Yet again, the headline to Michael Kelly’s piece, “Little charity shown to those with religious beliefs” (Perspective, 13 June), conflates religious belief (believing that there is – for want of a better word – a supernatural creator of this world) with a belief that homosexuality is perverted or wrong.
Disregarding the hypocritical and downright illogical view trotted out by some evangelicals that “God hates the sin but loves the sinner” (ie God loves you but hates everything about you), I’m sure there are many other religious believers, Christian or not, who like me have no problem with anyone’s homosexual orientation – indeed believing that if someone is homosexual that is how God created them.
There are many committed Christians who agree with me. They reasonably point out that their conviction that homosexuality is perfectly compatible with Christian belief is based on the biblical evidence that Jesus never said anything about it, preferring to urge people to love one another and not pass moral judgments.
(Dr) Mary Brown
Michael Kelly argues from the belief that diversity is not only to be tolerated but celebrated. Especially where there is a proven track record of service over many years, one would have thought that some accommodation for religious beliefs could have been made in the case of the St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society, not least because people clearly want to use its services.
Surely those seeking its good offices, most if not all of them taxpayers, have a right to use the agencies that best reflect their own values when the motivation is not exclusion but the expression of love in one of its myriad forms.
The argument one hears supporting gay marriage, for example, is based upon a premise that love is love is love, and if one wants to express it in a particular way, so be it.
The point that often seems to be made by secularists is that we should express love and in a “non-exclusive” way. I am not sure if they understand humanity all that well.
While not denying others the right to express their emotions according to their understanding and motivation, we cannot love in general but in particular.
We cannot share a colourless, bland humanity with all adults or children at once but only the humanity that is rich and special to each person and situation, given in a necessarily “exclusive” way and not to all.
We are not all the same and as long as there are plenty of options for same-sex couples to have access to adoption services, surely our society’s interests are served without recourse to blanket bans.
(Rev Dr) Thomas J Shields
There is so much about Michael Kelly’s defence of the discrimination practised by St Margaret’s adoption agency that is disgraceful and ludicrous that it is difficult to know where to start in rebuttal.
The National Secular Society has no wish to see the agency close, but merely wants it to obey the law, as Scotland’s other former Catholic adoption agency, St Andrew’s in Edinburgh, has been doing for the past five years.
Why is that so difficult, when St Andrew’s has shown the way, with Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s backing, and in such exemplary fashion?
Let’s imagine that an adoption agency refused to consider applications from prospective adopters purely on the grounds of their Catholic faith and deliberately restricted the pool of prospective parents by excluding Catholics, the law of the land notwithstanding.
The howls of victimhood at the hands of sectarianism would be long and shrill from Peter Kearney in the Scottish Catholic Media Office, and for once they would be completely justified.
That there are other adoption agencies to which such Catholics could be referred is irrelevant.
If Michael Kelly had been writing in a similar vein about Alabama in 1955 and the case of Rosa Parks, then he and St Margaret’s are arguing that she would not have suffered the racial discrimination (that coincidentally kick-started the civil rights movement) if she had been redirected to another bus that allowed black people to sit where they wanted.
That way, she would not have been breaking the Alabama racial segregation law by sitting in a seat reserved for white folks. It is a further shame on Scotland that such an option was expressed in a meeting with the adoption agency by a minister in the Scottish Government.
Michael Kelly’s final assertion that there is a hierarchy of rights at work, with religion at the bottom, is laughable.
His interpretation of “religious freedom” seems to be that it must give religious people the freedom to make life intolerable for others. In his world, the persecutors become the persecuted.
National Secular Society
Michael Kelly questions today my statement that research evidence shows clearly that children do as well with same-sex parents as they do with mixed-sex parents.
He cites research by Mark Regnerus as throwing doubt on this. However, the Regnerus study has been widely discredited.
It did not study same-sex couples as parents at all, but rather tried to identify people who might have had a lesbian or gay parent simply by asking them whether they thought their parent had ever had sex with someone of the same sex.
That does not constitute a valid comparison of same-sex and mixed-sex couples’ parenting.
The best way to assess the research in this area is to look at the reviews that have considered it all. For example, earlier this year, the American Sociological Association (ASA), the professional body for researchers in this field, provided an evidence brief on this issue to the US Supreme Court.
It states: “When the social science evidence is exhaustively examined – which the ASA has done – the facts demonstrate that children fare just as well when raised by same-sex parents.”
Michael Kelly claims that many MSPs expressed misgivings about the law allowing same-sex couples jointly to adopt. But after considering the evidence, MSPs unsurprisingly voted for that law by 101 votes to six.
Michael Kelly’s excellent article made clear the way that “gay rights” are crushing all dissent underfoot, through whichever government agency is available.
How has a small campaigning group come to dominate the political and media establishment to this extent?
Could it be that we are run by a generation who largely chose to reject Christian sexual ethics in their own lives, and who therefore now grasp at the opportunity presented by this issue to portray traditional sexual morality in a negative light, thus indirectly justifying themselves?
There are two common responses to those who disturb our conscience: repentance or anger.