There is no place in British law for Christian beliefs, despite this country’s long history of religious observance and the traditions of the established Church, two High Court judges said on Monday.
Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson made the remarks when ruling on the case of a Christian couple who were told that they could not be foster carers because of their view that homosexuality is wrong.
There’s obviously no direct correlation between what’s going down in Britain and what might happen here. We’ve got the first amendment, which will do a lot.
But these sorts of conflicts between religious liberties and homosexuality are at least plausible in these United States–especially as long as we think that religious beliefs “that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.” On that standard, it’s not difficult to imagine a scenario where parents would be denied the freedom to be foster parents on grounds that their beliefs would potentially harm a ten-year-old child whose sexual identity might be opaque to himself.
Oh, and that quote isn’t taken from Britain, folks. It’s from the Prop 8 reversal.
Look, I don’t think this is paranoid hand-wringing. I am optimistic nothing like this will ever happen in America. I simply want to suggest that we should be wary of the idea that the state’s involvement in matters of sexual arrangements has no bearing whatsoever on religious freedom.
As a gay friend pointed out to me yesterday, the question of homosexuality is one that is much broader than the bedroom. Gays and lesbians structure every decision around their relationships (as they probably should), which is why the implications of a changing social moral code are far broader than simply what people do or don’t do in their bedroom. And if religious objections to homosexuality are thought of as “harmful” or intrinsically bigoted, then the notion that the social restructuring that the new moral code requires will leave the church untouched becomes a lot less plausible. The space in which the church will be free to move will become a lot smaller.
More to say on this, of course. And all this is still too hasty, but hopefully not ill-formed. I put it out there as a hypothesis and eagerly await your comments.