Lesley Pilkington’s Appeal Fails

Quelle Surprise. John Bingham in the Telegraph has the news.

A conduct hearing last year ruled that Mrs Pilkington had fallen short of professional standards by making “premature and reckless” diagnoses.

An appeal panel yesterday threw out a number of adverse findings against Mrs Pilkington but found that she had failed to take enough steps to ensure that Mr Strudwick fully understood what her counselling entailed and “precise belief system that underpinned it”.

The appeal panel ruled that the controversial therapy itself did not necessarily breach professional standards but added: “There is a wide range of opinion and beliefs among those who call themselves Christians.

“Mrs Pilkington wrongly and negligently jumped to the conclusion that Mrs Strudwick properly understood her therapeutic model and the belief system underlying it.”

But Mrs Pilkington, who was supported by the Christian legal Centre and the barrister Paul Diamond, said that her case would have a chilling effect on others who wished to practice the technique.

“They simply won’t operate in this area at all, they won’t offer the possibility of change,” she said.

“Christians will think twice about using traditional biblical Christian counselling methods.

“It will definitely close people down, it will definitely engender a climate of fear.

“There is a wider agenda that diversity and equality, which is supposed to be what our society upholds, is upheld for everyone except for those who have traditional Judeo-Christian values, I think that is very disturbing.

“People need to understand what is happening and think about what sort of society we want.”

Andrea Williams, director of the Christian Legal Centre, said: “People who practise reparative therapy are increasingly pushed out of the public sphere.

“A truly tolerant society would allow for this therapy to continue not to treat it with suspicion and those who practise it with suspicion.”

Now, you can read the ruling and appeal for yourself online and it’s worth doing so to cut through the spin from both sides. It’s very clear that:

  • BACP dismissed Strudwick’s initial intention of having LP banned for conducting Reparative Therapy. They weren’t really interested in arguments from either side on the validity or otherwise of this kind of counselling approach.
  • The real issue was, from BACP’s perspective, the way that LP exhibited very poor counselling practice by not keeping clear personal boundaries, letting sessions over-run and imposing interpretations on her client even when the client denied the events that the counsellor claimed had happened in the client’s life.
  • Neither side is willing to accept the above – the liberals seem to think that BACP ruled that Reparative Therapy was wrong (it didn’t) and the conservatives seem to think that LP was victimised for practising Reparative Therapy (she wasn’t).

Now, this paragraph coming up is not going to make me many friends, but it absolutely needs to be said. When you read the Christian Concern report on the appeal having read the full ruling from BACP, the impression you get is wilful blindness to the clear evidence that LP is not a good counsellor. It strikes me that conservatives need to be honest about this fact – once you get past the issues of whether Strudwick entrapped her (he did) and the legal issues as to whether he therefore should be treated as a client with a valid complaint (I don’t agree with BACP here), the reports of how LP conducted the session show basic disregard for the fundamentals of counselling practice. No wonder BACP deregistered her and insisted that she undergo further training before being readmitted to BACP.

Taking the Christian Concern stance towards the ruling is not the Christian way to approach this. As Christians we need to be honest about our failings and not try to cover them up. Most pastors know that this kind of behaviour (avoiding the truth and trying to blame someone else) is just an attempt to avoid our own sin and culpability. It’s not good spiritual discipline and it just damages our growth in grace.

There said it.

Please feel free to comment on the case below.

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  • nowconcerned

    I’ll repeat what I said on the other thread.

    For me I think the key points are:”Although Mr Strudwick initially tried to use his complaint against Lesley to stop reparative therapy taking place in the UK, he was later forced to drop this approach and he told the BCAP in the appeal hearing that he was not seeking to challenge the efficiency of therapy for same-sex attraction. He had no evidence to establish that such therapy is not beneficial to some clients.This leaves councillors free to continue providing this therapy to motivated clients.” In other words, Strudwick has failed in what he was seeking to do.And:”Now that the appeal panel has decided that Mr Strudwick was a real client, concerns have been raised over the vulnerability of all Christian councillors, as they are now open to harassment from undercover journalists and gay activists approaching them pretending to be clients.”Like a lot of these recent legal cases involving Christians vs. homosexuals, the issue is not so much what you think of the particular person that the case was brought against, or the judgements made against them, but the worrying, and surprising conclusions that the adjudicators come to that set precedents for future cases.Like I’ve said before, Lesley Pilkington clearly isn’t a very good counsellor.  But, like I’ve said before, I’ve found the whole profession to be quite hit and miss.  This has more to do with personality than whether or not somebody is a Christian.  But, like I’ve said before, Christians need to be honest about how their own counselling techniques are failing people.  The fact that the rest of the profession is also quite rubbish shouldn’t be any excuse if we really care about the people who come to the church for help.  Making amends towards people who have been harmed should be more important to us than what the gay lobby or anybody else thinks about us.

