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We are in this moral maze purely because of the increasing involvement of the State in all areas of personal discrimination. Discrimination (the ability to pick and choose what makes sense to you as an individual) is part of our survival instinct as human beings. Once the State is involved it isists on a 'one size fits all equality. Homosexuality is not equal - it is different. It should not be penalised or persecuted but it is against Religious Law, Natural Law and against plain common sense. So reduce the involvement of the State and let Golf Clubs, Guest Houses and Churches, pick and choose who they will or will not deal with.

This whole argument is very depressing.

I would put this on a par with the ridiculous 'religious hatred' bill notion that was passed recently.

NuLabour believe we are all bigots who must be controlled by nanny. Nanny must legislate for us all to hold hands and sing happy clappy songs. Without government, how on earth would us poor idiots get along?

In fact, I, a young gay man, work with a deeply Christian, happily married, older one. We get along. People do.

But he thinks I would be happier married, and I think, like Voltaire, that catholicism, where you first summon your God then eat him, is a croc of nonsense. We are quite aware of peoples views. But we get along. People do. People tolerate each other, and they have the right to expect the government not to interfere with their own morality.

This law just pushes government into the sphere of legislating for private thoughts and beliefs, and I don't see how anyone who calls themselves Conservative, regardless of your views on gay marriage (which there is a legitimate debate on), can support this intolerant intrusion by the state.

RodS is absolutely right. We can now do away with all these laws.

If people discriminated against coloured people or women they would simply go somewhere else and the racists would lose business. Any way, if you were black would you want to do business with a racist?


Indeed, Rod. Most of us discriminate on a daily basis. We discriminate, for example, in favour of family, friends, neighbours etc., all of which has knock on effects on people who don't fall into those categories. So, there is nothing wrong with discrimination per se.

The real questions are (a) is a particular form of discrimination unfair and (b) if so, should it be prohibited by law?

I suppose TomTom thinks we'll all be speaking German soon? What they can't accomplish in war they struggle for in peace.

Posted by: CDM | January 29, 2007 at 11:44

Being bi-cultural German myself I have no problem with speaking German but cannot understand what your silly aside is referring to.

Why must you go on about the war ? what has Germany to do with Iraq ? Or are you dusting off your childhood memories of your days in The Blitz hugging your teddy bear ?

Thank you 1AM.

Agnostic teaching doesn't claim to be guided by a higher being: Mark, this is an irrelevant quibble

Michael, theories based on knowledge change as evidence emerges. But what causes the word of God to change? That question is completely relevant because it is the word of God that informs the Catholic Church’s position on this subject.

This argument is basically the death knell of liberalism because "any consequence for others" (e.g. the amorphous concept of "giving offence") gives an excuse for state intervention....

Where to draw the line? Refusing to deal with a particular type of person is, for me, on the wrong side of the line. You’re exaggerating to say that is death of liberalism.

But Londoner, you defend the right of the Catholic adoption agencies to 'discriminate' even when their discrimination is contrary to the best interests of the child. None of us would have a problem with those situations (the overwhelming majority of adoptions) where their discrimination happens to coincide with the child's best interests.

And Londoner, it really is a triumph of hope over expectation to expect me (or anyone else) to accept an argument simply because it demands majority support according to an opinion poll. Come, come, you surely know me better than that? ;-)

This thread has been hijacked by a load of discontents who didn't support me becoming leader in the first place.

Fortunately the party still has plenty of supporters who believe that winning the next election is what matters - well it matters to me and my chums.

(Let's hope they can't work out that since >80% of our laws now come directly or indirectly from the European Commission we couldn't actually change anything that matters.)

A welcome blast of restrained common sense from 1AM.

Gareth, if you reread my post in response to your misplaced analogy between suttee and the attitude of the Catholic Church in this case, you will see that it is not a bald assertion. One case imvolves very clear and obvious physical harm to an individual against their will. The other does not for the reasons I gave.....not to mention the additional arguments raised by Londoner. Let's face it, what this is really about is not doing the best one can for children in care but about anti-clerical secularists using the criminal law to ram down the throat of a hated minority a principle that they know that they reject. No different in fact from fining Catholics for non-attendance at Protestant services in Tudor times.

Gareth says: "The principle I was attacking was the one put forward by Londoner, that religious belief ought to be sufficient to gain exemption from the law."

I never said that. I think the law should try to take account of diverse religious beliefs, but clearly that's not the only factor. What I did say was that it was liberal to have respect for others' religious beliefs, and therefore entirely consistent to be both liberal and against these regulations. I have also said that I think any agency should be allowed to discriminate in favour of opposite sex couples, whether based on religious belief or not (as you may possibly recall from last Thursday).

But I have no problem, Gareth, with you accusing me of muddled thinking and do not think it rude. I am gratified by others, however, thinking that it was not justified.

(P.S. Gareth, I do not know you very well, but I used to know you a little and observed you further. You are obviously too modest in your own assessment of the public profile of local politicians/candidates in a certain London borough.)

[email protected] "Any adoption can only proceed when an independent social worker and a Judge think that the proposed match is in the best interests of the child concerned."

