Liberty Counsel Action
Shameful Opposition to Anti-discrimination Bill
August 5, 2014 ~ 0 comments

By: Mark Trammell, Esq.

The recently introduced, “Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014” already has created a stir. Aimed at prohibiting federal and state government from discriminating against child welfare service providers on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs, at least one organization already labeled this bill “homophobic.”

To be fair, although the word “marriage” isn’t written anywhere in the bill, it is undeniable that in today’s culture, sincerely held religious beliefs and marriage policy overlap, in part. Having said this, labeling this bill as “homophobic” is a gross mischaracterization. The bill, H.R. 5285, states simply,

“The Federal Government, and any State that receives federal funding for any program that provides child welfare…shall not discriminate or take an adverse action against a child welfare service provider on the basis that the provider has declined or will decline to provide, facilitate, or refer for a child welfare service that conflicts with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the provider’s sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

So why is this bill even necessary? As the bill states, currently, “in some States, including Massachusetts, California, Illinois, and the District of Columbia,” child welfare service providers are being discriminated against on the basis of sincerely held religious beliefs. In sum, by denying government contracts, grants, or licenses to faith-based child welfare service providers, these faith-based organizations are prohibited from facilitating adoptions and foster care.

Bottom line, unlike the discriminatory policies exhibited by a handful of states, pertaining to child welfare services, the “Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Action of 2014” prevents discrimination, it doesn’t create it. To be clear, this bill doesn’t prohibit anyone from being a foster parent or adopting a child. Furthermore, by allowing child welfare service providers that adhere to the belief that a child deserves both a mom and a dad, often faith-based, the ability to facilitate child welfare services, the bill actually provides greater opportunity for children to be placed in the home of a loving family. Isn’t that the goal anyway?

So why would the Left oppose this anti-discrimination bill? I think the answer is twofold, at a minimum. One, liberals will never concede that a corporation, or any other organization, has the right to religious freedom. Second, opposition to H.R. 5285 is less about objecting to any particular child welfare service provider and more about objecting to traditional beliefs defining family.

The Left ignores an organization’s religious freedom.

The Left’s opposition to an organization’s religious freedom was never more showcased than in Hobby Lobby. Liberals wholly rejected the Green family’s right to be Christians when the Green family refused to provide abortion-inducing drugs to employees of Hobby Lobby. Here, the circumstances may be different from Hobby Lobby, but the underlying right to religious freedom, and the Left’s opposition to religious freedom, remains the same.

Following the Left’s logic, if one were to assume that a corporation is not a person deserving of religious protections, then one would have to come to the conclusion that the critics of this bill do not have a problem with faith-based organizations that offer child welfare services. After all, the organizations in question lack the ability to repent of sins, receive Salvation, be baptized, and go to Heaven.

If a corporation is incapable of exercising religious freedom, again, because it can’t go to church, be baptized, go to Heaven, etc., then the critics of this bill cannot possibly also assert that they disagree with the very religious beliefs that they simultaneously assert said corporation cannot have. As such, the bill’s critics must take umbrage with the religious tenants held by the individual families that are directly providing child welfare services, not the child welfare service organization itself.

Critics of this bill would prefer the State raise children rather than Evangelical Christians and Catholics.

Why would anyone protest to an Evangelical Christian or Catholic couple adopting a child or being foster parents? It all boils down to who is defining what is in the best interest of the child. Having said this, the State can never be an equivalent substitute for a loving mom and dad, even when said mom and dad hold a different religious belief, pertaining to marriage policy, than is held by popular culture.

Preventing Bible-believing families from being adoptive or foster care parents, based on their belief that God created marriage to be the union of one man and one woman, is contrary to the First Amendment. In West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, Justice Jackson wrote, “If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” See West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, 319 U.S. 624, 642 (1943).

Critics of this bill assert that being an adoptive parent or a foster parent is not a right; it is a privilege. I agree with that statement. However, the question here is not whether being an adoptive parent or foster parent is a right, but whether a national orthodoxy, in either religion or “other matters of opinion” pertaining to marriage, has been created.

Excluding Evangelical Christians and Catholics, either at the organizational level or individual level, from participating in child welfare protective services, would create a national orthodoxy that radically redefines the family unit. That national orthodoxy would not only contradict over 200 years of U.S. history and tradition as it pertains to marriage and family, but also perpetuate religious discrimination.

To oppose the “Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014” is to promote religious discrimination. Furthermore, preventing children from being placed in foster care homes or from being adopted by loving parents, who happen to hold sincerely held religious beliefs that reflect Biblical teaching, is to use children as pawns for political gain. The purpose of foster care and adoptive services is to benefit children, not political causes. The “Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014” would open more opportunities for children to benefit from child welfare services and would increase the possibility of these children being adopted. This anti-discrimination bill is the epitome of “tolerance” and deserves to become law.