  • nowconcerned

    I’ve now read the full ruling:

    “Ms Pilkington allegedly disclosed her personal views on lifestyle and sexual orientation during the therapy, suggesting that the counselling relationship with the client was prejudiced by those views, which were also allegedly disrespectful of the client’s lifestyle and sexual orientation.Ms Pilkington allegedly failed, at the outset of counselling, to adequately explore all the options available to the client, choosing to lead the client down one particular route of therapy, suggesting a contravention of the ethical principles of Autonomy and Beneficence.”I’d say both these things have happened to me and my friends in counselling.  So nobody actually explicity ‘discloses their personal view’ that women who do not have sex are repressed and sick, but they might as well, it’s so heavily implied.  Perhaps we should have sued?  I’d say we would have had more of a case because we were led down a route of ‘therapy’ for our dysfunctional lifestyles when we’d sought counselling for an entirely different matter (like bereavement) and didn’t even bring up the topic of sex, or want to discuss this issue!  Also, we didn’t lie or mislead the counsellor.  This kind of experience can leave you feeling very insecure and confused.  Some women never marry, and so experience this all of their lives.

  • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

    Yes, a good report from Peter.
    I think this Christian Concern group and those close to them are the antithesis of how Christians should behave and argue. They are a scandal to all of us no matter where we stand on the presenting issues. They do ALL Christians harm.

    I am amongst those keen to see an end to this “reparative therapy”. For some years I have been trying to persuade those who provide professional indemnity to the medical and therapeutic community to exclude this from cover. It’s interesting and true that Ms Pilkington has single-handedly made my goal a realistic prospect in the near future.

  • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

    I think the two comments from nowconcened are both accurate and perceptive.

  • Philip Cole

    Excellent article, Peter, that is, as you say, a necessary corrective to the spin that both ‘sides’ are attempting to put on this case.

    ‘the impression you get is wilful blindness to the clear evidence that LP is not a good counsellor’.

    As I’m in South Africa I’m not close to this case but, even in the articles that have been supportive of Lesley Pilkington there has been enough to show that she was following bad counselling practice by persisting with her own, sometimes very flawed interpretations of what Strudwick was saying, even when he directly contradicted her.

    Cases like this, in my view, harm the case for high quality, ethical counselling to help people who want to address unwanted same-sex attraction. It allows opponents to present such counselling as mere quackery that is harmful to the counsellees.

    Lesley Pilkington was entrapped and, like you, I’m concerned therefore at the BACP finding that Strudwick was a legitimate client. But let’s be clear about this. She was also a poor counsellor that deserved to be disciplined.

  • st

    We can add this to the distressing list of cases in which professionals of various kinds have got into difficulties with their professional bodies or employers because of their Christian views, and have gone to campaigning organisations/lawyers for legal advice … and seem to have got more embroiled in generic issues of supposed persecution of Christians than the nitty-gritty of their own cases. 

    Suppose the counsellor here had (with legal and expert advice) taken a dispassionate look at her own practices in this case, admitted where she had gone wrong, taken steps to show how she was putting things right for the future, and mitigated before the tribunal on the basis that Strudwick had been out to get her.  In other words, suppose that her case had been run on a purely facts-of-this-case client-centred basis.  What would the outcome have been?  A slap on the wrist of some sort, probably, and a warning to maintain professional standards in the future. 

    But then, of course, the campaigning groups and individuals “backing her” would not have had their “victim” to parade before the Daily Mail. 

    As a Christian who is a barrister, the suspicion that there is a growing roll call of people whose cases have become vehicles for campaigning Christian groups to peddle nonsense about persecution is very distressing, for all sorts of reasons.

