A complaint from the National Secular Society to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has resulted in the Catholic adoption agency, the St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society, being threatened with the withdrawal of it charity status, and closure.
The National Secular Society, led by Terry Sanderson and Keith Porteous Wood, two homosexuals who are in a ‘civil partnership’, complained that St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society preferred criteria was to place children with couples who had been married for at least two years.
The National Secular Society complained that the Catholic adoptions agencies preference for married couples to adopt amounted to discrimination against homosexual persons. The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator upheld the National Secular Societies complaint dismissing positions taken by St Margaret’s that its criteria reflected the moral teachings of the Catholic Church.
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator gave the following reasons from dismissing the moral teachings of the Catholic Church:
‘We agree with the charity that its purposes bring it potentially within the scope of the exception, since one of its purposes is to enable persons sharing the Catholic faith to receive benefits and engage in activities within the framework of that belief. We also accept the charity’s view that the preferred criteria comply with the doctrine of the Catholic Church.
However, whilst the religious exception may apply where organisations are conducting activities such as acts of worship or devotion, it is unlikely that it will apply where a religious organisation is providing services to the public or carrying out functions of a public nature. In terms of the relevant case law, religious belief by itself cannot justify discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation when an organisation is providing a public facing service, such as the provision of a voluntary adoption agency, which is the charity’s function in terms of adoption
Our view therefore is that given the nature of the public facing service provided
by the charity they cannot rely upon the religious exception to justify their use of
the preferred criteria in respect of sexual orientation.’
The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator also found that the Catholic adoption agency discriminated against other religions because its preferred criteria was to place Catholic children with Catholic parents:
‘…on the face of it, the less favourable treatment which the charity’s guidelines suggest it gives couples who do not wish to adopt within the Roman Catholic faith (as opposed to Roman Catholic couples or those wishing to adopt within the framework of that faith) amounts to direct discrimination on the basis of religion.’
A spokesman for the National Secular Society stated that he hoped that the Catholic charity would not fight the decision of the Regulator, following the example of those ‘Catholic’ charities that compromised Catholic teaching by accepting homosexual persons to adopt Catholic children:
‘”If St Margaret’s wishes to continue to provide services, it must remove these provisions from its constitution – this will be in the children’s best interests. In England, some of the Catholic agencies complied and are now providing their services to everyone without prejudice. Those doing so have generally been faced with the Catholic Church heartlessly withdrawing its co-operation and forcing them to break their link with the Church. Other agencies felt that they could not comply and have closed.
“We hope that St Margaret’s will continue to fulfil its valuable role, even if it has to sever its connection with the Catholic Church. We certainly hope it will not take the same route as Catholic Care (Diocese of Leeds) which pursued a long, expensive and, in the end, fruitless appeal with the Charity Commission. The charity’s funds can be better spent in the interests of children than being wasted in legal fees to delay the inevitable.”
Protect the Pope comment: This is the reality of life for Catholics in the 21st century in this country, that a militant secularist group led by a gay couple has the power to close down a Catholic charity that has been placing children with married Catholic couples since 1955.
That the National Secular Society can point to the example of Catholic charities in England that compromised over the Church’s moral teaching about the immorality of placing Catholic children with gay ‘couples’ is a disgrace.
And David Cameron expects the Catholics of England and Wales to believe his empty re-assurances that his quadruple lock will protect the Catholic Church from being hounded by homosexuals such as Sanderson and Porteous Wood taking legal action in an attempt to force us to conduct same-sex marriages? The National Secular Society is forever going to the European Court of Human Rights to remove our religious freedoms, seen recently with Porteous-Wood crowing to the BBC about Christians losing their cases about freedom of conscience. It is certain that in a few years time our dioceses will be threatened with the loss of their charitable status for discriminating against same-sex couples.