Those of you who are more interested in the welfare of the child than that of the adoptive parent may be interested to know that Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has submitted early day motion 626 in the house of commons that says, "that this House notes that local authorities and their staff are incentivised to ensure that children are adopted; is concerned about increasing numbers of babies being taken into care, not for the safety of the infant, but because they are easy to get adopted; and calls urgently for effective scrutiny of care proceedings to stop this from happening."
If you want to read more about this subject go to John Hemming's blog at http://johnhemming.blogspot.com/

[email protected] "Any adoption can only proceed when an independent social worker and a Judge think that the proposed match is in the best interests of the child concerned."

Those of you who are more interested in the welfare of the child than that of the adoptive parent may be interested to know that Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming has submitted early day motion 626 in the house of commons that says, "that this House notes that local authorities and their staff are incentivised to ensure that children are adopted; is concerned about increasing numbers of babies being taken into care, not for the safety of the infant, but because they are easy to get adopted; and calls urgently for effective scrutiny of care proceedings to stop this from happening."
If you want to read more about this subject go to John Hemming's blog at http://johnhemming.blogspot.com/

Lol, Londoner! Fair enough. I'm glad you weren't offended by that description of your thinking and can assure you that no offence was intended.

Mr McGowan, I certainly think that this case involves hatred of a minority although, needless to say, not the minority you identify.

Mark, all you are saying is that you despise religion because it is not based on "knowledge" and it is therefore presumptively "worse" than agnosticism. This is a purely moral preference. Nothing rational about it yet you elevate it to some kind of objective truth, when it is purely an assertion. Especially odd because much agonistic teaching (e.g. Darwinism, the origins of the universe) is based on surmise backed up by very limited evidence. Nothing wrong with that but it has its limitations. Some years ago, I read a rather convincing essay by the late Archbishop Ramsay on why he could believe in Christ's Resurrection. Of course he couldn't prove it but it was well-informed surmise....just like many agnostic doctrines.

Why should people be compelled to deal with other people? What if people dislike other people? Your argument reduces the private sphere of life to zero. Presumably, it is omniscient people like you who sit in judgment on the rest of us and tell us what are "acceptable" likes and dislikes? Why are your likes and dislikes rational and those of other people prejudiced?

The consequence of an exception for the Catholic Church would be that the State would effectively be saying “they’ve got a point, gays don’t deserve equal treatment”.

Oh right. So when they allow Sikhs to wear turbas on motorbikes does that mean "they've got a point. Let's all wear turbans"

Mark Fulford sounds like a socialist

Gareth says: "You defend the right of the Catholic adoption agencies to 'discriminate' even when their discrimination is contrary to the best interests of the child." No, I just think it's a legitimate view that such discrimination might BE is the best interests of the child.

Nor did I suggest that the only reason to take my view is the opinion polls - I was just asserting that this shows that the view that I and your Church take is not a "way-out" one of pandering to a freakish view of some extreme religious sect, which seems to be the implication of what you are saying.

P.S. Gareth, I do not know you very well, but I used to know you a little and observed you further

Spill it Londoner.

Who is he?

Well, if the selection procedure and the A list wasn't bad enough, I really have had enough now. I'm off to UKIP, I may have thought them a one trick pony in the past but at least we knew what that trick was. Cameron hasn't got a clue.

This really is the end.

Gareth, if you knew anything about Catholic teaching, you would know that it is sinful to hate or persecute homosexuals.....but we can't let a few facts get in the way of a bit of hyperbole, can we? Your definition of "hatred" now seems to mean that A hates B where A does not inconditionally approve of everything B is or does. The sort of Cultural Marxist dogma which provides the basis for indefinite extension of so-called "hate crimes".

I, too, am appalled that a Conservative Leader has decided to support these regulations. These are regulations which should not have been introduced in the first place.

By supporting the Government David Cameron places disapproval of 'discrimination' above religious freedom.

Freedom of conscience and faith are central tenets of democratic, plural society. Christians, Jews, Muslims and members of other religious groups accept that there are aspects of society with which they disapproval but have to tolerate. Equally homosexuals have to accept that there are many people who do not believe that homosexual practices are morally right.

At the moment homosexual couples have the right to adopt children but that agencies and particularly those run and supported by the Catholic Church do not place children with homosexual couples as to do so would be contrary to the Church’s teaching that the homosexual act is ‘intrinsically sinful’. Those who take part in homosexual acts clearly do not believe that the Catholic Church’s teaching is correct, quite why they wish to force an agency of the Catholic Church to place children with them has not been explained particularly when there are other agencies that do not have such objections.

‘Discrimination’ is something everybody practices. It is the act of choosing. Blind, irrational, unjustified, prejudice is not the same thing. I discriminate as to whom I invite into my home and with whom I associate. I do so on the basis of whether I like and enjoy their company, an entirely rational and justified choice.

Those who place ‘discrimination’ above freedom of conscience are themselves discriminating against those who hold different views from themselves. They have gone further and insisted that their rights take precedence over the rights and beliefs others to such an extent that the rights of conscience are to be denied. This is the first time in English Law that a government has openly attacked freedom of conscience. The Abortion Act 1967 recognised the right of doctors to refuse to be involved in abortion and during World War 2 Quakers were not conscripted into the fighting arms of the Armed Services, although many provided medical care.