  • nowconcerned

    I have mixed feelings about Christian Concern.  On the one hand they’ve raised awareness of the problems Christians face in the UK to the point that a group of Christian MPs launched an investigation.  The results are here: 
    http://www.eauk.org/current-affairs/publications/upload/Executive-summary.pdf

    I think interesting findings are:

    “There is a high level of religious illiteracy which has led to many situations where religious belief is misunderstood and subsequently restricted. This comes from a social and cultural minimisation of Christianity in public life.”

    “Some of the legal activity, associated campaigning and media coverage has been unwise and possibly counter-productive to the positive role that Christians play in society.”

    “The way that the media cover many of the cases and the associated issues is often poor and contributes to perceptions of a polarisation between Christianity and public life.”

    It’s not easy being a Christian.  ‘Persecution’ isn’t the right word, but as a Christian you are constantly misunderstood (for instance, in the psychiatric profession) and, especially as a young person, jeered at and ridiculed.  There’s a false perception that Christians are bigots and secularism is somehow a neutral position, so Christians are somehow less suitable as colleagues and in responsible positions.

    Unfortunately, it’s not easy being gay either, and I can imagine many gay people thinking ‘persecution?  have you ever been made homeless, set on fire, put in prison?’.  However, gay people are also now claiming to be ‘persecuted’ when they’re not.  It’s not persecution simply to hold a different view on sex from someone else, or to question whether it’s appropriate to talk to an 8 year old child about gay sex (or any form of sex!), or to swap a shift with someone so as not to be complicit in something your religion views as wrong.  Just like you’re not persecuting a pregnant woman when you refer her to another doctor for abortion advice.  Pork tastes great, but I don’t think my Jewish neighbours are persecuting me because they won’t sell it to me.

    The media is one of my bugbears at the moment.  My favourite was this question put by a radio host to a pro-life campaigner ‘I find that fascinating, that you were born a better person than me because you have a right to tell someone who’s circumstances you do not know, how to live their life … surely that’s not godly?’.  Great journalism.  Not!  And, of course, they got a woman to come on and talk about the very difficult circumstances that led to her abortion.  They, of course, wouldn’t get many of the women who’ve been railroaded into have abortions by their boyfriends/families and regretted it to talk about their experiences because that would ruin the judgemental Christian vs. victim of difficult circumstances dynamic that the media loves to set up.

  • nowconcerned

    I agree with st. that the Christian legal centre isn’t always best serving its clients.  For instance, Eunice and Owen Johns were advised to go to court with the very foolish claim that it was discrimination against Christians to ask them about their beliefs about homosexuality when assessing their suitability as foster carers.  Of course, the court found that it would have irresponsible for the social workers NOT to ask these questions.  How can it be construed as persecution to ask questions?  Their application had not been rejected, but had stalled.  What their legal advisers should have done first was to try to negotiate with the social workers and work out what was in the best interest of the children so as the application for foster care could move forward.  If the social workers had been uncooperative then they would have had a much better case for claiming that the application was being deliberately stalled because of a prejudice against Christians.  Also, coming onto 4-thought tv saying that homosexuality was an abomination wasn’t a great move.  Who on earth advised them to do that?  Surely the point isn’t what a particular verse in the Bible says about sex, but what is appropriate to discuss with an 8-year-old child.  I certainly wouldn’t choose that verse for a Sunday School class!  All this seems pretty obvious to me, and I’m not even a lawyer!

  • st

    Couldn’t agree more. 

    A true story: a barrister (who I happen to know is a fine lawyer with a brain the size of a planet) is instructed for the employee in one of the local authority/Christian employee disputes which led to suspension/demotion/dismissal (forgive the vagueness, but I am anonymising!)  S/he suggests to the solicitors for the campaigning organisation who are funding the legal proceedings that negotiations should be started, and puts forward a strategy to (hopefully) avoid having to litigate through to a tribunal hearing.  Result: s/he is taken off the case.  Not committed enough to the wider cause, apparently, though s/he is, as it happens, an evangelical Christian. 

    The repeated impression in many of the cases which hit the press, which I hope is wrong, is of clients’ real interests second, press coverage for the “cause” first.  If that impression is correct, then this is a very wrong approach, and ultimately the people who will end up in front of professional tribunals will be the lawyers concerned … no doubt they will spin it as being persecuted for representing Christians being persecuted.

