Should state and local governments block Christians with a biblical worldview from adopting or fostering children?
The idea might seem far-fetched to some. After all, isn’t this the United States of America? Don’t we have a constitutionally protected right to freely exercise our religion?
Consider the Blaises in Washington State. They wanted to foster and care for their one-year-old great-granddaughter, H.V., who had been removed from her parents in Idaho.
Washington bars families who affirm a biblical definition of marriage and gender from fostering children. State licensers evaluating prospective foster parents ask a series of questions about LGBTQ+ issues: What would you do if the child wanted a romantic partner of the same sex to stay the night? Would you support the child’s decision to have hormonal therapies and sex reassignment surgery to look like to opposite sex? Would you let them dress like the opposite sex and be called by a different name?
The Blaises, who are devout Seventh-Day Adventists, answered honestly. “We would provide her with loving, medically and therapeutically appropriate care that is consistent with both accepted medical principles and our beliefs as Seventh-day Adventists and Christians,” they said. “Although we could not support [transition] treatments based on our sincerely held religious convictions, we absolutely would be loving and supportive of H.V.”
This was too much for a state government agency that demands full acquiescence to the radical LGBTQ+ agenda. The case worker informed the Blaises that their application would likely be denied because they couldn’t provide a home in which LGBTQ+ kids will be “supported.”
Fortunately, a federal judge ruled in the favor of the Blaises, determining that the Washington State policy constituted a violation of religious freedom by “disproportionately excluding” people of faith from becoming foster parents.
Sadly, it’s not just the Blaises in Washington. Many states and cities have similar policies that effectively preclude faithful Christians from fostering or adopting children.
Other places, like Massachusetts, have crusaded against faith-based adoption agencies, which operate on their conviction that children should only be placed with families consisting of a married husband and wife. Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the nation’s oldest adoption agencies, decided it couldn’t comply and chose to close its doors.
In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, two faith-based agencies chose not to place children with gay couples—and lost their ability to receive foster-care referrals for violating a city nondiscrimination ordinance. Foster parents who work with one of the agencies sued the city—and their case is now before the Supreme Court.
Considering that over 400,000 children are waiting to be fostered or adopted in the United States, the notion that the government would shut down any private adoption agency or prevent any qualified family from adopting is nonsensical.
What makes it especially tragic is that practicing Catholics are three times more likely – and evangelical Christians are five times more likely – to adopt than the general population. Disqualifying Christians from the world of adoption and foster-care leaves many vulnerable children without a family to love and care for them.
The Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments in the Philadelphia case early next month. Its ruling might have profound ramifications for the future of faith-based adoption agencies. Will the Supreme Court maintain the religious freedom of families and adoption agencies? Or will state and local governments deprive churches and faith-based organizations – who started the first orphanages in cities across the country – from serving children and orphans?