For 15 years, Owen and Eunice Johns served as foster parents to British children. Social workers praised them as “kind and hospitable people” who “respond sensitively to” children.
But London’s High Court has just ruled that the Johnses are unfit to foster.
The reason: The Johnses are devout Christians, and their views about homosexuality may harm the children in their care. This opinion echoes that Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission, which, according to the Daily Mail, claimed foster children risked becoming “infected” by the Johnses’ Christian beliefs.
The case came about when the Johnses re-applied to the Derby City Council to foster children after taking a break. But instead of welcoming them back with open arms, social workers expressed concern that the couple’s beliefs were in violation of the new Equality Act Regulations, which protect the rights of homosexuals.
The Johnses could not believe that being Christians automatically excluded them from caring for children, and they asked for a clarification of the law. Shockingly, the high court determined that Christian beliefs about homosexuality do indeed make citizens unfit to foster children.
Think about what this means. Britain has a huge Muslim population. Muslims, like Christians, believe that homosexual conduct is immoral. So do orthodox Jews. What the court is saying is that Christians, Muslims, and Jews are unfit to care for children simply because of their religious beliefs.
In effect, Britain now has a religion test for citizens. How long will it be before Christian citizens who want to coach youth soccer leagues or become scout leaders are told their views make them unwelcome? How long before religious believers are told they will not be hired as school teachers, or allowed to adopt children?
Americans may think our First Amendment will protect us from this kind of thing happening here. Think again. In the appeal of Proposition 8, in which California citizens voted to keep marriage between one man and one woman, Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Christian beliefs “harm gays and lesbians.”
And in 1996, the Supreme Court overruled Colorado’s Amendment Two, in which citizens revised their Constitution to prohibit cities from giving special rights from being given to homosexuals. Justice Anthony Kennedy claimed the law was based in “animus” against homosexuals.
These things are happening in a country founded on the principle that citizens should be allowed to hold whatever beliefs they want, regardless of what their fellow citizens think of them. But in recent years Christians have been targeted again and again by activist groups and judges who support their agendas.
This is why we must support the efforts of Christian liberties groups like the Alliance Defense Fund and the Becket Fund and others, which defend the rights of all religious believers. I also urge you to sign the Manhattan Declaration to defend traditional marriage, human life, and religious freedom.
If we do nothing, if the church sits on the sidelines, it won’t be long before we find out that our religious rights aren’t worth the paper the First Amendment was printed on.
This article published on March 31, 2011.
Chuck Colson's daily BreakPoint commentary airs each weekday on more than one thousand outlets with an estimated listening audience of one million people. BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today's news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print