Today the message was that courts would interpret the law in cases like the Johns' according to secular and not religious values.To put the above quotation into some context, Mr. Pigott is referring to a court case in the United Kingdom, where judges ruled that Eunice and Owen Johns were not being discriminated against due to their religion after they withdrew an application to have foster children placed in their home when a social worker expressed concerns at the couple's unwillingness to tell a child that homosexuality was acceptable.
Robert Pigott, BBC News religious affairs correspondent
It's the end, for now, of a case that's been going on for a couple of years. And it strikes me as somewhat strange, but not too terribly different than any other of the odd politics that tends to arise around such issues here in the United States, like whether or not non-White children should be placed with White families.
It seems to me that it's a bit rigid to insist that every potential set of foster parents effectively sign a pledge to uphold a certain set of cultural ideas, but I'm not sure that I really see a different way to go. It's easy to get caught up in the idea that this proves a level of intolerance among the supposedly oh-so-tolerant secularists, but everyone understands (whether they pretend to or not) that tolerance can only be allowed to go so far. Still, it seems that unless one reads a quite a lot into to the Johns' beliefs, and how that would impact their actions, that they stopped well short of the precipice.
But I guess that when religious and secular values come into conflict, one of them has to give way. The alternative might be a collection of segregated enclaves, and I can see how Britons would be unwilling to chance that. But I don't know how one prevents it, if people come to see criticisms of their beliefs as attacks on themselves and their deeply held faiths.