are not interested in the opposite sex at very young age. The hormones that start puberty are working in the body before the obvious signs - aged 8 is within normal ranges. Working in primary school, most of the year 6 girls - so aged 10-11 - are already obviously going through puberty, with sexual awareness, periods and breasts. I'm 5'2", most of the year 6 girls are taller than I am - they stand next to me and compare.

What makes you so sure that foster carers will not be dealing with sexuality, both heterosexual and homosexual?

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Johnny S
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
They included refusal to take a child to a mosque, and refusal to give up going to church twice on Sundays despite the fact that most respite care occurs on weekends.

I think it was entirely reasonable for the council to feel that their suitability IN GENERAL was questionable. There was a consistent pattern of refusing to budge from any of their own usual behaviours to consider the different needs of a child.

Yes, and for that reason it looks like they probably aren't suitable as foster parents. In which case it has very little to do with their views on homosexuality.

And to be fair to you Orfeo, you have pretty much maintained that throughout this thread.

Posts: 6834 | From: London | Registered: Apr 2007  |  IP: Logged



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