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U.S. Bishops Back Adoption / Foster Care Provider Religious Freedom

MRM Editor’s Note: This is a good piece of legislation that would contribute to correcting a grave injustice. Under current law the rights of people seeking to adopt or offer foster care are placed above the rights of children to not experience a secondary privation of a married mother and father. Only a woman and a man can stand in for and replace the mom and dad the child has lost. This bill protects the religious liberty of adoption and foster care providers who believe that children indeed have a right to be placed with a married man and woman. This is a step in the right direction.

Fact: Because the child has a fundamental human right to be born and raised in a family with his or her mother and father united in marriage, only a man and woman who have first become irreplaceable to each other in marriage have uniquely qualifed themselves to receive the child of equal value and dignity to them as a gift. The marriage starts the circle of irreplacebility we call the family. Does the same thing not hold for adoption? Are a married mother and father uniquely qualified to receive the gift of a child? 

The big questions to consider are, “Does anyone have a right to a child? Does anyone have a right to another person?”

It seems that justice would require that the law recognize the dignity and the rights of the child, who has already been deprived of the right to be raised in a family with his or her own mother and father united in marriage, to  be accommodated through adoption or foster care that minimizes incidences of  secondary privation by only placing such children in irregular family situations as an absolute last resort. 

WASHINGTON, DC (CNA/EWTN News) — Three chairmen of the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference have voiced strong support for a measure that would restore certain religious freedoms to child welfare providers.

The recently introduced Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2017 would prevent the federal government, and any state receiving federal funds for child welfare services, from taking adverse action against a provider that, for religious or moral reasons, declines to provide a child welfare social service.

In the case of Illinois, more than 3,000 children were displaced after religiously affiliated adoption and foster care services had to close their doors. Catholic Social Services of Southern Illinois decided to cut ties from their affiliated Catholic diocese and operate as a separate Christian non-profit in order to maintain consistent services for the children.

Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, and Bishop James D. Conley of Lincoln expressed their support for the Inclusion Act in letters to Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate, who introduced the bill.

“The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a manner consistent with the providers’ religious beliefs and moral convictions,” the bishops said.

“Our first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of children. The Inclusion Act protects the freedom of all child welfare providers by ensuring they will not be discriminated against by the government because of their religious beliefs or moral convictions,” they wrote.

The Bishops also stressed that the Inclusion Act respects the religious freedom of parents who are looking to place their children into adoption or foster care services.

“Women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose an agency that shares the parents’ religious beliefs and moral convictions. The Inclusion Act recognizes and respects this parental choice.”