That is the title of my most recent column at The Catholic Thing. Here’s how it begins:
Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won’t be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
The blizzard, the blizzard of the world
has crossed the threshold
and it has overturned
the order of the soul….
– Leonard Cohen (“The Future,” 1992)
These amazing lyrics by Leonard Cohen came to mind after my friend, Lydia McGrew, brought to my attention a court case in the United Kingdom. It concerns Eunice and Owen Johns, a Pentecostal Christian couple, who were rejected as foster parents by a panel of the Derby City Council. They were not rejected because they were child abusers, unstable, or lacked the requisite skills or background. In fact, according to one account, the couple has already been foster parents to twenty children.
The Johns were denied foster children because they believe that human sexuality has a certain intrinsic purpose that may only be consummated by one man and one woman within the confines of matrimony, and that it is their responsibility to properly instruct the children in their care of this truth. This, of course, entails that non-marital sex, including homosexual conduct, is immoral. But as we have come to realize in these post-modern times, sex is merely an act between consenting adults while a moral judgment about consensual sex is not an act in which consenting adults may engage, especially if they do so while congregating under a cross on Sunday mornings. Because the Johns could not in good conscience embrace this secular shibboleth, they were denied by their community an opportunity to love and care for vulnerable children who would benefit from their selfless charity.
According to Mrs. Johns’ account, “The council said: ‘Do you know, you would have to tell them that it’s OK to be homosexual?’ But I said I couldn’t do that because my Christian beliefs won’t let me. Morally, I couldn’t do that. Spiritually I couldn’t do that.” And for this reason, the council declared that the Johns were no longer fit to be foster parents. This is why last week they found themselves before the British High Court.