Should This Pentecostal Christian Couple Be Banned From Foster Parenting Over Anti-Gay Beliefs?

A Pentecostal Christian couple are fighting for the right to be foster care parents — despite their views that homosexuality is disgusting.

Eunice and Owen Johns, a sexagenarian British couple, pulled their application after a foster care review official told them they would be “doomed” to be rejected because they find the “homosexual lifestyle” unacceptable. So they took the matter to court … for pre-approval. The Guardian relays:

Their lawyer, Paul Diamond, told the court the couple were “doomed not to be approved”, which was why they agreed with the council to seek clarification from the high court.

He said: “The promotion of values is something that the court should be protecting, especially when these religious values are recognised as giving a moral framework to values in our country. No one is disputing that the duty of every public authority is to safeguard and promote the welfare of a child. It is conceivable if there was an extremely vulnerable adolescent practising [homosexual] child, who may be placed in a certain familial relationship that was disapproving, that may not be a sensible placement.”

Diamond said the couple, who have fostered 15 children in the past, wanted to be respite carers for short-term placements for a child aged between five and 10. He said: “They say they would offer a secure and loving home relationship to a young child whose family are unable to cope and need a short break.” But he told the court that the couple’s views on homosexuality did not fit in with the council’s standards on valuing diversity.

And therein lies the difference between respecting the beliefs of adults and valuing the interests of a child first and foremost. If you place a child who happens to be LGBT, or learns he or she is during the course of a foster care stay, in the custody of two people who believe that child is living in sin, there will not be a healthy environment for the child. That alone is reason to disqualify this couple. Foster parenting is not, despite the beliefs of the Johns, as equally about the adults as it is the kids.
(NB: Also, I think it’s about time we and the media discontinue referring to these types of beliefs as “traditional,” as the Guardian does. These views are not traditional. They are outdated, discriminatory, and horrendous.) [Guardian]

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  • Fagburn

    They’re clearly nutcases so no, they shouldn’t be allowed to foster kids.

  • edgyguy1426

    So would they feel comfortable with white supremecists raising a foster child?

  • Daez

    The views are considered “traditional” because like it or not, they are “traditional” religious views. However, we have came so much farther than “traditional” views in this society that those views are just not acceptable anymore.

    Some other “traditional” views include slavery (which was blessed by churches), the extermination of the Jewish race (yes, the Catholic church blessed the holocaust), dowry (the church endorsed women as property) and many other beliefs that people would be detested for even in the very same churches that held these “traditional” values.

  • Kevin

    I’m not sure I agree about this. If we really care first and foremost about the welfare of the child, we should take into account that, 90% of the time, the child in question isn’t LGBTQ. Even if they are, it’s hard to stand in judgment of a family’s ability to temporarily foster an LGBTQ child despite their views that the “lifestyle” is sinful. I mean, lots of gay and lesbian kids (the majority, I’d wager) are raised in less than perfectly tolerant households, and very few are done grave, irreperable harm. Heck, even those parents of LGBTQ who are accepting largely became that way after their kids came out. Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if, when confronted with a gay foster child who they loved, their views would change.

    I don’t know about the British foster system, but if it’s anything like America’s, there are far too few foster parents available, and far too many of them are physically or sexually abusive. I would be loathe to turn away a couple who, even if not the perfect, progressive parents we all wish we had, were enthusiastic, loving, and non-abusive.

  • Cam

    If they cared about the children, how about adopting them and not taking a check?

    Additionally, what would their response be if a different couple wanted to foster children and teach them that all Pentacostals were satanists and against god? Would they support THOSE values?

  • Queer Supremacist

    @Kevin: To me it doesn’t matter whether the kids are gay or not. What matters is the welfare of the children, and anti-gay bigotry, especially when the reverse is true, has been proven detrimental to children’s welfare. You are right that many gay and lesbian kids have been raised in less than tolerant households and turned out okay, but what if they did not?

    That they are Pentecostal in the first place should disqualify them from being allowed anywhere near kids.

  • tallskin2

    The list of religious bigotry against us just grows and and grows

    It’s invariably the religious that are homophobic.

    I don’t think I’ve ever met an atheist homophobe.

    I wonder why

  • ron

    @tallskin2: Don’t you think Cassandra is an atheist?

  • Merlyn

    No, Pentescostal Christians should not be foster parents. Kids having to be in the foster care system have enough trouble as it is without havin to deal with religious nutcases.

  • Kevin

    @Queer Supremacist: Sure, it’s not preferable for anyone to be raised in an intolerant household. It would be great if every foster parent (or hell, every parent) were accepting. But is a biased household better than no household? Are these people more harmful than orphanages and/or the rest of the foster families available? I, for one, doubt it.

    As far as “all Pentecostals shouldn’t foster,” I’m not sure I know enough about Pentecostalism to argue the point directly. However, Pentecostals are hardly alone in being anti-gay and I would imagine that, if that’s the barometer by which we decide if a family is fit to foster, you’d rule out non-secular Muslims and Catholics along with most branches of Protestantism. All you’d have left would be a few liberal churches, atheists, and agnostics. I doubt that would even come close to meeting the need.

  • Brian Miller

    Awwww, poor religious conservative douchebags.

    Now you are learning too late that the same government that allows YOU to prevent gay people from adopting kids for stupid, made-up reasons can ALSO prevent YOU from adopting kids for stupid, made-up reasons.


  • Symonds

    I feel like foster kids are probably hurting for ANY kind of parents, and I can live with giving them ones that aren’t the best. It would be nice if we could be picky and give everyone a perfect life, but these folks are willing and able, and they WILL have oversight enough to keep the crazy in check.

    That said, I think it’s pretty funny when conservative theocrats find themselves living under a government with the right to enforce family values, and they find out those values aren’t theirs. :D

  • Brooke

    I come from a long lineage of pentecostals. My mother’s family was part of the Wesleyan holiness movement before certain segments of it evolved into the pentecostal movement c. 1906, and almost all my family frequent holiness and/or pentecostal churches. My brother and I are the major exceptions. I have broken entirely with pentecostalism, especially it’s typically views on women and homosexuality, yet I cannot say that my family was any more dysfunctional than any other. My parents were perfectly competent parents who took very good care of us. I would mention, my brother is in fact my biological cousin, who came to live us as a foster child after his mother developed schizophrenia, and later was adopted by my parents with her blessing. That’s pretty damn decent of my parents, to take in their nephew and raise him like a son. And he’s not damaged, even after having had to deal with a schizophrenic birth mother. My point: pentecostal and holiness people can be just as loving and competent parents as any other, even if their views on homosexuality are ass-backwards.

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