Who is fit to parent?
A Christian couple have had their application to adopt two boys they were foster parents to turned down, and are now claiming that they are being persecuted for holding “anti-gay” views.
The couple fostering the children had been told that a couple had been found to adopt the boys. But two days later, when they heard that the couple in question were two gay men, they put forward their own adoption application, stating it would be the “best option for them and their emotional wellbeing.” The couple had made a previous application to adopt the boys, which was turned down on the grounds that their family home was too small, which they accepted at the time.
Describing themselves as “a normal couple”, they wrote to their local council, stating “We are Christians and we expressed the view that a child needs a mother and father. We love everyone (regardless of sexual orientation) and we love the children and believe that they would benefit from the foundation offered by a mother and a father,”.
They continued that they had “not expressed homophobic views, unless Christian beliefs are, by definition, homophobic.”
Their local council then responded to the couple, telling them “having heard that the prospective adopters were a same-sex couple you shared some opinions in relation to this proposed placement which are concerning and which would not enable the service to progress an inquiry to be assessed as prospective adopters, as these views could be detrimental to the long-term needs of the children.”
In steps Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre and Chief Executive of the anti-LGBT group Christian Concern (no show without Punch). Williams, who has a past record of championing heterosexual ‘traditional’ marriage and condemning and fighting same-sex marriage and parenting, stated that she and the Christian Legal Centre were standing by the couple and affirmed “This couple’s viewpoint is lawful and mainstream.”
Interviewed by Maajid Nawaz on LBC Radio, Williams claimed that studies proved that children were best brought up by a mother and father (married of course), but when asked to provide a source for these studies, she failed to give a reference to any UK-based scientific research, instead making reference to a single, obscure, Christian-based source from the USA, and skirted round the question. When Maajid Nawaz further pressed her that her views would also logically preclude single parents, she equally side-stepped that question. Frankly, Maajid (a lovely, very handsome young man, who is a reformed Islamist extermist ~ I would dears, in a New York minute) had her tied in knots and getting extremely flustered. It was a treat to listen to.
Andrea Williams claimed that the couple had not put tried to make an ideological stance on this case. I utterly refute that, but even if they had not, it is pretty obvious that Williams certainly is doing so. But then she has a past track record of jumping in with her twisted bigotry, which pays little or no regard to children she may be harming in the process.
By their own words and actions, as far as I can see from the scarce information available, the couple have condemned themselves. Their very use of the term “normal couple” should be enough to set off alarm bells in anyone’s head, because that strongly infers that same-sex couples are not normal. They only acted to adopt the boys two days after being told adoptive parents had been found, and only then when they were told that the propective parents were two gay men. And they made this application despite previously being told, and accepted, that their family home was too small to adopt the children. Terms like “ we expressed the view that a child needs a mother and father” and “they would benefit from the foundation offered by a mother and a father” certainly suggest that a same-sex couple could not offer the same support and foundation of that of a heterosexual couple.
They can claim “We love everyone (regardless of sexual orientation)” and they had “ not expressed homophobic views” all they want, but that sounds too much to me like the person who says “I’m not a racist, but…”
And no, Christian views are not by definition homophobic. Far from it, if Jesus ever existed, then he never, not once, made any reference to anyone’s sexuality. But what I will say is that there are many ‘Christians’ ~ including this couple, and the odious Andrea Williams ~ who concentrate too much on the Old Testament while paying too little attention to the man whom they claim is their saviour. The same man who allegedly told his people not to judge, accepted all, and turned away none.
As for her part, I am not afraid to call Andrea Williams out as a bare-faced liar right here and now. According to Premier.org.uk, Williams stated “They (the Christian couple) said immediately we want to look after them”. This is not so. Again, the couple did not act until two days later, and again, only when that the children may be placed with a same-sex couple. So hardly “immediately”. This is not the first time I have caught a ‘Christian’ blaspeming their own faith by breaking the Ninth Commandment, and “lying for Jesus”. In fact, the more conservative the Christian, the more common it becomes, to the point I have come to expect it.
In the LBC interview, Maajid Nawaz was of the view that just because people hold illiberal opinions, that should not preclude them from fostering or adopting children, and went further to say that as children are naturally prone to rebel, it does not follow that any child will share the views of the parents. I would agree, to an extent. However, we are not talking merely about political or ideological views here, but religious indoctrination and brainwashing. I have seen too much of it to ever be convinced that a strict religious upbringing does not have an effect upon the views of children; I happen to know of a anti-Catholic sectarian street preacher from Kirkcaldy, Fife, whose own two sons are as equally brainwashed and bigoted as he is.
And Maajid Nawaz himself is an interesting case in point. He had an upbringing in a traditionally conservative Muslim home. His own rebellion took the form of throwing himself into Islamist extremism, for which he spent five years in an Egyptian prison. Having worked with Amnesty International, he turned his back on that and turned right around, now holding very liberal views. Yet he remains a devout follower of Islam; a religion which holds some very disturbing, illiberal views on LGBT+ people.
Even from a political / ideological viewpoint, children will often follow in the footsteps of their parents. My grandad was a communist. My dad was a socialist (although became a bigoted old bastard in his latter years). To this day I describe myself as “slightly to the left of Leon Trotsky”. I am a diehard socialist, proud to be one, and I learned much of that from my father. By equal measure, one could hardly ever see Carol Thatcher carrying the banner, left breast bared, leading the revolution, could one?