It ceases to be an absurd speculation that, in the not too distant future, it will become a ‘hate crime’ to voice disapproval of homosexual practices.

Any Conservative, whether a heterosexual, homosexual or any other orientation should want to defend the right of freedom of conscience and action whether they agree or not with the Catholic Church’s teaching.

I wonder what Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor would say to those who think it is immoral and 'does violence' to place a child with religious parents...

I wonder what Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor would say to those who think it is immoral and 'does violence' to place a child with religious parents...

"Freedom of conscience" - ie I hold a series of beliefs, backed by something called "faith." This means that I don't have to advance evidence-based rational arguments to support my assertions (although I may rely upon an a la carte selection of passages from an ancient text). What a great basis for formulating public policy! Another good judgment call by DC.

Gareth, whilst some posts on my side of this argument, particularly last week, did seem to be motivated by hatred of gays, please give the credit to most of us that our opposition is not. I hate to risk annoying you by mentioning public opinion again, but public opinion is on our side and yet I do not believe that anything other than a tiny monority of the public hates gays.

I actually like gays for being different and think they are making a huge mistake in this, as in other things, by trying to ape what they see as the straight way of life. No doubt someone will diagnose that view as a sign of rampant homophobia, but never mind.

On the other hand, CDM and others (not you) clearly hate organised religion, of which the RC Church is the most successful, and have stated, in terms, that if an argument is put by religious people then it must for that reason be wrong.

I'm with Matthew Parris on this one. I'm suprised the Catholic Church has now decided people have a 'personal conscience', one that does not seem to extend to supporting contraception to fight against HIV/AIDS. As a church going Catholic, it appears the Church, sadly only supports a 'personal conscience' for people people who already support Church views.

Londoner, well put although what makes you think that Gareth does not hate organised religion?

Im not a Catholic so I couldnt give a damn whether the church allows freedom of conscience to its members.

As a British citizen, however, I do expect that the state will allow freedom of conscience, though.

If that's the way Afliech thinks am amazed he calls himself a Catholic.

Michael McG, I've no idea whether Gareth hates organised religion or not, but I don't think he has said anything on here indicating that he does, so I give him the benefit of the doubt.

This is deeply disturbing.

DC has made much of his efforts to reach out to the Christian community (there are still a lot of us out there) yet with one sentence he has undone all the good work he has previously done. Whichever way you look at these and however you argue the case, these SOR's are a direct attack on christianity as the regulations can, and probably will, be used by those with an anti christian agenda to attack the church. At present we are being distracted by a small issue relating to child adoption. The reality is that there is a bigger issue here that worries me.

By the way Mark Fulford. There is plenty of evidence for God if you care to look for it, but I'm not going to get into any argument with you. One day you will find out whether or not there is a God. I just hope and pray that it will not be after you die, when it will be too late to do something about it.

This is deeply disturbing.

DC has made much of his efforts to reach out to the Christian community (there are still a lot of us out there) yet with one sentence he has undone all the good work he has previously done. Whichever way you look at these and however you argue the case, these SOR's are a direct attack on christianity as the regulations can, and probably will, be used by those with an anti christian agenda to attack the church. At present we are being distracted by a small issue relating to child adoption. The reality is that there is a bigger issue here that worries me.

By the way Mark Fulford. There is plenty of evidence for God if you care to look for it, but I'm not going to get into any argument with you. One day you will find out whether or not there is a God. I just hope and pray that it will not be after you die, when it will be too late to do something about it.

Mark, all you are saying is that you despise religion because it is not based on "knowledge" and it is therefore presumptively "worse" than agnosticism

I didn’t say that at all. In fact my emotions towards mainstream religions are very similar to my emotions towards other mainstream political beliefs – we disagree but we share the interest, and usually the preferred outcome, in common. BTW, I’m atheist not agnostic.

Mark Fulford sounds like a socialist.

LOL. You should tell my friends!

By the way Mark Fulford. There is plenty of evidence for God if you care to look for it but I'm not going to get into any argument with you.

I do care to look for it, but I’m not surprised that you’re not going to tell me where it is.

One day you will find out whether or not there is a God. I just hope and pray that it will not be after you die, when it will be too late to do something about it.

Ah, the threat-based propagation of religion - Believe of Hell. Nice isn’t it?

Sorry, Believe or Hell

Mark, you could have fooled me: I seem to remember that you were very hostile to the idea of faith-based schools? Thank you for pointing out that you are an atheist which is fine. I am a theist who just wants to be left alone and who acknowledges that I may be wrong. No such doubts seem to enter your cosmos. Hence your desire to impose your beliefs on otheres because you regard them as objectively "right". Worrying.

I wonder what Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor would say to those who think it is immoral and 'does violence' to place a child with religious parents...

Posted by: Adam | January 29, 2007 at 13:19

Well Adam let us make it compulsory by Statute and find out, shall we ?

Mr McGowan:

It was YOU who introduced the word 'hatred' into this debate. You seem to have forgotten, so I'll remind you:

"Let's face it, what this is really about is not doing the best one can for children in care but about anti-clerical secularists using the criminal law to ram down the throat of a hated minority a principle that they know that they reject."

