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Austin Cline

Christian Adoption Agency Rejects Catholic Couples

By July 19, 2005

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A Christian adoption agency based in Michigan receives money from the state of Mississippi, but it doesn't treat all citizens of Mississippi equally. They refuse to place children with Catholics because Catholicism is inconsistent with the group's "statement of faith."

The Sun-Sentinel reports:

"It has been our understanding that Catholicism does not agree with our Statement of Faith,'' Bethany's state director Karen Stewart wrote. "Our practice to not accept applications from Catholics was an effort to be good stewards of an adoptive applicant's time, money and emotional energy.''

"I can't believe an agency that's nationwide would act like this,'' Loria Williams said. "There was an agency who was Christian based but wasn't willing to help people across the board.''

Sandy Steadman said she was hurt and disappointed that Bethany received funds from the Choose Life car license plates. "I know of a lot of Catholics who get those tags,'' she said. She added: "If it's OK to accept our money, it should be OK to open your home to us as a family.''

It's ironic that so many Catholics oppose abortion and pay extra money to support alternatives to abortion, but that money goes to "alternatives" from which Catholics are excluded. Perhaps this will make some Catholics think twice about the government getting involved with religious organizations like Bethany Christian Services.

In the forum, Citizen12 writes:

Unfortunately, religious discrimination may become much more common in the US. Things like the faith-based policies and Scalia's and Thomas's recent opinions on displaying the Ten Commandments chip away at the idea that discrimination based on religious belief is wrong. I think the citizenry's grasp on this aspect of civil liberties is tenuous at best and it won't take much to cause it to tumble down.

Bethany Christian Services is associated the Presbyterian Church of America, a small conservative denomination that has called Roman Catholicism a “perversion of the Gospel,” so this discrimination is not at all surprising. This discrimination would be entirely legal if it were done with private funding — private religious groups can discriminate all they want and for just about any reason they want. The fact that they are doing this with public funding, some of which certainly comes from Catholics, is what makes this case so problematic.

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