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Thread: Foster Care for Christians Only

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    Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    Foster Care for Christians Only

    Over on Freethought Forums Mano Singham brought this story to my attention. A private foster care agency covering several counties in South Carolina decides to place foster children in Christian homes only, claiming that being forced to do otherwise impinges on their religious freedom.

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Over on Freethought Forums Mano Singham brought this story to my attention. A private foster care agency covering several counties in South Carolina decides to place foster children in Christian homes only, claiming that being forced to do otherwise impinges on their religious freedom.
    Well, if it's private, they can do that. Sure.
    Thing is, do they get any federal money? I mean, do they contract with the state for finding foster families for kids?

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    Senior Member crazyfingers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Over on Freethought Forums Mano Singham brought this story to my attention. A private foster care agency covering several counties in South Carolina decides to place foster children in Christian homes only, claiming that being forced to do otherwise impinges on their religious freedom.
    That's not unusual in some states.

    But not in other states. I recall here in Massachusetts that the Catholic Church wanted to discriminate on the basis of religion on how they chose foster and adoptive parents for the adoptions services that they offered and subsidized by the state. Massachusetts basically said "Not with our tax money you won't" So the Catholic Church exited the adoption services business. Of course secular services took up the slack.

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    Senior Member crazyfingers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Over on Freethought Forums Mano Singham brought this story to my attention. A private foster care agency covering several counties in South Carolina decides to place foster children in Christian homes only, claiming that being forced to do otherwise impinges on their religious freedom.
    Well, if it's private, they can do that. Sure.
    Thing is, do they get any federal money? I mean, do they contract with the state for finding foster families for kids?
    See my post above. It would not be a surprise if they do get state funding. South Carolina is a theocratic government. Massachusetts is not.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Over on Freethought Forums Mano Singham brought this story to my attention. A private foster care agency covering several counties in South Carolina decides to place foster children in Christian homes only, claiming that being forced to do otherwise impinges on their religious freedom.
    Well, if it's private, they can do that. Sure.
    Thing is, do they get any federal money? I mean, do they contract with the state for finding foster families for kids?
    I kinda understand why that would matter. If they get federal funding to help kids (but are restrictive in what kids they help), I see the gripe; after all, if your tax dollars are to help all kids but only (oh say) kids from a Christian family are helped, that would seem to be something to complain about; however, this isn’t a situation like that at all, for even if they do receive federal funding, no one is being turned down. It could be a kid (oh, let’s say) of a different faith. They would seek to help that child too. Why should the separation of state concerns (more specifically, the receiving of federal funds) be an issue—all because they are selective with the homes they seek to put them in?

    Suppose for the sake of argument it isn’t private and they did receive federal funding. It seems less controversial and better if no kids were left unhelped. Would it be better to stop funding if it were learned that despite helping all children equally, they were found to be critical and selective on which families they allowed to help the children?

    Some people can’t in good conscious (biased reasoning or not) voluntarily place a child in the hands of groups they overwhelmingly distrust. I suspect this is going to be twisted on its head where fault is placed with the Christians, but if federal funds were necessary, the ones responsible for seeing that funding stops seems more culpable for the wake of unhelped children than whatever disadvantage comes from being selective on what homes may help the children.

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    Senior Member crazyfingers's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post

    Some people can’t in good conscious (biased reasoning or not) voluntarily place a child in the hands of groups they overwhelmingly distrust. I suspect this is going to be twisted on its head where fault is placed with the Christians, but if federal funds were necessary, the ones responsible for seeing that funding stops seems more culpable for the wake of unhelped children than whatever disadvantage comes from being selective on what homes may help the children.
    That's why Catholic Charities had to get out of the business in Massachusetts. They refused to stop discriminating so the state refused to fund them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Keith&Co. View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Over on Freethought Forums Mano Singham brought this story to my attention. A private foster care agency covering several counties in South Carolina decides to place foster children in Christian homes only, claiming that being forced to do otherwise impinges on their religious freedom.
    Well, if it's private, they can do that. Sure.
    Thing is, do they get any federal money? I mean, do they contract with the state for finding foster families for kids?
    I kinda understand why that would matter. If they get federal funding to help kids (but are restrictive in what kids they help), I see the gripe; after all, if your tax dollars are to help all kids but only (oh say) kids from a Christian family are helped, that would seem to be something to complain about; however, this isn’t a situation like that at all, for even if they do receive federal funding, no one is being turned down. It could be a kid (oh, let’s say) of a different faith. They would seek to help that child too. Why should the separation of state concerns (more specifically, the receiving of federal funds) be an issue—all because they are selective with the homes they seek to put them in?