In the circumstances, for you to accuse others of hyperbole is more than a little ironic.

No such doubts seem to enter your cosmos.

Of course I could be wrong, and if evidence came to light to show that I was, I would immediately admit it.

Mr McGowan wrote:

"Gareth, if you knew anything about Catholic teaching, you would know that it is sinful to hate or persecute homosexuals."

You have, in the past few days called me and those others who disagree with you 'militant secularists' 'anti-clercial fanatics' etc. etc. In doing so, as in the post above, you demonstrate the danger of jumping to conclusions about those who happen to disagree with you. Not that it is in the least bit relevant to this discussion, but since you ask, I know rather a lot about Catholic teaching, being a Catholic myself.

It would be good if everyone posting just went away and read William Rees Mogg's superb piece in today's Times. The Editor could then close down this thread!

Nothing ironic about it at all, Gareth. My comments were merely an observation about many of the comments on this site. I didn't make them and they speak for themselves. I certainly can't imagime Tory modernisers vilifying a Muslim adoption agency in the same way. But then the Guardian and the BBC don't hate Muslims in the same way, do they?

It is a good piece Martin, we linked to it on the frontpage.

I'm afraid I had little doubt you would not have appreciated the irony.

Gareth, if you go back over these threads, you will see numerous comments which stigmatise religious belief as bigoted and superstitious, and therefore no legitimate basis for a conscientious objection. I am not the only person to have drawn attention to the aggressively secular tone of those comments with their nasty whiff of moral absolutism. I reached a conclusion: I didn't jump to it.

So you are a Catholic too though this is the first indication you had given of it in a protracted debate and I do not know you personally. It sounds as if you are one who, like me, disagrees with at least as much church teaching as he agrees with. But I would have thought that even a passing familiarity with the history of the Catholic Church in this country and abroad might have made you wary of reformers insisting on their right to punish those who refused to act contrary to views the reformers regarded as both reactionary or unenlightened. The Cecils, Francis Walsingham, Cromwell and Torquemada all thought they were upholding enlightened values.

Oh well, the argument goes on and on, and it becomes ever more apparant that this is primarily about asserting the rights of gay adults, rather than about the welfare of children, and that for some the rights of gays must take precedence over those of everybody else. But they would do well to remember the old saying: be careful how you treat people on your way up, because you might meet them on the way back down when you need their help and support.

I just hope that all those in favour of a Catholic opt-out will remember it when the Muslim community wants to opt out of something in the future and points to this (just as the Catholics point to Sikhs and motorcycle helmets - another mistake).

It is a stupid law, it should never have come into being and has created problems where none existed before - But no group should be able to opt-out of laws they dont like! That leads to multiculturalism run riot.

I happen to think that (a) my religion or lack of it has no bearing on the debate and (b) arguments based on anecdotes are tedious (I reserve an exception here for the anecdotes of John Irvine which ought to be catalogued and published in the name of comedy).

I am well aware of the persecution that holders of The Faith have suffered in this country. I do not, however, think that this regulation heralds a second persecution.

...it becomes ever more apparant that this is primarily about asserting the rights of gay adults, rather than about the welfare of children

Because the sexuality of the parents is usually irrelevant to the welfare of the children.

There is a powerfull alliance at work here, between the Gay rights activists and the Social Services.

The Gay rights brigade get to advance their agenda yet further and the Social Services can take even greater control of more adoption process', thus increasing their remit and power.

That no compromise such as the Sikh helmet one, or on Hallal butchery, is being offered, sugests that this more a power grab than a "concerned" piece of legislation.

No true Tory should be able to support such awfull state behavior and hopefully this is the final nail in Green Dave's miserable coffin......

Yeah, like "We Muslims want to opt out of the law on murder, because the Catholics have got an opt out on gay adoption". I think not. Any group being allowed to murder with impunity would be a serious, an intolerable, problem. Certain adoption agencies declining to deal with gay couples, while most are prepared to do so, is not a serious problem. It may be a source of offence to gays, but it is not a problem which must be sorted out with a new law. If every time somebody was offended we passed a new law, there'd be no end to it.

It seems David Blair and Tony Cameron are of one mind on this matter. At least we know what we can expect of a Blue Labour government - more of the same. Remove any differences of policy and elections will be all about which grinning face the voters prefer.

Thank you, Gareth. You are of course entitled to your view, which may of course be right. But then of course it could be wrong too.

It's interesting to compare the juxtaposition of smokers and buggers 40 years ago and now. In 1967, buggery was illegal and smoking commonplace. Now buggers are pandered to by politicians who at the same time turn the screw ever tighter on smokers. What of their rights? What's more offensive, smoking or buggery? Apart from the chattering classes, most would say the latter.

The statistics give great cause for concern.

Homosexuality is involved in at least one third and possibly as many as half of all child molestations. This is a significant portion considering the small percentage of the population that are homosexual. (Cameron, P., Coburn, W., Jr., Larson, H., Proctor, K., Forde, N., and Cameron, K., "Child Molestation and Homosexuality," Psychological Reports, 1986, 58, pp. 327-337.)

