Tuesday 28 September 2010

Austen Ivereigh of Catholic Voices tries to whitewash Tony Blair's anti-life/anti-family record

Dr Austen Ivereigh, co-ordinator of Catholic Voices, former director of public affairs to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and former deputy editor of The Tablet, has tried to whitewash Tony Blair's anti-life/anti-family record in an article for The Guardian entitled "Churches can help Labour renewal". He writes:
"Although Alastair Campbell famously said otherwise, New Labour under Tony Blair did God a lot: not agreeing with what the churches said, or enacting policy on that basis, but in granting exemptions and opt-outs from equality laws for faith-based organisations in order to preserve their integrity and independence. There was respect for conscience and belief. Blair's ears were tuned to faith.

Then came Gordon Brown, and Labour tuned out. No more opt-outs from anti-discrimination laws, which under Blair had allowed religious organisations to retain their distinctive ethos; 13 Catholic adoption agencies were forced to close because they refused to allow same-sex couples to adopt (even though there were 400 others the couples could go to)."
Here are some key facts about Mr Blair's time as prime minister which every British Catholic needs to know:
  • Contrary to Dr Ivereigh's claim above, it was under Tony Blair, not Gordon Brown, that the Labour government passed the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007 through parliament, because of which the Catholic Church was effectively stopped from providing adoption services.
  • Mr Blair personally championed destructive experiments on human embryos (2000, 2004, August and September 2006)
  • Mr Blair personally endorsed his government’s policy of supplying abortion and birth control drugs and devices to schoolgirls as young as 11 without parental knowledge or consent (Foreword, Teenage Pregnancy Report, Social Exclusion Unit, 1999)
  • Mr Blair's government introduced legislation which led to a law which allows, and in certain circumstances requires, doctors to starve and dehydrate to death vulnerable patients (The Mental Capacity Act 2005). There is no conscience clause in the Mental Capacity Act. Mr Blair personally defended the legislation.
  • Mr Blair's government in 2005 endorsed Recommended Standards for Sexual Health Services, drawn up by a coalition of pro-abortion advocates and abortion providers. The policy includes arm-twisting doctors who are reluctant to refer for abortion. Many GPs wish to refuse to refer women for abortions on medical grounds, or for religious or conscientious reasons. The Department of Health brooked none of these objections, but insisted that every woman who enquires about abortion is immediately referred for abortion.
  • Mr Blair's government was committed to the promotion of abortion on demand as a universal fundamental human right (Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights, A position paper, Department for International Development, 2004)
  • Mr Blair's government passed through parliament the Civil Partnerships Act, which contains no conscience clause e.g. for registrars. In his memoirs published earlier this month Mr Blair made repeated references to his support for the homosexual* agenda, such as: "Just before Christmas [2005] the Civil Partnership Act came into force ... I was really proud of that.
Were Tony "Blair's ears" really "tuned to faith" when he personally endorsed introducing the culture of death into schools, the killing of embryonic children and starvation of helpless patients? Is forcing professionals to cooperate formally in abortion, euthanasia and homosexual lifestyles, or keeping parents in the dark about their daughters' sexual health, "respect for conscience and belief"?

Dr Ivereigh clearly has a strange (to say the least) idea about what constitutes "doing God a lot". As well as seeking to whitewash Tony Blair, Dr Ivereigh and/or his Catholic Voices project has also sought to whitewash (among other things):
Dr Ivereigh's latest comments simply reinforce my opinion that he is seeking to redefine the common perception of what constitutes mainstream Catholicism in England, and that he should not be appointed to any representative position in any official or unofficial Catholic or pro-life/pro-family organisation.

* The late Pope John Paul II, the great pro-life champion, taught in paragraph 97 of his 1995 encyclical Evangelium Vitae that it is an illusion to think that we can build a true culture of human life if we do not offer adolescents and young adults an authentic education in sexuality, and in love, and the whole of life according to their true meaning and in their close interconnection.

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