Friday, 4 November 2011

Care in the Community

I’m pretty sure the Isle of Man Government – and especially the Department of Education – should not be encouraging people to link up with hate groups. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to know it’s actually illegal – even on this bigoted island.
So I was surprised to learn that a recent item on FirstClass, a Department of Education-run website ( homepage at ) informs local mothers that: (an) “event, entitled Mum’s the Word, has been organised by national charity Care for the Family, whose aim is to strengthen family life and help those facing family difficulties. It will take place at The Mount Murray Hotel on Thursday 17th November from 730-10pm.”
So let us get something straight at once. CftF is not a Manx ‘national charity’, but a network of off-island charities, all cross-pollinating faith-based hate and ignorance. It began as an England and Wales charity, but is also separately registered in Scotland and Northern Ireland, though it fails to declare to any of those registries (as legally required) that it is a network rather than a stand-alone charity. As far as I can tell, it also should not be accepting money for charitable activities on the Isle of Man unless it has the specific permission of the Manx Attorney General to do so, because it is not registered here.
Although those with a little experience can track the structure, it also would not be too keen on the public regarding it as little more than a puppet of the even nastier Christian ‘education charity’ CARE (‘Christian Action Research & Education'), which has a strong lobbying team at Westminster, mostly thanks to links with the Conservative Christian Fellowship. The most obvious link is John O'Brien, a Care for the Family trustee, who is also a trustee of CARE, but I have little doubt that behind the scenes the management pyramid structure and policies are even more strongly linked.
To get a taste of CARE, this is a group who in 2005 sent letters to Scottish churches urging them to contact their local councils on the issue of civil ceremonies for same-sex couples registered under the new Civil Partnerships Act due to come into force that December.
The letter read: “CARE believes that it is not appropriate for there to be ceremonies associated with civil partnership registration. To hold a ceremony would suggest that registering a civil partnership has the same status as a heterosexual wedding, which it doesn’t.”
CARE also warned: “Some registrars are unwilling to perform such ceremonies and there may be issues of freedom of conscience if registrars are compelled to perform these ceremonies.”
That was because, from the time the original English Civil Partnership Bill was first passed, CARE put rather a lot of effort into writing to all registrars ‘advising’ them to try and opt out of conducting the ceremonies on ‘conscience’ grounds. As we all know, some did, and years later are still trying to take their case to Europe in a last ditch defence of religious bigotry and privilege.
Care for the Family, via links with Scottish and Northern Irish operations also not averse to taking public funds in return for truly cretinous ‘educational initiatives’, first got the chance to meddle in Manx educational affairs when David Anderson was Education Minister.
By the very oddest of coincidences this was about the same time that the Isle of Man Courier, picturing various happy university graduates, happened to report that: “Rachel Anderson, daughter of David and Jane Anderson, of Ballamoar, Patrick, has graduated from Durham University with a BA Hons in anthropology. She attended Peel Clothworkers' School and Queen Elizabeth II High School, where she was head girl in 2001-2. Rachel is spending the year as an intern with the charity CARE at Westminster, where she is working for an MP.”
The next year a third rate bunch of bible floggers posturing as a ‘theatre company’ got a nice gig at Ballakermeen School’s new ‘community art’ space. One of their trustees, Norman Adams, was another CftF trustee.
Small world, isn’t it?
Actually I spotted something even funnier in the FirstClass posting, which at one point says that: “Experienced speakers Katharine Hill and Cathy Madavan, who between them have six children, will share their own experiences of motherhood.”
I hope their managers haven’t noticed that. Because I imagine even the idea of lesbian mums and artificial insemination would have made CftF go all queer – if you’ll excuse the pun. On the other hand, considering how many desperate wankers seem to be involved in CARE and CftF, maybe the kids were just in-house jobs too. After all, these fundie freaks seem to like to keep everything else in the family.

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