    Suppose for the sake of argument it isn’t private and they did receive federal funding. It seems less controversial and better if no kids were left unhelped. Would it be better to stop funding if it were learned that despite helping all children equally, they were found to be critical and selective on which families they allowed to help the children?

    Some people can’t in good conscious (biased reasoning or not) voluntarily place a child in the hands of groups they overwhelmingly distrust. I suspect this is going to be twisted on its head where fault is placed with the Christians, but if federal funds were necessary, the ones responsible for seeing that funding stops seems more culpable for the wake of unhelped children than whatever disadvantage comes from being selective on what homes may help the children.
    You are only looking at one side... what of the child's opportunity to be raised in an available, non-christian household? Diversity is our strength.

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    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fast View Post
    I kinda understand why that would matter. If they get federal funding to help kids (but are restrictive in what kids they help), I see the gripe;
    But that isn't the gripe.
    It could be a kid (oh, let’s say) of a different faith. They would seek to help that child too. Why should the separation of state concerns (more specifically, the receiving of federal funds) be an issue—all because they are selective with the homes they seek to put them in?;
    They are discriminating against non-Christain foster parents, that's the gripe. If it is legal for muslim parents and atheist parents and gay parents to foster children in that state, then the state cannot tolerate this discrimination.
    They are getting funds for the sake of the kids, not for the sake of promoting one religion as the only approved source of fostering.

    And that's not helping the kids. If there are, let's say, 5000 kids that need foster care, and 5000 families that are willing to provide the care, but this agency only feels that 500 families are deserving, then either they get 10 kids per household, or a certain number will remain in the orphanage, waiting for a foster-care opening.

    Suppose for the sake of argument it isn’t private and they did receive federal funding. It seems less controversial and better if no kids were left unhelped.;
    How uncontroversial is it if it's unconstitutional, though?
    Would it be better to stop funding if it were learned that despite helping all children equally, they were found to be critical and selective on which families they allowed to help the children?
    Actually, it's up to the fostering agency.
    As crazy points out, the Catholics felt that their discrimination was more important than the kids. The choice is up to them.
    Other agencies willing to work within the scope and guidelines of the state will get the money and the kids.
    Some people can’t in good conscious (biased reasoning or not) voluntarily place a child in the hands of groups they overwhelmingly distrust.
    That's fine. They just shouldn't contract with the state to perform a secular function if they can't disassociate their personal problems from the job.

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    Member Tharmas's Avatar
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    The foster care agency in question, Miracle Hill, accepts "millions of dollars" from the state and acts as a state agency. Here is an excerpt from the article:

    The few agencies unwilling to do that, Cooper said, are “seeking to maintain state contracts for many millions of dollars to provide this government service to wards of the state — the service being, find families for these children who desperately need them. But ‘Oh, we’re gonna throw away the ones that don’t meet our religious test.’ Even though they may be fantastic parents and may be the only family for a particular child, that that child is waiting for. So it’s pretty outrageous, in my view, that the states are actually passing laws to authorize this.”

    Those states include Alabama, Michigan, Texas, South Carolina, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Mississippi.

    Even in the Miracle Hill’s online application for interested foster parents it’s clear they intend for children to be raised in a Christian home.

    In addition to basic information, the application asks for “denominational affiliation,” a pastor’s name, phone number, and “a brief, personal testimony of your faith/salvation,” and that of a spouse, if applicable. If you and your partner are the same sex, Miracle Hill will not allow you to adopt children in their network, according to lawyers, foster parents and employees at agencies who have worked closely with Miracle Hill.
    Quote Originally Posted by fast
    Suppose for the sake of argument it isn’t private and they did receive federal funding. It seems less controversial and better if no kids were left unhelped. Would it be better to stop funding if it were learned that despite helping all children equally, they were found to be critical and selective on which families they allowed to help the children?
    But they're turning away qualified parents from fostering kids. It's not like there are too few needy children to go around.

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    Senior Member crazyfingers's Avatar
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    There are plenty of secular social services organizations who would gladly not discriminate when performing foster and adoption services for the state. When we foster> Adopted our 3 kids we worked with The Home for Little Wanderers who simply don't discriminate against anyone who is eligible to foster/adopt in the state.

    And with increased funding secular services can easily replace/take up the slack as those who demand the right to discriminate are eliminated from the funding pool.

    It's really up to the state and the fed to demand nondiscrimination or withhold the $.

    That might to unlikely in a theocratic state like SC.
    Last edited by crazyfingers; 07-16-2019 at 09:00 PM.

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