Tuesday, 10 August 2010

It's Not Homophobic. It's Just Plain Bad Manners

'Homosexuals not welcome' say couple who want to foster

A former vicar and his wife are considering legal action after being barred from fostering children because of their Christian beliefs on homosexuality.

John and Collette Yallop, from Blackburn, told Lancashire County Council they would not want gay couples hoping to adopt, to come to their home.

The Yallops claim they've been refused because of their faith.

They have two children of their own and have been trying to foster since March.

They insist they're not homophobic and say inviting gay couples into their home for the handover process would be detrimental to their family life.

The pair don't believe gay couples should adopt a young child, and they wouldn't let a same sex couple wanting to adopt a child they were fostering interact with that child in their home.

But Lancashire County Council says foster carers must be open to working alongside anyone.

The Yallops say they'll challenge the decision on behalf of other Christians.
Let's be clear, this couple have said they will agree to meet with homosexual couples at council offices rather than their own home. They are not suggesting they would interfere in the adoption process.

However their attitudes are typical of so-called "Christians" who fail to appreciate the message of love brought by Christ and instead insist on being all "Old Testament" about things. I'll quote from this excellent article on Christian hospitality:

The biblical demand for hospitality, Pohl shows, is clear in both Old and New Testaments. The people of God are aliens and strangers whom God has welcomed into the "household of faith." In turn, God's people are to "make room" for the stranger, not only in the community of faith but also in their own personal households. This is the biblical meaning of hospitality—making room for the stranger, especially those in most acute need. Such care must not be reduced to mere social entertaining nor may it be self-interested and reciprocal; instead, biblical hospitality reaches out to the abject and lowly and expects nothing in return. Hospitality is not optional, nor should it be understood as a rare spiritual gift; instead, it is a normative biblical practice that is learned by doing it.
Hospitality is implicitly subversive in the way it shatters social boundaries, especially those boundaries enforced by table fellowship. When we eat with the lowly and welcome strangers and "sinners" to our table, we topple social expectations and bear witness to the kind of love God has for all his creatures. It is not coincidental that Jesus perhaps most scandalized his critics in his practice of table fellowship. "He eats with tax collectors and sinners"—this was not a compliment. And it was precisely the radical nature of Christian hospitality, Pohl shows, that characterized the early church, helped spread the Gospel, and healed the dramatic social barriers that initially confronted the church as the Gospel permeated the Greco-Roman world.
The connection between hospitality and Jesus is indeed rich and mysterious. As Pohl shows, in New Testament perspective Jesus is simultaneously guest, host, and meal. He is guest whenever we welcome and care for the stranger and the broken (Mt. 25:31-46). He is host, for example, when he hosts the Last Supper, during which "we . . . celebrate the reconciliation and relationship available to us because of [Jesus'] sacrifice and through his hospitality" (p.30)—and when he will host the Great Supper in the Kingdom. And he himself, as our paschal sacrifice, is the meal we eat, not only in Communion but in ongoing Christian experience as we feed on his life to nourish our own.
I think this couple would be wise to remember these lessons.

If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist


Matt Raven said...

I'm not sure that you are right when you say "They are not suggesting they would interfere in the adoption process."

According to the Councils Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team "the request to meet gay couples outside home would ‘greatly affect the child’s experience of the introduction to adopters or carers and would potentially affect the success of their placement"

Sadly that had to come from the Daily Mail who have given a rather more detailed account of the story (wonder why..?). You can find their version at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1301180/Ex-vicar-banned-foster-parent-refusing-let-gay-couples-visit-home.html

You might not agree with all the comments there though...

Jae said...

I don't necessarily disagree with the "Councils Fostering Recruitment and Assessment Team". But I was trying to show that this couple have tried to be a little more reasonable (just a little) than many.

Matt Raven said...

Oops, missed an apostrophe :)

Yep, better than the couple a few years ago who refused to have anything to do with homosexual couples. That couple were fostering children who were old enough to be aware of their own sexuality too.