Charles Moore has written a depressing piece about faith charities
in the Saturday Telegraph. He highlights the case of several Christian charities that were turned down for public funding.
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.....
.....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".
In all the cases highlighted, the charities were rejected on the grounds that they were Christian. Ironically, all this is happening at a time when the Government is trying to encourage faith charities to carry out more of the "social work" traditionally done by local authorities.
You don't have to agree with the ethos of faith charities, but if you ask them to stop believing in the very thing that motivates them, you are also asking them to give up their raison d'etre
. Like the new law that forces Catholic adoption agencies
to place children with gay parents, local government seems to be motivated more by social control than by any desire to help local communities.