27 January 2007

One very good Christian, one very bad and hypocritical Christian

After reading this article by Stephen Bates, Religious Affairs Correspondent in The Guardian on Thursday 25th January, one makes an exception to my general dislike of Christians, decreeing official Icon status for Reverend Martin Reynolds.

Extracts from the article below: further press coverage here.


If anyone knows what it is like to be a gay adopter of a child, it's Reverend Martin Reynolds. He's gay, in a long-term partnership, an ordained clergyman of the Anglican church in Wales, and for the last 15 years, he has been fostering a boy with severe behavioural difficulties.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, knows all about him too: he used to live next door when he was Archbishop of Wales, and the boy played with his own children. He knows that gay couples can provide a loving home for disadvantaged and at-risk children, yet on Tuesday, he wrote to the government demanding that religious adoption agencies should not have their consciences challenged by being required to consider gay couples as adopters. Article continues




The letter followed a threat by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, leader of the Roman Catholic church in England and Wales, to withdraw its seven agencies from adoption rather than consider the move.

Pressing on Archbishop Williams's mind will be the knowledge that in a fortnight he has a meeting in Tanzania with Anglican church leaders from around the world, some of whom believe homosexuality is evil and gay people are worse than beasts, and he cannot afford to offer them any hostages to fortune if he is to hold the worldwide communion together.

Reverend Martin Reynolds and his partner Chris, who have lived together for 27 years, were first asked to foster the boy when he was four and Barnardo's could not find another home for him because he was so disruptive. When the couple took him in he was filthy and had only one set of clothes: he had severe learning difficulties and very severe behavioural problems, and they had to sit with him all night in case he damaged himself. The first hour he was in their house, he smashed 16 things. The couple fostered the boy for 100 days a year initially and for the last five years have fostered him full-time. The boy is now 19: next autumn, he has a place in college.

On Wednesday, Reverend Reynolds was accompanying the boy to hospital for medical tests; he took time to answer questions from the press, given heated political debate over the issue of gay adoption.

"Rowan must know that the Church of England's own adoption society welcomes gay people: it has done for eight years. In our case, we were the first gay couple in Wales to be allowed to foster our boy by Barnardo's. The Catholic church has allowed it elsewhere. Cardinal Levada, who's become the Vatican's doctrinal enforcer, when he was Archbishop of San Francisco allowed at least three children from Catholic agencies to be placed with gay couples."

"There are thousands of kids out there… I would not want to see one of them being denied a home with a family, but I also would not want to see them being denied a home if there was a suitable gay family who could take them… You can't make kids gay.”

“One person can make all the difference if they are suitable - that's how vital it is and the church should not knock out one section of people before they even look. Kids just need a good parent. What they need is a loving home to move into. It's about children having the right place, so that the maximum number can have a chance in life. We are proud of our boy. I think what we have given him has been a place to be angry and safe; now he has a real chance to live an independent life in the community. If you had asked us then, we would not have wanted to take him in, but now we say we would not have missed it. It has been a most wonderful transformation of our lives."

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