A homosexual teacher is twelve times more likely to molest a pupil than a heterosexual teacher. Between a quarter to four-fifth of all molestations of pupils are committed by homosexual teachers. (Cameron, P., "Homosexual Molestation of Children/Sexual Interaction of Teacher and Pupil," Psychological Reports, 1985, 57, pp. 1227-1236.)

The American Journal of Public Health reported that homosexuals are nine time more likely to report daily alcohol use, six times more likely to have recently used cocaine, nineteen times more likely to have used cocaine at least ten times in the past month, and seven times more likely to have injected an illegal drug. (Faulkner, Anne; Cranston, Kevin. "Correlates of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior in a Random Sample of Massachusetts High School Students," American Journal of Public Health, February 1998, p. 264.)

I've never heard of passive buggery.

I've never heard of passive buggery.

No? just ask someone on the receiving end!

I just hope that all those in favour of a Catholic opt-out will remember it when the Muslim community wants to opt out of something in the future and points to this (just as the Catholics point to Sikhs and motorcycle helmets - another mistake).

The Muslim community has exemption from the need to stun animals before slaughter - it is called Halal.

There are Muslim exceptions to School Uniform policies.

There are exceptions to blood transfusions for Jehovah's Witnesses and a very expensive blood-substitute is used in NHS hospitals instead

There is an exception for Sikhs permitted to carry knives in public

There is an exception for Sikhs to wear turbans as both police officers and motorcyclists

There is an exception for Black Police Officers to form their own segregated associations

There is an exception for Black Lawyers to form their own segregated association

There is an exception for gay police officers to form their own discriminatory association

There are dietary options in NHS hospitals and in schools so Jews may eat kosher, Muslims halal, Hindus avoid beef, I do not know if fish is offered to Catholics on Fridays

Monolithic imposition of doctrine through the legislature had not been quite so common in the 20th Century - clearly it will become so in the 21st Century....so beware...

Please keep this thread on the subject of freedom of association/ freedom of religion. I'm ready to delete comments/ ban users that make this thread is a discussion of homosexuality.

How are we going to sort this out? Removing the bits and bobs of this particular issue, for us (Tories) in particular it's important we get some sort of rule of thumb for working out how far the state can impose a paradigm for working onto non-state organisations which carry out such valuable work. Either extreme doesn't work, does it -- the NuLab extreme is thoughtcrime, while the other extreme ("it's my conscience so you can't make me change") leads to all sorts of special-interest anomalies which divide rather than combine (eg the crash-helmet example above: is that true?!). Thoughtcrime versus atomisation, neither is very attractive.

I don't believe, actually, that it wouldn't be possible to come up with a solution that would stop those with extreme (I just mean "strongly held") convictions continue their absolutely necessary work without feeling uncomfortably constrained by legalisms. How have we ended up in this mess?

I guess the first thing would be to remove the vehicles which would permit people with spurious "grievances" (Roman Catholic church doesn't approve of gays shock!) launch legal action; would getting the HRA off the statute book help? Or is too much by now enshrined into the common law? I am thinking Sean would know about this!

It's about time a Tory thinker wrote a definition of tolerance we can all buy into, something more positive - and realistic for 2007 - than "don't ask don't tell". What about organising a seminar / debate at the conference this year on the subject Tim? There are some people who write here like Michael McGowan, Sean, Tory T et al. I would pay money to listen to.

Actually thinking more aloud, is this (the relationship between providers of much-needed services and the state) something which the Institute of Social Justice might be prepared to hold a fringe meeting about in October?

TomTom, only some minorities have "official victim" status in the world of the metropolitan left. Others (the Catholic Church outside Northern Ireland, Ulster Protestants, people who hunt foxes) are fair game.

Or what about a London pub debate in the next month or so, Graeme?

Sorry non-Londoners!

I think William Rees-Mogg dealt with Dave's misguided acceptance of cultural authoritarianism in the following quote frodm Mail On Sunday (28/01/07):
"The most bogus arguments for imposing the will of the secular Left on the churches is that there must be no discrimination. That means when a bad law has been passed, everyone must obey it. Yet discrimination is inherent in the business of government. One of the most famous French political maxims is "Gouverner, c'est choisir", to govern is to choose. Discrimination is a natural aspect of all legislation. Moreover, no politician would be likely to make islamic imams arrange adoption for same-sex couples. They would not dare....... The danger with human rights legislation is that oner person's right can easily become another person's invasion of rights". (Rees-Mogg -28/01/07)
I am very strongly opposed to a Conservative view that disregards and thinks one can legislate for conscience. What are we coming to?

This debate is not about adoption. It is not about religious freedom. It is not even about discrimination.

It is about the extent our political masters feel free to condition what we may be allowed to think. This is a totalitarian tendency.

If the Conservative Party has lost the mettle to fight against this tendency (which is always present), how can we hope to remain a free society? George Orwell was right about everything but the dates.

The problems are:

Its an illiberal law - partly forced on us by Brussels and gold plated by NuLabour and the powerful Lesbian and Gay lobby to work corrosively against marriage, the family and Chritianity.

