By Hilary White

CHARD, UK, October 24, 2007 ( – A Christian couple in Somerset, UK, have been told by child services that they would be required to take teenaged foster children to homosexual support groups and teach the children placed in their care that homosexuality is normal. When the couple told officials at social services that it would violate their conscience to do so, the eleven year-old boy who had been placed with them was removed.

Somerset Council officials cited the recently passed Sexual Orientation Regulations when they decided that people who open their homes to children in need, must also discuss same-sex relationships and promote homosexuality as normal and “equal”.

Vincent and Pauline Matherick have looked after twenty-eight children since 2001 with an untarnished record as care givers. When the couple first started fostering, they took in young single mothers and their babies, but have recently had mostly primary school aged children. They told the Daily Telegraph that officials with the Somerset Council had told them that if a child in their care showed signs of interest in homosexuality, they would be expected to encourage them by taking them to a homosexual support group.

Vincent Matherick, a minister at the South Chard Christian Church and a primary school governor, told the Telegraph, “They were saying that we had to be prepared to talk about sexuality with 11 year-olds, which I don’t think is appropriate anyway, but not only that to be prepared to explain how gay people date.”

While the Sexual Orientation Regulations were being debated in the House of Commons, Christian groups and others warned that they would be used to force believers out of the public services such as adoption agencies.

David Davies, a Conservative Party MP and former contender for leadership of the party, said, “It’s absolutely horrendous that Christian men and women doing their bit for the community are being discriminated against because of their beliefs. I’m quite certain that social services would never dare to ask a member of any other established religion to agree to such a stance on homosexuality.”

Mr. Matherick said, “I simply could not agree to do it because it is against my central beliefs.” The Mathericks asked if they could continue to care for the boy who is with them until he is placed somewhere permanently, but the request was refused and he will be removed this week and placed in a council hostel.

“We have never discriminated against anybody,” Mr. Matherick said, “but I cannot preach the benefits of homosexuality when I believe it is against the word of God.”

The Mathericks are consulting with the Lawyers’ Christian Fellowship to decide what legal action to take.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports that the UK is experiencing a shortfall of about 8000 placements for children in need of care.

In September, an investigation into child services in Wakefield revealed a bias in favour of homosexuals that resulted in one case in years of horrific sexual abuse being allowed to continue.

Ian Wathey, 40, and Craig Faunch, 32 were convicted in May 2006, of molesting and filming eight-year-old twins and two 14 year-old boys placed in their care by the Wakefield council child services.

An independent investigative panel found that the council’s fear of offending the homosexual movement or being labelled homophobic allowed the two men to continue to sexually abuse the boys, even while social workers harboured suspicions.

The Telegraph quoted one social worker in Wakefield saying, “You didn’t want to be seen discriminating against a same-sex couple.”

To express concerns:
Somerset County Council
Child Services
County Hall
Somerset, UK

Phone: 0845 345 9122

Read related coverage:

Oppressive Sexual Orientation Regs Pass in UK Parliament; House of Lords Tomorrow

Investigative Panel: “Gay” Status Helped Couple Get Away with Sexually Abusing Foster Children