So certainly, having views which are illiberal or controversial should not be a barrier to fostering or adopting ~ within limits. How many of the thugs running about with the EDL/SDL or Britain First came from parents who hold equally bigoted views? Quite a few I would venture.
As we say in Scotland, “Fools and bairns spik at the cross whit they hear by the ingleside.”, and if a local authority feel that anyone is unfit to parent a child because they fear that child may be indoctrinated with hate speech, which may manifest itself in a dangerous form later in life, then I for one would have to agree with them. In effect, authorities who make such bans are only saving the children from future heartache of perhaps ending up in court, or even in prison.
So who is fit to be a parent? The Christian couple and Andrea Williams openly state that it is only heterosexual same-sex married couples. That got me to thinking; but what if it was two straight men or two straight women who merely shared a house, and brought up a child, would Andrea Williams complain about that? Did she ever have a complaint about the movie “Three Men and a Baby”, it’s sequel “Three Men and a Little Lady”, or the US sitcom “My Two Dads” (apart from how bloody awful all of the above were ~ Charlie Sheen, what were you thinking?)? If she ever did object to these things, I’ve certainly never heard her saying so. Ah, but then, the characters in them were all heterosexual.
And that got me to thinking further; traditionally just who did bring up children? Did all children historically have the upbringing of a mother and father? Guess what? For the most part, no, they did not.
Among the working class of the UK, it was largely mothers who brought up the children. And when I say mothers, I emphasise the plural. It was certainly a truth, even in my lifetime, that mothers rallied together and helped each other out. As kids we were all in and out of each other’s houses, and every mum treated the children of others as their own, and looked after them as needed. Most fathers were the breadwinners, often working long hours, whom the children rarely got to see and had little contact with; another reason why mothers turned to each other, because they had no-one else to turn to.
And even among the middle and moneyed classes, it was not a matter of children ‘benefiting’ form the upbringing of a mother and father. Middle class fathers were in professions which often involved them working long hours, while those further up capitalist ladder would often be away to meetings or even out of the country. As to the children themselves, many were brought up in their formative years by nannies or au pairs, before being shipped off to boarding schools, where they spent most of the year being supervised by all male or all female staff, depending on whether they were at a boys or girls school. I don’t hear many religites shouting blue bloody murder about girls being brought up in all-female convent schools, do you?
So, having seen that side of it, I wondered if there was ever an instance when men brought the kids up. Yes, there was one, and it was right here in bonny Scotland. From the late 19th to the early 20th century, the city of Dundee became famous for it’s three main industries; “Jam, Jute, and Journalism”. Of these three industries, it was only the latter which was an all-male preserve. The jam works and the jute mills which covered Dundee employed women almost exclusively. Because it was women who were the breadwinners ~ and who controlled the purse strings ~ it was the fathers who stayed at home and looked after the children. Dundee women of the time condescendenly referred to their husbands as the “tea bilers” (boilers). Aye, you don’t like it when the boot’s on the other foot, do you fellas? Like working class women, these men had to rely upon each other in their community to help with and look after their children. No-one could ever say that any Dundonian ever suffered from being brought up by an entire community of “dads”.
And that is of course before I get to women (or men) who were widowed by the rampant disease of the past, industrial accidents which were all too common, or indeed war, and who ended up single parents (funny how single mums often get castigated, but if their partners died in war they are ‘heroe’s, isn’t it?) as a result. Again, this was overwhelmingly women, and again it was other women, other mothers, they turned to for help, who were only too happy to offer that help, to welcome the children of others into their homes, and look after them like they were their own. Indeed, even of those servicemen who survived, they were often away for years, while mums were left to bring up the kids by themselves, and with the help of other mothers in the same boat as them.
Despite many more women working today, and some men becoming “househusbands” (hate that term – a homemaker is a homemaker, regardless of gender, and it’s one of the hardest jobs in the world), this community spirit between women survives in many places to this day. Nature teaches us that the majority of species have a nurturing instinct in the female of the species. Why then should it be any different for Homo Sapiens Sapiens? It is still true that women will rally around each other where needed, and above all, they will instinctively protect children, even those of others, and even if that means putting themselves in a place of danger in the process. Women are indeed strong, and they are never stronger (or more vindictive) where the welfare of a child ~ any child ~ is involved.
Yet men can and often do demonstrate similar instincts. The example of Dundee proves this, as do the dad’s who want to (and sometimes do) lay out the referee at a sports match who cards their kid, or the dad of the kid who has just fouled their kid. I’m not for one moment condoning such behaviour, but it does display an instinct to defend and protect. It would also be a sorry excuse for a man who could ever turn away from a child in need or danger. Indeed, do not the traditionally male roles in the armed forces, the police, and the fire service underline this need to nurture and protect?
Therefore, the claim that a child needs the input from both male and female parents is clearly a false one, for the simple reason that it has rarely happened. And Andrea Williams and those of her ilk need not worry about children same-sex parenting, because for generations of countless millions of children, that has always been the norm. Probably even for you reading this. Probably even for Andrea Williams.