And Dave has taken a while to make up his mind which side he's on and gone the wrong way !

Amongst the victims of this legislation - that Dave's letting though by not leading the party - will be the Conservative party itself. How could we lose the next election given the open goal in front of us ? We'll Dave may be about to show us !

By the way I voted for David Cameron - and too deeply regret it now.


Thanks, for your kind words Graeme.

Two random observations would be:-

(a) everyone is entitled to tolerance (provided they don't break the criminal law). No one is entitled to respect - unless they earn it.

(b) Being offended and/or having one's feelings hurt, is not a good basis on which to pass legislation.

As a "standing order " Conservative I will be cancelling my support and vote.The problem of course is where to place our votes.David Cameron has just lost one million RC votes, plus Anglican,Methodist and Members of the Reformed Churches.
When the Christian Press starts rolling the Conservatives have one big problem.

Oops should be Christianity not Chritianity. That's it I'm going to install FireFox 2.0 and get spell checking online !

Bewildered, you are bewildering. The argument against smoking is that it is forced upon non-smokers in public places, thereby leading to the imposition on them of unpleasant smells, smoke entering the lungs and unnecessary litter. I am not necessarily in favour of smoking being unduly restricted but I am not aware of anal sex being forced upon non-participants (or for that matter even conducted between those who like it) in public places - other than in exceptional cases on which the criminal law is quite clear.

Have you experienced particular problems with people having anal sex in the offices, bars, trains and other confined spaces that you frequent? Perhaps you have even been raped, in which case I would suggest counselling to overcome the natural tendency of that horrific experience to distort your rationality.

I notice that your email address bears the name of a famous Labour Party spin doctor of many decades ago. I am not sure whether he is still alive, but might you by any chance be related? Must be wonderful to be able to quote from posts like yours when arguing the Labour Party's case on this...

I am glad that Cameron took this view as it once again proves it was a mistake to elect him.

That's a good idea Tim!

I'm remembering (now! memory like a fruit fly that's my problem) we had a local issue that was relevant to this discussion, here in Hackney. There is a church nearby which does extremely good work with young black children who are disconnected from mainstream education. Either because they are clear in their racial target, or because their message is unashamedly Christian, Hackney council were considering ending their grant. So Christian ethics meet Labour municipal socialism and, despite the fact that the church was doing such valuable work, municipal socialism threatens to win. I don't actually know the outcome to that though I know Andrew Boff (sometime of this parish) went to one of the church meetings to see what all the fuss was about. He thought the work was too good to lose.

I'm sorry I'm so pathetically two-minded about this by the way. Maybe the "adoption" debate is too abstract for me, because when I think about the local and particular it feels clear.

And yet! Even that local issue doesn't make it obvious to me that David Davis is right and David Cameron is wrong. Because what matters is that the children get help, not whether or not the council approves of the ethics of the helpers. OTOH that's a clear analogy with the "freedom of conscience" argument. OTOH it's quite clearly more important to help children than to worry about the ethics of anyone. If the ethics don't hurt then what's the problem.

Yes! Pub debate good idea Tim!

A couple of points
- firstly there is no official Conservative view on this. David Cameron is expressing his private view that he will take to a free vote. I think this is a sensible approach as a matter where principles, conscience and belief pay a part.
- I personally would prefer to see the scope limited to agencies that accept public funding. If a Church finances adoption agencies or other activities from its own funds and follows the law as regards suitability of parents then it should be free to do so. Just as a private club should be free to discriminate on basis of race, creed or sexuality. It is very difficult to justify for any organisation funded in whole or part from taxpayers money to permission by law to discriminate and equally difficult to justify the state ordaining the behaviour and choices of peole in their private lives.

Sorry for seeming to ignore your injunction, editor, as I had not seen it when I last posted. However, I hope the post was in the spirit of your request.

Ted, I do not understand the public money argument. All charities take Gift Aid money. Are you saying that unless a charity accepts the ethical choices of the state, then it has no right to Gift Aid? That has some pretty far-reaching implications (think independent schools?) and paves the way for nationalisation of the voluntary sector, which is of course what Labour has sought to achieve in a number of areas.

I am up for pub debate....and thank you too for your kind words, Graeme.

Predictable hypocrisy from the left about "helping children"

We know who they want to help and it's not children.

Amazing how this element have crept in everywhere - even the Conservative Party

I just had a wander across to 18 Doughty Street - dot com. And there's a brilliant set of vox pops conducted by Michael Ediae exploring this issue. Actually massively life-affirming in the range of their decency and common sense.

I found it here:
http://www.18doughtystreet.com/on_demand/74

The quicker Cameron is kicked out the better, given the chance after a lifetime of support for the Tories I will vote UKIP.

Peter, im a catholic and DC still has my vote! I really cant understand all you lot, how can you pass anti discrimination laws and then let a section of society to continue discriminating??? its madness!! Also DC is just standing up for the rule of law and since when has that not been CONSERVATIVE?

Michael McGowan - Gift aid is MY tax paid on the amount I gifted - it's my cash that I shouldn't have paid.

Sorry non-Londoners!

