Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Martyr time in Britain?

A committee of the British government said Wednesday that its sexual-orientation non-discrimination laws will have no religious exemptions for Church-related charities and schools. Money quote from Liberal Democrat Evan Harris, a panel member:
In particular, the report makes clear that under human rights law, Catholic adoption agencies have no valid basis for continuing to discriminate against gay people when providing adoption services.
According to UK Pink News (warning: gay site), the panel recommended extending the non-discrimination regulations ...
"to schools and the curriculum, without an exemption for faith-based schools, so that homosexual pupils are not subjected to teaching that their own sexuality is sinful or wrong."
From my reading of the articles, it looks like this is the formal equivalent of a bill passing a committee in Congress, with several steps still to go. But this pro-gay proposal is much more likely to become law because Britain's Parliamentary system and unified powers, unlike America's perpetually divided government and weak party discipline, basically gives the ruling party or coalition a free hand. Once they've decided what they want behind the closed doors, they almost always get it.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has said the most the government will offer the Church is a short period of transition to The New Order. According to that article, the Archbishop of Westminster, the lead see in England and Wales, had been threatening to close Catholic adoption agencies on the grounds of religious freedom but his quote to the BBC seems to back off a little.

UPDATE from Friday's papers: Catholic adoption agencies in Scotland may get an exemption based on the non-discrimination legislation that passed the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh:
Education minister Hugh Henry is in talks with his UK counterparts to allow Catholic adoption agencies north of the Border an 'opt out' of new legislation which would make it illegal to discriminate against homosexual couples.
Under the compromise, Scotland's two Catholic adoption agencies would be able to pass inquiries from would-be gay parents on to other organisations.
I hope St. John Ogilvie (shown right) is coming through on this one.

The US isn't quite this "advanced," but this sort of law, trampling on how the Church can conduct its business, augurs what is to come, because it is very much the result of the internal logic of the normalization of homosexuality and gay non-discrimination laws. If the view that homosexual acts are immoral and ought not to be encouraged or normalized (i.e., the teaching of the Church, and the entire Christian tradition until the day before yesterday) is some kind of irrational prejudice analogous to racism, then these kinds of laws are, in fact, good and should pass. Calling racism a religion does not hold up under current law and social praxis, and there is no reason to think "homophobia" will either.

Make no mistake -- this "irrational prejudice" view IS the view of secularists, the US ruling class, one of the two major US parties, and thus the view of Caesar in more and more of his Western forms. As Pat Buchanan has warned, a nation that does not share a religion (broadly-speaking) ceases to be a nation because all laws, customs and mores presuppose a common culture and common moral understanding. Which only a religion can provide. Functionally-speaking, secular egalitarianism (and thus "non-discrimination") is now the religion of the West's rulers, and, like all religions, it cannot treat other religions perfectly equally. All religions presuppose themselves as the grounding norm for everything else in the culture and society (so the very term "multicultural society" is an oxymoron, though it is not to be confused with "multiethnic polity," which is not).

I think the Church in Britain now, and thus the Church in the US sometime soon, really only has two options in the long run, though it should still do whatever it can do to kick the can down the road and delay The Day of Reckoning:

(1) simply close up shop, with respect to any charitable work that requires cooperation with Caesar, on the grounds that Caesar is fundamentally corrupt. That would mean closing down basically all of the Church's charitable work. Running a hospital, for example, requires state licensing on practically every employee or procedure. Even a poor-relief center has licensing hoops to jump through (mostly pro-forma, but nevertheless). The Church in the US recently had the power to make Caesar back down with this threat. As when Cardinal O'Connor threatened to close all the New York Catholic hospitals rather than obey some proposed city regulation on contraception or abortion (the precise nature of which is evading my memory). The city promptly backed down, at least with respect to Catholic hospitals.
(2) refuse to obey Caesar and dare him to do his worst. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the Church has hinted that it might do that and create "gay-rights martyrs." The pictures of nuns being arrested and Catholic schools being emptied would, one hopes, shame Caesar into backing down (maybe this is why the Church there may have won the minimum concessions that religious freedom requires). I don't wish martyrdom on anyone, even though jail time, not drawing-and-quartering at Tyburn Field, is the worst it could realistically be. And I don't see (1) as an acceptable end game either, as the Church's social work is both valuable to the common good and too integral to the Church's very self-understanding to be lightly tossed aside.

St. Edmund Campion (shown right) ... pray for us.


Jeannine said...

This is a frightening prospect in Britain. The multicultural religion is very unforgiving of heretics.

Steven Cornett said...

A very frightening prospect indeed. As for the choices, for the true Christian there really is only one choice; choice two.

One is simply to serve mammon instead of God, and we cannot serve two masters. So in the end we have to be prepared to be the queen's (or the President's) good servent but God's first.

St. Thomas Moore, pray for us.

Athos said...

You sum it up neatly, CM.


Athos @

Rich Leonardi said...

So in the end we have to be prepared to be the queen's (or the President's) good servent but God's first.

More's actual quip was "the King's good servant and God's first"; he never conceded that there was a legitimate conflict between the objects of his service.

Michael Petek said...

There's another option. As the gays persecute Christianity into silence, Islam will emerge to fill the vacuum. As Islamic activists become strong enough to impose shari'a law in local areas, they will start executing the gays.

Then the gays will come whining to the Christians for protection and support. Of course, we'll give it to them. And the price will be . . .

Mike Walsh, MM said...

Sadly, there are quislings in the Church (there and here) who support these outrages.

thetimman said...

interesting point on the islamic issue.