  • nowconcerned

    The Johns are the couple I have the most sympathy with.  They have cared for so many children and their motivations were so unselfish.  The social worker involved admitted that they were people of good will, but didn’t know how to handle the case.  And even a writer in the Guardian was on their side, pointing out that its absolute cheek to interrogate a couple in their 60s on their views on sex when all they want to do is give a bed and a hot meal to a child whose own parents are high on crack.  They’ve also come across well in all the interviews (except possibly the 4-thought-tv), making it clear that they had no intention of scaring the child, telling them it was wrong to be gay, and that they would have no problem with a child having two mums or two dads (and bare in mind that this hypothetical child doesn’t even exist!).  The only thing they said they could’t do was tell as small child that homosexual sex was ok.  Do you know any couple in their 60s hip enough to think that homosexual sex would be an appropriate topic of conversation for a child under 10?  They’re clearly people of very strong convictions, but also tolerant and caring (those two things can go together you know!).  Sadly, there are many like them up and down the country who have been refused as foster carers or had children taken away from them (I know at least two families personally).  I think it’s a real indictment of our ‘rights’ obsessed society that children are deprived of care that could radically change their life prospects because adults can’t agree to disagree over which particular sexual acts are beneficial between two adults.  That should have been the real focus of this case – not the ‘persecution’ of Christians or homosexuals.

  • nowconcerned

    Out of interest, has the Christian Legal Centre ever actually won a case?

  • Pingback: To Christian Concern: Thank you for highlighting injustice but please drop the spin | God and Politics in the UK

  • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

    I think accuracy helps.
    The Johns application was  to be considered as respite carers for other foster/adoptive families and other children in care. This would have included children placed with gay carers.

    It’s almost certain the gay carers would have withdrawn consent for their children to be placed with the Johns and this would have resulted in other factors being brought into consideration.

    They were not offering themselves as foster carers.

    I believe the “Christian” Legal Centre have won none – and settled one. The van driver and palm cross, though I understand he was then moved to another job that didn’t come with a van.

    I don’t think the purpose is to win cases. The facts of these stories are always spun in a way to whip up a frenzy and get people to think Christians are being persecuted. Facts are often twisted or omitted.

  • nowconcerned

    “It’s almost certain the gay carers would have withdrawn consent for their children to be placed with the Johns and this would have resulted in other factors being brought into consideration.”
    Why would that be?  They’ve stated quite clearly that they would have no problem with a child having two mums or two dads.  They had absolutely NO intention of indoctrinating a child against gay people.  Are gay couples now the moral gatekeepers of society who get to decide who’s a suitable person to take care of a child?

  • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

      “Are gay couples now the moral gatekeepers of society who get to decide who’s a suitable person to take care of a child?”
    No, only their child. That’s called good parenting.

    I have always argued that the Johns should (if there are not further undisclosed problems) be approved, though the approval should be limited to children of those who share their specific views.

    • nowconcerned

        “Are gay couples now the moral gatekeepers of society who get to decide who’s a suitable person to take care of a child?”
      No, only their child. That’s called good parenting.

      That’s my point Martin.  Why is ‘good parenting’ now keep your child away from Christians?  It doesn’t seem to me that the Johns had any intention of teaching the children that homosexuality was wrong, they were simply confused and out of their depth by the questions the social worker was asking them.  They got on fine with Eunice cousin and his boyfriend, despite their differences, and they don’t seem to me to be homophobic at all.  That’s where their lawyers have really let them down.  That’s the point they should have really been pushing.

      “the approval should be limited to children of those who share their specific views.”

      Martin, if you follow your logic – that Christians should be considered a danger for simply holding views on sex that are counter-cultural – then no Christians could offer respite care to *any* children.  Perhaps their parents aren’t married (that’s also frowned on by the church).  Perhaps the family is in trouble because somebody’s having an affair.  Perhaps they let an older brother live in the house with his girlfriend.  Why stick to views on sex?  Perhaps their parents smoke.  Perhaps their parents put them to bed later than the Johns would approve of.  The system would become unworkable if we followed your logic.

      • nowconcerned

        Another one I just thought of.  What if someone in the family had had an abortion?  I have strong views on abortion.  I would never have one myself (except possibly if my life was at risk, or the child was already dying).  Does this make me an unsuitable carer?

  • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

    I would rather keep this away from the personal. I have been on the same platform as most of those paraded round by the “Christian” Legal Centre and have had private chats with nearly all of them. I really feel sorry for them and believe that in the main they have been abused, though I have also heard some pretty toe -curling views.

    But for us this is a personal matter. Our lads do go into respite from time-to-time, as does my Mum and we are very careful who accommodates them. We have already had to upsticks from one Sunday school over the repetition of the “abomination” word and refused a respite placement for the lads when we found out what Church they would be taken to on a Sunday.

    As I say, its a matter for each family to decide but we have drawn the line at there being a reasonable likelihood of the boys hearing negative comments or receiving negative vibes about their family. They are very vulnerable and we would not want them to be compromised. We think that good parenting.

    We hear what you are saying nowconcerned, but the “Christian” Legal Centre are not campaigning to protect our family from abuse, diminishment and ridicule at the hands of some Christians. They are advocating that Christians should have the right to believe and SAY in both private and public sphere precisely what they believe their faith teaches about homosexuals and how we order our family life, I have never heard them arguing that that “religious freedom” should be constrained by concern for the sensibilities of families such as ours. This is what undermines the very people whose cases they promote.

    We have to make our parenting choices based on these and other principles – i agree that they make life difficult and we would rather things were not as they are. That does not mean we would like to see some Christians silenced, but the consequences of having a voice in this changing world are not always pleasant.

    Lies, deceit and spin don’t help mind you, as we saw and still see from Roman Catholics over their fostering and adoption agencies …….

    • nowconcerned

      Martin, I’m very sorry that you’ve had these experiences with your children.  I’m shocked that anyone would think that this was a suitable subject for a Sunday School class, let alone use the abomination word.  In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever heard the abomination word used in Church even when speaking to adults.

      I think the problem with the current bypass is that everyone speaks from their own experiences.  I’ve had some problems with churches, but I’ve been involved in some great children’s work, I’ve known some amazing families who’ve given a home to needy and vulnerable children, I’ve also worked for a Christian charity that helps children all over the world.  At no point has the question of homosexuality *ever* come up.  In fact, in many cases of dispute between Christians and fostering agencies, the question has not been whether Christians have the right to hold views on homosexuality.  The dispute has normally been between the council who wants the parents to teach the children about homosexuality and the parents who think the child is too young to be asking questions about sex and sexuality.  This is where I think the council is failing people such as the Johns.  I think the Johns answer the Johns gave when asked how to respond to a child who thought they might be gay was reasonable – they wouldn’t say it was wrong, but they would want to find out why a child of 8 was asking such questions at such a young age.  The council should have guided them at some point about what would be an appropriate, or inappropriate thing to say, and assured them that it wasn’t their religious beliefs they were attacking, but they were only concerned for the child.

      If it seems slightly bizarre that I’m telling social workers how to do their job, I do do something a bit similar.  I work for a service a bit like the Samaritans.  The clients aren’t children, but they’re young and in a vulnerable state.  When I’m training people, I always start off by asking them if they have strong views on something (and *everybody* has strong views on something, even if they think they don’t!).  I then ask some questions, explain our policies, and put them through a rigorous training process.  Some people fail, but nobody fails simply for having strong views (strong views in themselves aren’t a problem).  They fail because of personality – an inability to listen and too strong a desire to push their views on someone else.  Christians are no more likely to fail than anyone else.  I have no business telling someone that they’re views are wrong or ‘contaminating’, and neither do social workers.

      • nowconcerned

        P.S. for ‘bypass’ read ‘impasse’.

  • nowconcerned

    BTW  What are the lies, deceit and spin about Catholic adoption agencies?

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Yes, I wanted to know the same thing.

  • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

    You ask: Perhaps this, Perhaps that.
    You mention several of the factors covered in the form of enquiry that workers actually go through with prospective carers. How people respond to these can be key.
    As the chair of a Foster/Adoption panel I am sad to say we have had to decline carers who expressed attitudes that might sit perfectly well at a House of Bishops meeting when it was clear to the worker they might not adapt. This again is a judgement call from highly experienced social workers and it was interesting to note that others who held similar views were considered adaptable.
     

