Calling Time on Conscience

It’s final. The Catholics with their Anglican and Muslim advocates have officially been swept aside. There will be no exception for conscience.

In a small concession to soften the blow, at the urging of the PM and the Minister for Equality, the Cabinet has decided give the Catholic adoption agencies 20 months during which they have a “statutory duty” to refer gay couples to other agencies. After that they would have to assist gay couples directly or face the full force of the law.

There is no doubt that some gay activists, or their pawns, would immediately present themselves to a Catholic agency (or most probably as many as possible simultaneously) to force them to shut down. In fact, even shutting down to avoid such a case could in and of itself be considered discrimination and actionable at law.

It is the hope of the Cabinet that the 20 months will allow the Catholic agencies to see some sense and compromise their values. The opinion of some appears to be that the rank and file adoption workers are much more flexible on these things than the stodgy old bishops who seem to be stuck on their duty to uphold their outdated Faith.

Ann Widdecombe noted in a BBC television interview that we are treading on entirely new ground here. Never before has someone been required by law had to do something that violated their conscience.

Now that the law supercedes the conscience, there is little true freedom left. The Government has unequivocably staked out its position. The iron fist of totalitarianism is wearing an ever-thinner glove.

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7 Responses to Calling Time on Conscience

  1. Steve Hayes says:

    “Never before”?

    What about conscientious objection to military service?

  2. Philippa says:

    The more ‘action’ the government takes, the less ‘action’ is afforded to the citizen. And to think, the citizen asks the government to intervene and take action; not realizing what they are giving up…their freedom.

    Sad. Very sad. And scarey.

    Thanks for sharing this Dave.

  3. Huw Raphael says:

    I’m with Steve. “Never before?” I’d forgotten CO status, but I think a case could be made for Civil Rights and Women’s Rights impinging on some folks’ Conscience. (On the former, in the USA, the Mormon Church got a “revelation” just in the nick of time to allow for the Ordination of persons of colour and avert a lawsuit.)

    Philippa is right, however: the more the Gov’t does, the less the People have. Back in the day… Adoption was not a state function at all. Neither was marriage. A strong case could be made for reversing both of those trends.

    Regarding the test case… it’s worth noting that for all the times that I (or you or any of our readers) have said “and now someone will file a suit” no one has, yet. The UK may be different.

  4. Dave says:

    That’s the point of CO status – that someone can fulfill their conscription obligation within the bounds of their conscience.

    My remarks about what the law has or has not required in the past would be applicable to the UK only – and not on my testimony, nor even on that of Ann Widdecombe, but the even the Anglican Bishop of Durham. Cardinal O’Connor, the Catholic Primate of England and Wales, also has a comment piece in the Daily Telegraph today.

    With regard to test cases, every time there is new abortion legislation in any state, some pro-choice group immediately files suit in federal court. In the wake of gay marriage statutes in Vermont and Hawai’i there were test cases brought under Full Faith and Credit in other states.

    The same thing happens with legislation in this country, though often the testing venue is the ECHR or ECJ or other European institution that has assume sovereignty over UK law.

  5. Margi says:

    I know I’m missing something here… but the Catholic adoption agencies only place children with practising Catholic couples and to qualify for that, don’t they have to be married in a Catholic ceremony? I don’t see where being gay even comes into it.

  6. Huw Raphael says:

    David – regarding test cases, yes, there have been test cases in the past. But my point has been that every time I’ve made a prediction (based on my experience in the gay community) it hasn’t happened. Again, the UK may be different.

    Margi:

    “Catholic adoption agencies only place children with practising Catholic couples”

    Wow! Really? Is it that way in the UK? Not in the USA they don’t. The provide a public service equally to all parties – that’s how they get state funds.

  7. Dave says:

    I am unaware of prior practice, but Catholic adoption agencies would certainly not have the choice to only place children with Catholic families in the wake of the Equality Act.

    It’s just a good thing that serving Communion isn’t considered providing goods or services. Otherwise no one could be refused. That’s not to say the Government won’t include this at a later date.

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