Is It Really “Shameful” to Follow Your Faith? The Free Press’ Contemptuous Sneer at Faith-Based Adoption

Is It Really “Shameful” to Follow Your Faith? The Free Press’ Contemptuous Sneer at Faith-Based Adoption June 12, 2015

“Another shameful moment for Michigan.” That’s what the Detroit Free Press Editorial Board said yesterday regarding House Bills 4188-4190, which were approved by the Michigan House and Senate and signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder.

The legislation grants legal protections to faith-based child placement agencies, ensuring that they can continue to provide foster care and adoption services in concert with the agencies’ religious mission. That means that the bills guarantee that Catholic and other religious adoption and social service agencies will not be forced to place children in homes with unmarried and cohabiting couples, or in homes where there are two same-sex parents.

By Glentamara (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Glentamara (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
In an editorial dripping with contempt, Detroit Free Press editors criticize the policy of private, faith-based adoption agencies to place children only in homes in which the parents conform to Church teaching.

They say:

This is the low point to which the state has sunk today, thanks to elected officials who either lack the moral decency or the moral courage to stand for equality alongside religious freedom. 

And this slam:

“…it sacrifices the interests of children to make a small-minded point about the nobility of bigotry.”

Umm… wait a minute. I’m not saying that same-sex couples cannot work with public agencies to adopt children–although I would insist that doing so is a selfish act which is not in the best interests of the child.

However, should there not also be freedom granted to faith-based organizations to operate in a way consistent with their faith?

It is that belief which drove the legislators, both Republican and Democrat, to implement this important legislation. What these bills (now known as Public Acts 53, 54 and 55 of 2015) do is protect the rights of religious organizations–which handle more than 25% of adoptions in the state–to act in a manner consistent with their faith.

Indiana news station WNDU, in a tone far different from the Free Press’ critical editorial, reported that the legislation ensures that Michigan children who are eligible for adoption have the greatest opportunity to be placed in loving homes. WNDU reported:

“…Under the legislation, faith-based agencies that contract with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services can operate in accordance with their beliefs.

The bills also require child placement agencies that decline any services to prospective parents to promptly provide information and a list of alternative adoption agencies willing and able to serve them. They do not change current practices in Michigan, but prevent faith-based agencies from having policies forced on them that violate their religious beliefs, which have resulted in agencies closing in Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and Washington, D.C.”

The Michigan Catholic Conference has also weighed in to defend Catholic agencies against the potential assault by pro-LGBT politicians. Paul A. Long, President and CEO of the Michigan Catholic Conference, said in a statement:

“Michigan Catholic Conference is grateful to Governor Snyder, as well as the Legislature, for their support of this legislation. It is critically important to solidify the State’s long-standing partnership with faith-based child placement agencies operating collectively in the best interest of the state’s most vulnerable children. House Bills 4188–4190 will not only promote a diverse range of child placement providers, they will ensure the state does not discriminate against social service agencies that serve the poor and vulnerable while providing foster care and adoption services to the general public.”

Are children raised by same-sex parents harmed in any way by their unconventional family? While I would not insist that all children raised by lesbian or homosexual parents are going to fail in important life skills, recent independent research which is not marred by pro-LGBT advocacy shows that there is, indeed, a negative effect. Sociologist Mark Regnerus, in a study published in the journal Social Science Research, reported that

“…the children of homosexuals did worse (or, in the case of their own sexual orientation, were more likely to deviate from the societal norm) on 77 out of 80 outcome measures.”

My question for the Free Press execs who approved their paper’s intolerant demand for tolerance:  Should the special interests of activists supercede (or even replace) the Constitutional protections afforded to religion? If yes, perhaps it’s necessary for this new, intolerant America to revise the Constitution, removing the First Amendment, the first “right” delineated in the Bill of Rights, which begins:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof

I sincerely hope that won’t be necessary.

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  • Will

    I googled the name of the sociologist given above. Apparently some of his peers question the validity of his research.

  • Thanks for this, Kathy.

  • Korou

    I wouldn’t say that religions are being discriminated in this case, for the reason that finding families to take in orphaned children is not a strictly religious activity. Not, as I think the judge put it who ruled against the Christian bakers, “part of their religious observance.”

    • kathyschiffer

      You’re kidding, right? So I, a Catholic parent, die and leave three Catholic children. You figure all that matters is three square meals, and you place them with a couple who are atheist and homosexual; but who cares?

      For people of faith, the spiritual and emotional and social wellbeing of their children is of paramount importance. And remember that Catholic and faith-based adoption agencies handle only about 25% of adoptions, so there are PLENTY of other options. Please, if you don’t want a faith-based placement, go and take advantage of one of those other options.

      • Korou

        Did I say that all I cared about was three square meals a day and a roof over their heads? That’s a mischaracterisation of my position. I think it’s very important to make sure that orphans are placed in secure, stable homes with loving new parents who are in a position to do their best to raise them.