Posted by: Editor | January 29, 2007 at 15:14

That's alright Editor, you Londoners have to decide how you will pay for regeneration of London through The Olympics. After all the rest of us paid for your dummy-run with The Dome !

Oh, and since taxpayers money is so sacred to you Ted, could you explain just why Churches should pay VAT or Council Tax or Income Tax - surely they should be exempted as in the USA ?

BTW..why do Cemeteries pay Business Rates ?

why do Crematoria ?

why do Schools ?

I am all in favour of a 100% Tax Exemption for Churches and their staff. I also think we should consider imposing full Company Law reporting standards on political parties and removing them from Charities Laws.

Oh, and since the Church of England provides most youth workers and a large part of the Social Workers in England, perhaps that should be separated altogether ?

And maybe Community Centres attached to Mosques as in Tower Hamlets should noit receive EU and Taxpayer funding and the EU should not fund Mosques to run IT courses for Muslim women in inner cities, nor provide free laptops as part of educational provision ?

"Also DC is just standing up for the rule of law ..."

The argument here is not about the rule of law, it's about what the law should be.

Quel surprise! Those in favour of irrational discrimination assume that all against a Catholic opt-out are "militant secularists" with a hatred of "organised religion".

We don't hate organised religion, we just don't think that it should be able to negotiate opt-outs or exceptions from laws debated and then enacted by Parliament.

Can I have an exemption from income tax because it's against my conscience?

Here we go again. Is it really that surprising that a large section of the population, especially in urban areas, still see us a being the 'nasty party'? The language being used here is incredibly depressing As for Mizi who wrote, "Good to see that about 90% of posters are horrified by Cameron's appalling behaviour. CH really is the forum of the grassroots

“Can't understand Tory T. He's obviously a Catholic, seems to want to sit on the fence, yet does say that he hopes the Catholics win through at the Court of Human Rights...So do I and I'm a Jew!” presumably he thinks it was wrong for Jews to be gassed, but not gays? A really nasty little man! Mizi, as a Jew, you should know better. People voted for DC on the slogan "change to win, win for Britain" - if people don't like the direction then they can join UKUP or the BNP. On another note, thank goodness I didn't vote for Davis.

Very well said TomTom, listing a few of the many current exceptions on matters of faith conscience. Such things were always accepted previously in the tolerant society we used to be. Now a form of fascism is emerging, removing rights to act according to genuine belief in case some minority group is "offended". Catholics and other faith groups will be very offended by this trampling on the beliefs which underpin their lives, and are often the very reason they work to help children and the disadvantaged in society, so where is the justice for them in refusing an exemption?

"if people don't like the direction then they can join UKUP"

they are Justin,they are

I am not surpised that those attacking David Cameron about this issue and speaking up in favour of discrimination and prejudice are off to UKIP. They will feel very at home there.
If people believe the Church should be allowed to discrimanate how long is it before people start campaigning for employers, landlords etc to be allowed an exception to the anti-discrimanation laws.
You are either for discrimanation or you are against it. If your for it in my opinion you should not only be ashamed of yourself you should leave the Conservative Party and join the BNP or UKIP where you should feel much more at home.

It's called the Rule of Law. We all obey the same rules, or anarchy prevails.

Just because exceptions exist in other areas do not mean that they are justified here.

"Editor's note...David Cameron has decided to put gay rights ahead of religious freedom."

He has done nothing of the sort.

The fact that it is deliberately portrayed as such shows that the purpose of the article is to steer towards a conclusion regardless of facts, rather than to report the news. "Cameron backs government" is a clever misleading headline to induce the reader to believe that this is some kind of Blue Labour conspiracy against Conservative thinking, and, by presenting this as exceptional through the use of a headline, communicates the assumption that Conservatives should have been on the side of the Church, and reinforces the stereotype that real Conservatives ought to be religious. In fact, all parties have people on both sides of this argument, which, in a democracy, is how it should be.

The use of the phrase "gay rights" rather than "principles of non-discrimination" is interesting as, without expressing homophobia, it dresses the issue up to those who are attracted to it for that reason, and evokes the image of a disproportionately vocal minority imposing their will on the majority.

The use of the term "religious freedom" rather than "right to discriminate" is clever, for nobody's freedom to believe in whatever religion they choose has ever been questioned. Catholics are free to worship as they like, free to think and hold whatever beliefs they may like, free from persecution, ridicule and slander. That is as it should be.

What they are not allowed to do is to deny a couple the right to adopt purely and simply on the basis of their sexual orientation. If they wish to be treated as equals by society, not discriminated against on the basis of a unique characteristic (colour, religion, sexuality) then they must treat others the same. It is the responsibility that balances the right. Where this responsibility raises difficulty with a religious belief but the Church still seeks and otherwise deserves its associated right to fair treatment, routes around the problem are sought, for example referral to non-Catholic agencies so that the conflict does not arise. These routes must categorically not entail exempting anyone from the rule of law, where that law is one that demands fair and equal treatment on the basis of the quality of a person's character and qualification.

David Cameron has, according to the report, explicitly said that the Church should be given time to find such a route around the problem.