    • nowconcerned

      Yes, I think the ironic thing about this case is that the social worker involved did seem to be trying to find a solution.  If I had been advising the Johns, I would have advised them to cooperate and go on the course they were being offered about understanding sexuality (or, something like that, the course was unfortunately called a ‘reeducation course’ by the press – I’m not sure exactly what the content was).  However, I’ve known other cases where the social worker has (in my opinion) acted very unprofessionally in personally attacking the couple involved, rather than helping them to understand the sensitivities of the issue.  I’ve also been on the other side, when we’ve had to reject Christians from welfare positions because they showed little awareness of how to interact in a multi-cultural society.  I would add, though, that we’ve rejected politically active LGBT people for the same reason – they seemed more interested in pushing their own agenda than in giving people a safe place to talk.  I think anybody involved in welfare is wary of those too involved in pressure groups of any kind.  I think it’s unfortunate that it’s only Christians who are being presented in the press as unadaptable.

      Jesus taught a lot about pragmatism.  I think it’s something we’ve become too suspicious of in our anti-Nicodemite Protestant culture.

  • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

    Here is the spiel:
    “(The Church) considers that same-sex adoption is not in a child’s best interests because it denies the gifts of a mother and father who would take  the place of their own natural parents” 

    All the Roman Catholic agencies I contacted  – it was nearly all of them – prepared single people to become adopters. Westminster, one of the last to try and hold out against the government advertised a black woman divorcee as a successful adopter on their website.  Before the law allowing joint adoption by unwed couples came into force in 2006 many RC agencies were happy to prepare a person in a gay relationship for fostering and adoption. It would be well known that because of major harm done to children in their earlier life a surprising large number of children needing long term foster care or adoption CANNOT be placed in a home where there is a male parent and a very small number where there is a female.
    More spiel:
    “Marriage and the love of a mother and father, are the best forms of family life for a growing child.” & “Children born into married unions are twice as likely as those born to cohabiting couples to spend their childhoods with their natural parents.”
    The long experience of the Catholic adoption agencies, reinforced by the faith which led to their founding, was that children’s interests were best served by actively preferring stable, married, male – female role models…” 

    After Chris and I were rejected by the receptionist at the local RC agency for our 2nd/3rd child – We have been together for 32years , civilly partnered, with considerable experience and Andrew was attending Mass with Chris every Sunday – I rang up and claimed to be an unmarried and convinced atheist (previously divorced) living with a woman with whom I had three children. I was immediately put through to the social worker who pooh poohed the idea that I might not qualify because I was an atheist, divorced and unmarried. and urged us to come and see her.

    “The adoption agencies knew what this (changes in the Regulations) meant …….. But opening up their adoption service to same sex couples was unthinkable.”

    In fact as I have already said the agencies were already dealing with single gay people who later became coupled and with single person adoptions in existing families. there is anecdotal eveidence to suggest that when contacted by civil servants after Tony Blair called the matter in for cabinet approval agencies accounting for 96 percent of the placement said they already dealt with gay people and would be happy to include partnered gay families for joint adoption. As evidence of this those same agencies made the transition seamlessly  without any loss of staff save for the resignation of some bishops from the boards of management. If this were such a massive change for the worse for children  one would expect something different.

    In fact what seems to have happened is that the word went out from Rome that same sex couples should not be allowed to adopt.

    Roman Catholic agencies in America which had from time to time placed children with gay couples in the childrens best interests were told they had to stop. The Californian agency then under the present head of the CDF made such placements that were personally OK’d by Cardinal Levada. Following the Vatican fiat they reinvented themselves and work with other agencies in a way that allows them to avoid being seen placing with gay families. Boston was not so lucky “In a unanimous vote in December, the 42-member board of the Catholic
    Charities of the Archdiocese of Boston refused to accede to the request
    by Archbishop Sean O’Malley and the Catholic Conference of Massachusetts
    to cease including homosexual partners as adoptive parents” They were shut down.

    While the last quote comes from a news agency all the others are from a tract published by Austen Ivereigh and Kathleen Griffin “Catholic Voices”.

    In all the spiel I was struck by the total omission of any mention of faith – including the RC faith as a factor in health giving families ……
    I could do so much more but I hope this suffices to demonstrate what I say ….

