Ghosthunting is quiet at the moment, and I haven't managed to get to those churchyards for photos. So I've been drinking absinthe and browsing the news.
The UK government has shown an unusual degree of intelligence in producing an 'equalities act'. Basically, it means it'll be illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, religion, sexual orientation or anything else. So just because you think someone belongs to some group you're prejudiced against, you can't refuse to sell them stuff from your shop or make them sleep out in the cold rather than stay in your hotel. Sounds perfectly reasonable.
Hoewever, one of the ramifications of this is that gay couples will have the same rights as straight couples when it comes to adopting a child. Therein lies a huge blast of newspaper sales.
The Catholic Church runs orphanages, and has threatened to close them all if they are legally obliged to consider gays as adoptive parents. It's against their religion. The Church of England agree.
Yes, it is. It's against most religions since gayness does not contribute to spreading the religion through birthrate.
So who's the bad guy here? The government who wants to make everyone equal, or the church who wants an exemption from the equality law and are willing to shut down their orphanages if they don't get their way? How, incidentally, can an equality law work if there are exemptions?
The argument seems to be that gay adoptive parents put the child at risk. Considering some of the stories that have come out of orphanages over the last few years, I'd say they'd be at less of a risk if the adoptive parents were psychopaths, never mind just gay. Besides, social services will check up on adoptive parents - gay, straight or otherwise - so the child will be far more closely watched than they would be in an orphanage.
I can't see what the fuss is about. So what if two men, or two women, bring up a child in their home? It has to be better than the orphanage. So what if that child grows up to think 'there's nothing abnormal in gayness'? They'll be more tolerant. It doesn't mean they'll turn out gay. It's not catching. I've met gay men, I've even had a few beers in gay bars, and walked out as straight as when I went in. Drugs can be forced on you, and get you hooked. Gayness can't.
I'm not going to make the usual crass statement 'I have lots of gay friends'. I have few people I regard as friends. Whether any of them are gay or not, I don't know. I've never asked. I don't care. I don't make potential friends fill out an application form. It seems the Catholic Church does.
Reading this article, I was more concerned to find that our 'communities secretary' is a member of the strict group Opus Dei. The UK is a very mixed community, with all religions represented. Even Satanists cannot be legally prevented from following their religion here (well, as long as they don't kill anyone).
So having a communities secretary with a specific, highly strict religious outlook doesn't seem like a good idea to me. That job is supposed to cover everyone's outlook on life. The whole community. Including gays, atheists and even satanists. Can a strict Catholic, I mean Opus Dei-strict, have an impartial view here?
Reading the article, it seems not.
To me, that's much more of a worry than having a couple of guys adopt an otherwise parentless child.