        Of course, I may have misunderstood – is it the case that all of these children are from Catholic families and that the agencies are trying to place them with new parents who are also Catholic?
        If not, then what do you about children from non-Catholic backgrounds? You think that Hindu children should be placed with Hindu foster parents, Jewish children with Jews and children raised with no religion placed with an atheistic family?

      • Will

        I thought the Free Press article said about $10 million of $19.5 million of the adoption budget went to faith based agencies. That ia much more than 25%.

        • kathyschiffer

          Catholic Charities and Bethany Christian Services together provide 25% to 30% of foster care adoptions in the state of Michigan, according to MLive.com.

  • Korou

    Will is correct; Regnerus has been discredited. His study misclassified its subjects and produced biased results. A new assessment of his data has shown that, in fact, there is little difference in how children raised by same-sex couples turn out.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/05/10/new-criticism-of-regnerus-study-on-parenting-study/

    • kathyschiffer

      Korou, the author of that article, Dale Carpenter, is not an independent reporter. He is a militant homosexual who specializes in same-sex issues and writes for OutRight. I think you’re looking in the wrong place for the “biased results.”

      • Korou

        It doesn’t matter what the writer is or thinks – what matters is that he is reporting on a study which debunks Regnerus’. And in this case, is Dale Carpenter were the devil himself he would still be correct in reporting that Regnerus’ study his been discredited by Simon Cheng and Brian Powell. They are the ones who wrote the study, in which they say:

        “These reanalyses provide a “reality check” regarding the conclusions from the original Regnerus study. The patterns from these reanalyses offer evidence of the fragility of these conclusions—so fragile, in fact, that they are due primarily to the methodological choices made by Regnerus. Or to put it another way, when equally plausible and, in our view, preferred methodological decisions are used, a different conclusion emerges: adult children who lived with same-sex parents show
        comparable outcome profiles to those from other family types, including intact biological families.”

        In the rest of the paper they go on to say exactly what mistakes Regnerus made – whether by accident or not – and why his conclusions were completely mistaken.

      • I’m not really expecting any response other than a dismissal of all that disagrees with your position as biased or part of a conspiracy, but I figured I’d still just leave this here in case anyone else might find it informationally useful:

        http://whatweknow.law.columbia.edu/topics/lgbt-equality/what-does-the-scholarly-research-say-about-the-wellbeing-of-children-with-gay-or-lesbian-parents/

        • kathyschiffer

          And I realize that anecdotal evidence won’t persuade you, but I’ve read a number of articles by people who were raised in same-sex families, and who experienced problems as a result.

          B.N. Klein, Robert Oscar Lopez, Dawn Stefanowicz, and Katy Faust all grew up with homosexual parents. All four argued that redefining marriage to include same-sex couples would harm children by depriving them of a mother or father. All four have filed amicus curiae briefs against gay marriage in federal court. http://cnsnews.com/news/article/lauretta-brown/adults-raised-gay-couples-speak-out-against-gay-marriage-federal-court

          There’s Katy Faust, who wrote an open letter to Supreme Court Justice Kennedy: http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2015/02/14370/

          There’s this, by Heather Barwick: http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/17/dear-gay-community-your-kids-are-hurting/

          BUT PLEASE, LET’S REDIRECT THE QUESTION: Do I, or do I not, have the constitutional right to the free exercise of religion? Does a religion-based organization have that same right?

          • That particular anecdotal evidence I”m sure is more compelling when you choose to elevate it over any and all anecdotal evidence which does not support your preconceived beliefs. That’s something actual scientific studies, when properly done, are supposed to protect against.

            I think an adoption agency is not the same as a church, in that they are providing services to the general public. As such, much like businesses, they should not be allowed to discriminate against certain segments of said population.

  • Patricia Spicuzza

    Interesting to read from Florida, where Gov. Scott’s mandatory waiting rule for abortion was also signed into law this week. Being a Christian- even in the USA- is not for the faint hearted.

  • Donalbain

    Regnerus? You want to reference Regnerus? Let’s count how many children in his “study” were being raised by people in homosexual relationships:

    ZERO.
    NONE.
    NADA.

  • MrCorvus

    I don’t have any issue with this bill, or faith-based adoption agencies placing children where they wish.

    However, citing the Regnerus study as some sort of scientific basis continues to promote misinformation.

    http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/10/30/1110591/regnerus-admits-gay-parenting/

    “Regnerus even admits “this is not about saying gay or lesbian parents
    are inherently bad,” because he knows has no foundation on which to make
    such a claim. This was a study about unstable couples, possibly in sham
    marriages, who may have dabbled in same-sex relationships outside of
    their original marriage at a time when there was no recognition for
    same-sex couples anywhere in the country. In others words, the study’s
    results have zero implication for conversations in 2012 about out, committed same-sex couples who are already raising children.”

    To find a study not “marred by pro-LGBT advocacy”, you had to resort to the widely discredited Regnerus paper, because that is literally all you have.