This is actually exceptionally generous and is itself a form of special treatment for the Church. Company managers who may happen to be Catholics (or may happen to be homophobes, and I make them distinct from Catholics) are not allowed to turn applicants down for employment on the basis of their sexuality either. Such employers were never given special time to adjust to non-discrimination regulations.

With time given to come to any such arrangements as may be necessary to eliminate the conflict of interest, any calls for further exceptional treatment of the Church only make sense if one wishes discrimination based on sexual orientation to remain legal and acceptable. If that is not what DC's detractors are seeking, I ask them to spell out what more they would like him to have done.

I wonder what we would think if, in the principle of freedom of thought, the BNP sought an exemption from racial discrimination laws and asked to be allowed to employ only white people in their campaign offices.

Of course the chances of an ethnic minority applicant applying for a job with the BNP are about as high as a homosexual couple trying to adopt through the Catholic Church...

The Catholic Church will tell you the 2 things are incomparable. Of course they will. The BNP will disagree.

CDM, you are clearly fully signed up to the legitimacy of the self-righteous moral majority. So were those who enacted penal laws in this country in the past against Catholics. So were those who criminalised homsexuality. So were those who passed the Nuremberg laws in Germany. People like you are precisely the people J.S. Mill condemned.

So long as people like Justin Hinchcliffe disfigure it, the Tory Partyy will indeed be the "nasty party. A splenetic bile-ridden individual of limited intelligence.

Discrimination cuts both ways. Why discriminate against the right of a Catholic organised operation to fulful its activities in the way that it chooses? This is the tyranny of the minority. Even the revolting EU would have been happy to leave the status quo...

"You are either for discrimanation or you are against it"

If you read through the thread, you'll see the argument is a bit more nuanced than that.

As an aside, I recall you were quite keen that the ENB should sack Simone Clarke. Presumably, that is one bit of discrimination that you're keen on.

Oh, so I'm a Nazi now?

I fail to see how I can be compared with groups who irrationally limited the rights of certain groups , rather than ensuring that they are all treated equally. Then again, the penal laws could be argued to have been justified, as Britain was in danger from Catholic revolutionaries (ie the Jacobites) during the early 18th century.

I'm also not too fussed about condemnation from a dead liberal.

"the BNP sought an exemption from racial discrimination laws and asked to be allowed to employ only white people in their campaign offices. "

Interestingly enough, it is lawful for the BNP to restrict its membership to white people.

Martin Smith, I rather doubt whether you would be making those arguments if a Muslim adoption agency were refusing to place children with gay couples. So aren't we seeing a politically correct outbreak of double standards masquerading as high principle?

The colour of someone's skin has no bearing on their ability to do a job. Hence the BNP analogy is nonsense because it is not irrational to argue that children are best brought up in two-parent families comprising a man and a woman. In other words, the argument that Londoner has made.


I don't see the issue as one of anti-gay discrimination. If anything, it simply recognises and supports the traditional male + female parental couple as the best environment for a child's nurture and development. If you're looking for discrimination, why not endorse 'positive discrimination' in favour of the child, rather than adopt a position because it's currently politically difficult to oppose it?

If the proposition is that religious conscience and beliefs are not to be allowed to prevail against any given legislation, why isn't the Catholic Church not prosecuted for refusing to ordain women? How many imams are women?

Editor,

I want to make a formal complaint about Justin Hinchcliffe's post above:

"“Can't understand Tory T. He's obviously a Catholic, seems to want to sit on the fence, yet does say that he hopes the Catholics win through at the Court of Human Rights...So do I and I'm a Jew!” presumably he thinks it was wrong for Jews to be gassed, but not gays? A really nasty little man!"

How dare he say this, and why is Conservative Home allowing this libel to appear on the website?

There is nothing in any of my posts, nothing whatsoever, that indicates I think "gays should be gassed".

I request you delete this absolutely baseless comment and that you warn Hinchcliffe on ad hominem personal attacks without a basis detectable in any posts by me.

You allowed his anti-Catholic bigotry on the Seats & Candidates thread, but alleging I called for homosexual people to be killed is beyond a joke. On the contrary I firmly called people on equating gays with paedophiles etc on the prior thread. If he is allowed to post those sort of lies about me without sanctions I am off, frankly.

That slur can't be allowed to stand.

CDM, I'm not surprised that you are not interested in the arguments of a dead liberal or indeed living ones either....because one thing you clearly aren't is liberal. A doctrinaire bully more like and, judging by your "defence" of the penal laws, a bit of a McCarthyite too.

Justin, I think your comments about Tory T were very rude. Tory T has consistently spoken in a manner befitting an intelligent discussion group, and s/he demonstrates a generosity of spirit, and command of argument, that is exemplary. Disagreement about a matter of conscience - at its best a search for a win-win solution - should not be a reason to dislike somebody, or to attack them.

Thank you, Graeme. A characteristically decent and dignified comment from someone who actually understands the meaning of "broad church", even if he doesn't always agree with all the members of the congregation.


On checking, I think that Justin Hinchcliffe's comments are directed towards Larry Green, rather than Tory T.

But I see nothing in Larry Green's post to suggest that he is in favour of gassing homosexuals, so I think Justin should withdraw his comment.

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