Were Eunice and Owen Johnson denied children because of religious belief or how they vowed to treat gay children?
Some anti-gay Christians suggest that cases such as Eunice and Owen Johnson, who were denied foster children by a UK court, will happen if Jamaica repeals its buggery law because they claim that gay rights trump Christian “rights”.
Were any “rights” denied in Owen and Eunice Johnson’s case?
As Ricardo Smalling puts it in a letter to the Jamaica Observer “I think the first thing that should be pointed out is that no one has an inherent right to foster children, who are legally wards of the state.”
Article published by the Jamaica Observer about the Johnsons case:
Anti-gay couple barred
England stops Jamaican-born Christians from fostering 16th child
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
A Jamaican-born British couple say they have been told they can’t foster a 16th child in their Derby County home, because as Christians they don’t believe homosexuality is right.
Eunice and Owen Johnson came to Jamaica to push the anti-gay agenda after they were denied the state’s foster children because they vowed to “turn” a gay child.
“These people (gays) have more rights than Christians. We have been called retarded homophobics because we want to stand up for the truth,” Eunice Johns, a retired nurse who hails from Trelawny, said in an interview with the Jamaica Observer yesterday.She was asked: “What if a child of five came to you one day from school and told you that they were homosexual?” To this she responded: “I would care for that child, I would give them love and attention and all that’s required.”Her response, however, did not find favour with the social worker and when Eunice ventured to ask what her response should have been, she was told: “You would have to tell this child that it is alright to be homosexual.”Failing to convince Eunice to change her mind on the matter, the social worker said she would have to raise the issue with her manager. Two weeks later the manager came to see her.“She said to us: ‘Well, Mr and Mrs Johns, we were told that you said you could not tell a child it is alright to be homosexual, and in this day and age you would have to because so many children are not sure where they are and a lot of them are confused. So many people are confused these days, because they weren’t told that their sexuality and what they are feeling is right’.”She said she and her husband were then taken before a panel of 12 persons at the Council where they were asked to explain their views on homosexuality. Two weeks after that, they got a letter thanking them for withdrawing their application to foster children. The couple were shocked, because they had made no such request. However, they decided not to contest the Council on the matter.“After they said, ‘thank you for withdrawing’, we said ‘that’s alright, we would leave it, no skin off our nose, perhaps we shouldn’t foster’,” she recalled.But just a few weeks later, they learnt of another couple whose foster child was taken away because they refused to tell them that homosexuality was right, she added.After the passage of The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations of 2007, Johns said they began hearing of Christians who were being prosecuted for denouncing the gay lifestyle. Several Christian children’s homes had been closed, Christian pastors were being abused, and several Christian business owners were forced to close because they decided to affirm their belief. Christian marriage counsellors were also coming under increased pressure because of their refusal to marry same-sex couples, she claimed.
Is this the full story? That they were denied foster children simply because of anti-gay views?
Council Defends Ban on Christian Couple Fostering, Says Husband Vowed to ‘Turn’ Gay Child
Britain’s Derby Council has defended banning a self-avowed devout Christian couple from providing further foster care to children because of the couple’s anti-gay views, with a member of the council revealing in a BBC interview that the husband had said he would try and “turn” a gay child.
From the BBC:
Derby couple Mr and Mrs Johns, aged 62 and 65, applied to the council to offer respite foster care in 2007.
The couple were then asked by a social worker if they were prepared to talk to a child who might be gay in way that promoted diversity.
“I’m a Bible-believing Christian,” said Mrs Johns. “I’ve got nothing against homosexuals. I just don’t believe in the act because my Bible tells me two men lying together [is] an abomination.”
The council said that in this assessment Mr Johns said he would try to “turn the child”. Mr Johns said he could not remember making this statement.
Derby City Council’s director of specialist services, Katie Harris, said that Mr Johns did in fact make that statement, telling BBC Radio 4′s The Report: “If it had come out that we had approved somebody who had been caring for a child… and they had actually been found to be putting into practice what Mr Johns had described about ‘turning a child’, we would have been in great difficulty as the authority charged with caring for that child.”
Further, she rejected the claim that Derby Council was penalizing religious couples, saying instead that it was the Johns’ specific beliefs about gay people and in turn gay children that had caused concern.
She also said that Derby Council could have in fact approved the couple and then never used them, but while this would have been easier and would likely have avoided any court battle, it would have been a waste of resources.
The couple’s lawyers, the Christian Legal Centre, have abandoned plans at a legal appeal saying that due to equality laws it would likely be fruitless. They have, however, said that this is another case where gay rights have been given weight over religious rights. They have not, however, commented on the child welfare aspect.
Mr and Mrs Johns have started a petition targeted at Prime Minister David Cameron asking that he overturn equality laws that they say penalize religious freedom of speech.
Mr Cameron, while not having spoken about the Johns’ request for political intervention, said shortly after the ruling in favor of Derby Council that he believes the High Court had settled the case, commenting: “This matter was decided by a court in the appropriate way and I think we should rest with the judgment that was made.”
“Turning” gay children? Is that in a child’s best interest?
What the mental health experts have to say about “turning”gay children
Just the Facts About Sexual Orientation & Youth: A Primer for Principals, Educators and School Personnel
A Publication Endorsed by:
American Academy of Pediatrics, American Association of School Administrators, American Counseling Association, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychological Association, American School Counselor Association, American School Health Association
Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Secondary School Principals
National Association of Social Workers, National Education Association, School Social Work Association of America
“Sexual orientation conversion therapies assume that homosexual orientation is both pathological and freely chosen. No data demonstrate that reparative or conversion therapies are effective, and in fact they may be harmful.”
“As these statements make clear, the nation’s leading professional medical, health, and mental health organizations do not support efforts to change young people’s sexual orientation through therapy and have raised serious concerns about the potential harm from such efforts.”
Is there legislation in the United Kingdom that restricts anti-gay people from fostering children or is approval based solely on the attitude of the applicants in the interest of children?
As Eunice Johnson said to the Observer “The judge did not say we could not foster children, but the judge was saying England is no longer a Christian country, it’s now a secular country.”