By Eric Teetsel, President of Family Policy Alliance of Kansas
Months before the 2018 legislative session, a coalition of groups came together and agreed on the need to pass legislation to protect faith-based adoption agencies in Kansas.
Followers of Christ believe that God has adopted us as sons and daughters. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called Children of God; and so we are,” (1 John 3:1). When a person adopts a child into their family they reflect the love God shows us. Adoption is a way we fulfill our mission to “bring justice to the fatherless” (Isaiah 1:17) and to “look after orphans and widows in their distress” (James 1:27).
For these reasons, adoption has been practiced by Christians since the time of Jesus. The early Church preached against rampant infanticide, prohibited members from practicing it, and adopted babies who had been left to die by exposure by their parents.
Christians continue to lead the adoption movement today. Bethany Christian Services is the largest faith-based agency, with 120 offices spread across 36 states providing domestic and international adoption, foster care, pregnancy counseling, and post-adoption support. Catholic Charities helps over 30,000 individuals every year with foster care, adoption placement, and other services. Perhaps the single most important contribution of these groups is their excellence at placing special needs or hard-to-place older children. About 45 percent of adoptions by Catholic Charities and 32 percent by Bethany Christian Services involve finding a forever family for these hard-to-place kids.
Tragically, battles over sexual politics are infringing on the ability of faith-based agencies like these to help kids. Activist groups like the ACLU are determined to use the coercive power of the state to stamp out beliefs they do not like. In states like Massachusetts and Illinois, faith-based providers have been forced to close because they declined to violate their sincerely-held religious beliefs about the meaning of family and rights of kids to a mom and dad.
That is why our Adoption Protection Act is so important. The Act codifies what has been practiced in Kansas for decades, ensuring that faith-based adoption providers will be allowed to continue to help kids find forever families.
We are struggling to get it passed, despite having large Republican majorities in both the House and Senate. In the most recent failed vote in the House, four members of Republican leadership and several Republican committee chairmen voted no. Kansas isn’t alone; my colleagues in Georgia and Oklahoma have experienced similar obstacles.
This fight is far from over, but the experience has been revealing. If a state like Kansas faces such resistance to a simple, common sense law protecting ministries that help kids finds parents what does that say about the broader fight for religious freedom?
It says we need to elect principled and competent statesmen who will use the powers of public office to preserve fundamental freedoms.
It says we need to identify and train the next generation of political leaders who will hold fast to what is right—even when not politically popular
And, it says that we, as believers, need to engage in the political process. When our ability to even care for orphans as God calls us to do is threatened, the Church can’t afford to not have its voice represented in the public square or by our elected leaders.
This is why Family Policy Alliance’s sister ministry created the Statesmen Academy—to equip and train godly leaders who will advance religious freedom, life, and family values at every level of government.
This is why Family Policy Alliance continues to fight for common-sense policies like protecting faith-based adoption agencies in D.C. and in the states.
And, this is why Family Policy Alliance and all our state allies, including Family Policy Alliance of Kansas, will continue to equip voters to select the candidates who will advance the values we share in state and federal elections.
We firmly believe that we don’t need Republican leaders, and we don’t need Democrat leaders. We need leaders who will defend our values—especially basic ones like making sure kids have a chance at finding a forever family.