Sunday, 10 April 2011

Game Over for Manx Christian homophobes

It’s been a funny old week in what passes itself off as the Manx press since it finally became legal to register a civil partnership.
To summarize briefly, we finally won the war for common decency over here, but in coming months there are a few religious snipers to be picked off. Which will happen, as they're not very clever, definitely not very popular and their old government friends are either retiring or popping their clogs.
So what we see now is a backlash by local faith leaders to the legalization of civil partnerships, now that they've totally lost the battle to stop them.
See, for example, in which the Anglican area manager peddles a line last used by the Christian Institute as an either/or ultimatum to block the original Civil Partnership Bill in the UK.
It all sounds quite reasonable at first, but read closely and what he's doing is dissing gay marriage as a self-indulgent whim and trying to put some distance between the concept of Christian heterosexual marriage as 'proper' marriage and any form of 'partnership' as nothing more than a handy legal contract which might save you a few quid in tax benefits.
For the record, the current bishop wasn't here when the CP Bill Public Consultation took place back in around 2005, but his predecessor made no public comment on the subject and the Anglican submission was written by an Archdeacon who only retired last month. It did not take the Christian Institute line, did not oppose legal civil partnerships, and only wanted reassurances that clergy would not be under legal pressure to perform church ceremonies.
Those reassurances could not be gained through open discussion in Tynwald, because it would have shown up the churches as homophobic throwbacks who wanted the income from legal church weddings without the commitment of proper civil registrars to treat grown-ups decently. It was gained instead by their stooges in COMIN (Council of Ministers), whose meetings are not open to the public and whose minutes are not published until three months after the non-event, by which time the sleazy little deals have been nodded through Tynwald without risk that a member of the public could tip off their MHK.
Then there’s , which again looks very promising on the surface. But I think not if you know who is behind it, their history and their management structure.
Until a couple of years ago the Isle of Man Adoption Service, the charity paid by government to run our adoption services, was called Manx Churches Adoption and Welfare Society. All that changed was the name.
Employment, policy and committee membership are still under the control of the Anglican Church. The treasurer, for as long as I can remember, is a paid up member of Forward in Faith, one of the Anglican breakaway cults that can't deal with women priests, gays...or most other people!
It's one of about half a dozen such government-underwritten church charities in the social services sector who are dim enough to think that if they dropped the word 'church' or 'Christian' from their name, nobody would know how they're run.
Sorry, but some of us look at charity and company formation docs every day. We know the difference between registering a name change and registering an entire new constitution. We check, and we DO pass information on to people who can use it.
What's been happening is a desperate shortage of people adopting, and what MCAWS (as most people still know them) are really up to is relaxing, of necessity, an approval system that checks if potential parents run 'good Christian homes' (yes, they really used that phrase to someone I know) and allowing unmarried or divorced Christians, possibly even single parents, to adopt if enough fully lobotomized, church-spliced spouse-and-child-abusers don’t come forward.
They've been unsuccessfully trying to advertise this for the last year or two, but could not bring themselves to use 'the G word'. Annoyingly, they've been approached numerous times by gay and lesbian couples in recent years, without success, and in truth there never was a legal barrier anyway, just the personal prejudices of those vetting.
I suspect that MCAWS jumped on the first day when civil partnership ceremonies could be booked as a handy free advert, but that in practice gay couples will be the last resort once they've worked through any other applicants. For the sake of Manx kids who need good homes, I just hope the cultists don’t come forward, and government stops offering enough money to make child abuse a Christian business prospect.

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