The Prime Minister yesterday waded into the row over Christian foster parents’ views on homosexuality, saying Christians should be “tolerant, welcoming and broadminded”.
David Cameron made the loaded remark in response to a question from the Derby Telegraph about a court case involving Eunice and Owen Johns from Derby.
The Christian couple were in line to be respite foster carers for children aged between five and eight.
But their application was put on hold by Derby City Council because they would not tell a child placed in their care that homosexual behaviour was a good thing.
The matter went to court and, in a ruling handed down last week, judges refused to declare that the Council was acting unlawfully.
David Cameron was in Derby yesterday to hold a cabinet meeting when he was asked about the Johns case.
Pointing out that he is a churchgoer, he said: “This matter was decided by a court in the appropriate way and I think we should rest with the judgement that was made.
“I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broadminded.”
The Christian Institute’s Mike Judge said: “The Prime Minister has waded in on one side of a deeply controversial case, and suggested that Christians who share the Johns’ beliefs are automatically intolerant, unwelcoming and narrow-minded.
“One can disagree with homosexual behaviour without harbouring any hostility to homosexual individuals. Disagreement is not hatred.
“The remark will disappoint millions of orthodox Christians who hold the same views as the Johns.
“They will be surprised that the Prime Minister has taken a swipe at them for believing that sex is only for marriage.”
The Government-funded Equality Commission was forced to say sorry last week for suggesting that Christian foster parents may harm children by ‘infecting’ them with their moral values.
The extraordinary remark was published in legal paperwork prepared by Karon Monaghan QC for the Commission’s intervention in the Johns case.
The case was discussed last week on the BBC’s flagship debate show, Question Time.
Historian David Starkey, himself a homosexual, said penalising Christians for their beliefs about homosexual behaviour is intolerant, oppressive and tyrannical.
Fellow panellist, Liam Halligan of the Daily Telegraph, said people are being pushed too far.
He said the Johns case “is a situation where the absolute letter of the law, which may have been drafted with good intentions, has completely blown away any proportion of common sense.”
But Labour’s Margaret Beckett, a former Foreign Secretary, said racists should not be foster parents, and neither should those who believe homosexual behaviour is wrong.
And the Tories’ Iain Duncan Smith claimed that foster parents should not be allowed to push their views on children in their care.