    • nowconcerned

      So, to get this clear, this is what you’re accusing the RC Church of: for years they were effectively placing children with gay couples by helping one of the partners to adopt as a single parent.  Then civil partnership etc. came into effect and the order came from Rome that no gay couples could adopt.  In other words, the RC Church do not have a problem with gay couples adopting, they have a problem with being *seen* to enable gay couples to adopt.

      • nowconcerned

        I’m no expert on the RC Church, but it sounds similar to the sticky mess the CofE is in with the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.  For years the hierarchy has turned a blind eye for the general good of the Church, but very soon they’re going to have to make a decision – do they openly endorse these relationships, or not?

  • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

    Yes, that’s about it, and the spin and deception has been breathtaking since.

    It was the 2005 Act allowing unmarried couples of whatever gender to jointly adopt that really caused the problem. Prior to that only married couples could jointly adopt.

    • nowconcerned

      That does help put Tony Blair’s decision to disallow discrimination in perspective.

      BTW. in case you were wondering, the ‘nowconcerned’ refers to concern over the increasing breakdown of communication between certain Christian groups and other groups in society.  I have no connection with Christian Concern.

      • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

         The horror for me was to listen to Christians sow  disinformation, spin and defame the very people they had given children to over the years – diminishing the very families they had helped build and support. It remains a scandal.

        There are 4000 children in care here in Wales seeking a family and we have less than a 1000 people/couples in preparation.

        Now we have the RC bishops and their cronies on at every possible opportunity saying that:
        “Children deserve a mother and a father.” Implying in all they say that Catholic agencies only worked with married couples!
        This has an impact on people across the spectrum. It discourages the single and gay partnered candidates – who repeat the mantra back at us! But sadly the converse has not been true – we have not seen a flood of married couples seeking to foster and adopt!

        This evil, self serving and deceiving spin is diminishing the pool of prospective adopters and damaging the chances of these kids ever having a family to love and support them – while claiming it is all done “in the best interests of the child”.
        I do beleive we should all be concerned with the “breakdown of communication between certain Christian groups and other groups in society” and this is prime example of how a religious organisation falsely uses the gay issue to appear harassed and bullied.

         

        • nowconcerned

          “we have not seen a flood of married couples seeking to foster and adopt!”
          That doesn’t surprise me.
          a) the newspapers are full of horror stories of how adopted children all grow up feeling confused and miserable about their identity.
          b) the newspapers are full of horror stories about how difficult social workers are and how impossible the process is.
          c) Conservative Christians are put off dealing with social services because they now expect hostility.
          d) Alternatives such as surrogate mothering, sperm donation, IVF treatments are being sold to infertile and gay couples (actually, I recently had a conversation with a gay friend in which he was expressing his concern that children were being seen in this way, when there were so many children in care).

          And d) also adds to the sense of moral panic around children and the natural family (I’ve been alarmed by some of the laws passed through parliament in this area).

          I’m really glad I talked to you today as I’d been thinking that fostering and adoption were closed to me, but I’m feeling much more positive about it, as I’m sure I can apply some common sense.

          • http://twitter.com/RevMReynolds Martin Reynolds

             “I’m sure I can apply some common sense.”

            the sweet balm of common sense!
            Good luck!
            Peter will give you my contact details privately if you want a pep-talk or reassurance.
            Our lads are fabulous!
            Even when I want to kill ‘em!

            • nowconcerned

              I’m sure they’re a credit to you and give a lot back!  I don’t think I’ve been married long enough to take on that kind of responsibility right now (when I really think about it, the idea of being a parent scares me sick!).  But a few years down the line when I’m feeling more confident I’ll remember your kind offer.

  • Huw

    Young Strudwick clearly seems to have “entrapped” her and surely should respect the fact that someone does have the right to seek help if they want to change (even if Strudwick obviously would not accept that in terms of his own sexual desires). She may well not be a good counsellor, but perhaps his calculated lies gave her green lights to go beyond what one could consider to be a “normal” situation – for example, someone actually struggling with same-sex attraction or an active homosexual lifestyle. If someone cries to be saved then it can be difficult not to jump in to try to pull them out.

    • http://www.peter-ould.net Peter Ould

      Huw,

      I would love to reply to this and your private message, but your email address doesn’t seem to work.

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