Friday, October 31, 2008

From permitting harm to preventing good

Briefing. The new persecution has begun, and it is going to get worse. The Church, and Catholics as individuals, are being pushed out of one area of national life after another.

From CFNews: Family Education Trust director, Norman Wells, highlights an alarming trend in public policy and legislation

OVER the past 40 years, we have witnessed wave after wave of permissive legislation. It has never been easier to obtain an abortion or a divorce, young people under the age of consent have no difficulty in accessing contraception in complete confidence, homosexual couples can adopt and foster children and, through the Civil Partnership Act, legal recognition has been given to same-sex relationships.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill represents a further example of permissive lawmaking with its removal of the requirement to consider the need of a child for a father before granting IVF treatment and provisions allowing for the construction of animal-human hybrids, the creation of 'saviour-siblings'. and the increased use of embryos in stem cell research.

A new phenomenon

But now we are beginning to see a new phenomenon. No longer content with permissive legislation and standards. our social engineers are becoming increasingly prescriptive as they seek to impose their permissive attitudes and standards on those who have so far resisted them.

At the British Medical Association's annual conference in July. Liberal Democrat MP and honorary associate of the National Secular Society. Evan Harris. sought support for a motion aimed at placing limits on the statutory right of doctors and other healthcare professionals to conscientiously object to having anything to do with abortion or IVF services.

Thankfully the motion failed, but the issue is not going to go away. This autumn Dr Harris is proposing an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill aimed at requiring all doctors and pharmacists to prescribe or provide the full range of contraception and emergency hormonal birth control. It is the intention of the amendment that those who are unable in good conscience to facilitate the provision of treatment that has the potential to operate after conception has occurred should be presented with a stark choice: act against your conscience or seek alternative employment elsewhere.

Tony Calland. chairman of the British Medical Association's medical ethics committee, treats conscientious objectors to abortion with similar contempt. In a recent issue of the British Medical Journal, he asserted: 'It would be a bit stupid of someone who is a devout Catholic to become a gynaecologist, because they would he expected to carry out abortions.' Presumably Dr Calland's strictures would apply equally to an evangelical. a Muslim, an orthodox Jew, or anyone else with strong moral or religious convictions.

Conform or perish

Only last year. after initially denying that the sexual orientation regulations would have any adverse effect on the businesses of people who had a moral or religious objection to homosexual practice, the then Equalities Minister. Meg Munn. finally admitted that the regulations could have a major impact. In a letter to the Family Education Trust, she revealed that wedding photographers not wishing to be involved with civil partnerships would have to go into a different branch of photography, and suggested that a wedding chauffeur could always specialise in corporate travel. As for hotel proprietors, if they were not prepared to allow same-sex couples to share a double room, the only option open to them under the law would be to do away with double rooms altogether and only offer single rooms. The message could hardly have been clearer: you have got to conform or face going out of business.

New orthodoxies

There is now a danger that certain professions - including healthcare - will become no-go areas for people who refuse to submit to the new orthodoxies. But the situation we are facing is even more serious than that, because people of moral and religious principle are also being excluded from areas of public service and from vital caring roles.

The Sheffield magistrate, Andrew McClintock, was effectively forced to resign from the Bench because he could not in good conscience be involved in placing children for adoption with same-sex couples. And David and Heather Bowen, a couple from Somerset, have recently had their application to foster turned down because they occasionally use a smack to discipline their own daughter. There is no suggestion that they have ever used excessive force on their own child and they have willingly given an undertaking that they would not smack a fostered child, yet solely because of their views on smacking they were deemed unsuitable to foster.

Imposing a new morality

To put it at its simplest, for four decades we have tolerated, permitted and even promoted policies that cause harm, but until recently no one has been forced to do anything against his or her conscience. In the past we have been content to call good what centuries of Judaeo-Christian influence has regarded as evil; but now, we are beginning to call evil what historically has been recognised as good. Not only are we embracing a new morality, but increasingly we are seeking to impose it by force of law.

And what are the consequences of this? Is our permissive-turned-prescriptive approach contributing to a more caring and compassionate society? Not at all. We desperately need more public-spirited people to care for the most needy and vulnerable, yet these are the very people we are currently in danger of turning away when we place unacceptable limits on the exercise of freedom of conscience. [FYC]

1 comment:

umblepie said...

Thank you for this valuable and informative post. The facts are there- truly horrifying in their implications. All Christians, especially Catholics, must stand and fight against the evils foisted on Society. We must speak out loud and clear, in proclaiming God's laws, and we must do whatever we can to oppose and obstruct evil legislation. Above all we must continue to pray that the Kingship of Christ will be recognised and His laws honoured, and that our country will once again be truly Christian in word and deed.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen