January 5th, 2012 by Robert Franklin, Esq.
The Brits are “mad as hell and not going to take it anymore.” Read about it here (Cornwall Community News, 12/26/11).
The New Fathers for Justice organization staged one pre-Christmas action and threatened another. They only had to threaten the second because its target, the Church of England, gladly did what was necessary to avoid men in Batman outfits climbing the towers of Canterbury Cathedral unfurling banners calling for fathers’ rights.
Meanwhile the Archbishop of Canterbury waxed lyrical about the value the Church placed on fatherhood – after protestors threatened to protest at Canterbury Cathedral.
Lambeth Palace, the established Church’s head office, put out a statement on behalf of Dr Rowan Williams which reads:
“The Archbishops thoughts and prayers are with all those who cannot be with their families at this time.
“The image of fatherhood is at the heart of Christianity as can be seen in the loving and dependable God of the New Testament.
“The Church recognises the significance of the fathers role in the life of a child.
“Christian communities around the country are working to support families in need, whether providing practical help, like parent toddler groups or courses in parenting skills, or simply as a human network helping to share responsibilities and encourage all human relationships to flourish.”
Well, that’s pretty bland. But if the Archbishop cares enough about the demonstrations by the fathers’ group to put out a statement, maybe he’ll put some weight behind those words. Maybe he’ll encourage parishoners to keep fathers and children together post-divorce. After all, every level of the church hierarchy has counselled members of his congregation on divorce. Why not make it church practice for part of that counselling to be keeping all parent-child relationships intact to the greatest extent possible. I’m no expert on the matter, but I can’t see how that would conflict with any other church teaching. It certainly shouldn’t.
While they were at it, New Fathers for Justice paid an overnight visit to the Cornwall home of Justice Minister Ken Clarke. There they painted slogans on his garage door like “Fatherless Christmas,” and left abandoned children’s toys on his lawn. Clarke, through a spokeswoman, was not amused.
A spokesman for the politician called the words ‘Fatherless Christmas’ “distasteful”.
She said: “‘There were some distasteful slogans painted on the garage doors of Mr Clarke’s home early on Christmas Day.
“Distasteful.” Well, we certainly want to behave with all possible decorum when confronted by a public official who plainly gives not a tinker’s ‘damn’ about fathers and their relationships with their children. Let’s see; do I raise my pinkie whilst sipping tea with the Minister or not? I’m an American, so how would I know?
Clarke is a Tory, and they’re the ones who, prior to the elections 20 months ago seemed to promise an overhaul of the family justice system in the UK. Months into the review process, there was considerable evidence that the Norgrove Commission intended to make, as the centerpiece of its recommendations, either a presumption of shared parenting or the need for each child to have a significant relationship with both parents post-divorce.
But, when the Norgrove report was finalized and made public it looked to most like a step backward. Far from offering dads a presumption of equal parenting, it even backed off the watered-down recommendation of a significant relationship between father and child. In short, if the much ballyhooed Norgrove report accomplishes any change to British family law, it won’t be to the benefit of fathers or their children who’d like to continue seeing them after Mum and Dad split up.
Family rights groups nationwide are furious that after years of promising reform, the coalition Government conducted a ‘whitewash’ review of reviled ‘family law’.
Clarke’s Ministry is directly responsible…
West Country New Fathers for Justice spokesman Richard Adams responded: ‘Ken Clarke may well find the slogans of our group ‘distasteful’.
“We find the denial of equal rights to fathers, and the denial to children of their right to a family life, to be yet more distasteful, and worth protesting against.
“Why does he keep lying that fathers have equal rights everyone in the real world knows it’s patently untrue?
“He seems to live in some world of his own and we hope this Christmas protest will wake him up a bit.”
Mr Adams went on: “After years of fishing for our votes saying they would reverse the brutal policies of the so-called ‘family’ court, the Tories have done nothing.
“Norgrove’s review was a ludicrous sham, dictated by the people responsible for child abuse and persecution the new Government promised to stamp out.
“We’d like nothing more than to be simply with our families, and happy in the knowledge our children would grow up with equal rights, this Christmas.
“But until anything is done – this is the only way anyone takes any notice of our message.”
Well, with that last, I must disagree. Here’s some advice for our brothers and sisters across the pond. Pick an MP who looks vulnerable and who’s failed to do the right thing about family law. Focus all your energy on that person and vote him/her out of office. It matters not a whit who wins, if you toss one bum out, the others will take notice. Power. It’s the only thing they understand.