A sign of the times


A sad reflection on current PC

God help needy Christian charities
By Charles Moore

Here are a few case studies, with a common thread. In 2005, Pamela Stevens, a single mother with a grown-up son, applied to Kensington and Chelsea Council to become a foster mother for older children. She had considerable experience of looking after teenagers because large numbers of them have lodged in her house over the years as language students.

Miss Stevens's application was turned down.

Cherie Colman is also a single mother. Some time after her divorce 17 years ago, she set up a charity called Cheer (Comfort, Hope, Empathy, Encouragement, Rebuilding) to help single mothers. Cheer applied for a grant from a Department for Education programme, administered through the Peabody Trust, for its holiday activities for the children of the mothers on a south London council estate. This was turned down.

advertisementFor 40 years now, the Spitalfields Crypt Trust has ministered to homeless alcoholics. It has two "second stage" houses where they can live under supervision while they are recovering. One of these houses is part-funded by Tower Hamlets Council, but now the council is threatening to take the grant away.

The common thread is that all these people and organisations were objected to on the grounds that they were Christian.

Miss Stevens was told that she would not be suitable as a foster mother because her beliefs, in the words of the letter of rejection, "prevent you from fully accepting a child's sexuality if he or she were lesbian or gay", and because "your beliefs do not allow you to actively promote another religion for a child".

Cheer was told by the grant officer that it would not get the funding for its holiday activities (which until then had been looking promising) because she had looked at its website, and it proclaimed that it was Christian. She said that this meant Cheer was not open to everybody, although in fact Cheer ministers to all single mothers, regardless of faith. Her letter of rejection identified Cheer's crime: its website showed "that your assistance for single parents includes extending Christian comfort and offering prayer".

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