Liberals will take exception to Texas’ latest move to protect faith-based adoption organizations from being forced to violate their consciences. That’s because most liberals are really statists who believe the government should enforce complete uniformity in the name of equality. The idea that differing and even mutually-exclusive ideals can be beneficial to children and society is beyond their narrow worldview.
For the record, and likely to the disappointment of some misguided evangelical friends of mine, I have absolutely zero problems with LGBTQ couples adopting and/or fostering children. In fact I enthusiastically encourage anyone of any background, faith, or creed to participate in child welfare activities. The foster care system in our country is overloaded with at-risk children, and we need more families participating, not less. It is for this very reason that I fully support and praise the infamous adoption discrimination bill that Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed into law last week. Confused? Stay with me.
Last week the state of Texas enacted HB3859 which allows private agencies to refuse placement of foster and adoptive children into homes based on deeply held beliefs and further protects them from lawsuits for such decisions. Opponents argue that it gives organizations the green light to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, which it absolutely does and most likely will occur. However, as with most important issues sound opinions must come from more than just scratching the surface of an issue. We must fully understand the intent and implications before we make a call to arms. Resist the urge to come out swinging at the first mention of discrimination.
The intent of the law is clearly spelled out in its opening paragraph. Texas is attempting to attract more private agencies to help an overwhelmed foster care system as well as protect the agencies it already has. Surely we can all claim this as common ground when it comes to finding homes for children. The need for this law arose from the exodus of many faith-based foster care agencies as they drastically scaled back their involvement in the state for fear of litigation resulting from their own theologically driven policies. In fact almost all Catholic agencies suspended their operations in the state of Texas, and we can hardly blame them.
Activism against discrimination towards the LGBTQ community has become a significant part of pop culture in recent years, and has been further emboldened by successful lawsuits towards individuals and businesses that discriminated for religious reasons. These individuals lost enormous amounts of money and some lost their own livelihood. Regardless of how you feel towards those specific cases, we should all be able to understand how this is bad for faith-based non-profits doing charitable work for children – children whose well-being is, more often than not, in immediate danger. Resources spent fighting litigation means fewer resources spent helping children, and many organizations would rather pull out altogether in an effort to focus their resources in alternative endeavors with less risk of financial loss.
The obvious counterargument is faith-based groups could simply choose not to discriminate against LGBTQ couples. Why not be all-inclusive? Easy enough, right? This argument ignores the underlying problem completely. Violating your core beliefs to appease someone is a betrayal of your own self, as I have previously written. The simple truth is that respecting the deeply-held beliefs of others regardless of our own opinions is a fundamental aspect of freedom, and speaking of freedom, there is nothing preventing LGBTQ groups from establishing their own child-welfare organizations.
Under the law LGBTQ agencies could freely discriminate against any person or religion they choose, even free to serve only LGBTQ families if they were inclined to do so. Ironically the state of Texas is making a great effort to make child-welfare inclusive by protecting those freedoms. The Texas legislature even went so far as to include a provision in the law mandating that private agencies refer families to other organizations that will provide the services being denied. There is absolutely no reason to expect that anyone will be denied in the end, and when all else fails families can choose to adopt and foster directly through the state.
I can confidently say that arguments against HB3859 are largely self-defeating. It is a brilliant example of innovative, forward-thinking progress. We must get past the word ‘discrimination’ and come to realize that this law opens the door for a broad, diverse group private organizations to do a good work. Don’t stand in the way.