|The religious right wants our tax dollars while reminding us that we are not fit to raise children.|
Read this article courtesy of the American Family Association's propaganda news source One News Now. See if you can point out the gaping hole of omission. It should be relatively easy:
Ten states and more than 40 members of Congress are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case of Fulton et al v City of Philadelphia, a case pitting religious beliefs against homosexual rights.
Sharonell Fulton and Toni Simms-Bush are Philadelphia foster moms standing up for Catholic Social Services, a faith-based agency that's been operating for over 100 years.
In 2018, the City of Philadelphia barred Catholic Social Services from placing children in homes due to the agency's policy against placing children with same-sex couples.
"The city is currently in a foster care crisis," said attorney Nick Reaves of Becket, the law firm representing Fulton and Simms-Busch, in an interview on the "Washington Watch" radio program.
"In about March 2018," he advised, "the city said they needed 300 new foster families to care for kids in need, but just a few days later the city turned around and said that they were going to close Catholic Social Services -- one of the most effective agencies in the city -- just because they disagree with their religious beliefs about marriage."
Reaves added there are services in Philadelphia that serve LGBTQ households.
"The city has supported those agencies but yet they're trying to close down agencies like Catholic Social Services," Reaves continued. "I think the reason you see so many lawmakers and states getting behind the Fulton petition is because it's a national issue."
Becket alone has multiple cases on this issue.
"We have another case in Michigan on this issue," said Reaves. "There's also a case in South Carolina, (and) there is a case in Texas."
While lying about the LGBTQ community attempting to "punish" Christians (and children), One News Now left out the main issue of the controversy - the simple fact that these adoption agencies were receiving a large amount of tax dollars while practicing discrimination against the LGBTQ community.
According to Philly News in March 2018:
The city announced Thursday that it had stopped two faith-based agencies from placing foster children after learning the organizations discriminate against LGBTQ people. The Philadelphia Department of Human Services has ceased foster-care intake with Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Social Services, pending an investigation by the Commission on Human Relations.
. . . A same-sex couple who approached Bethany Christian Services about becoming foster parents were turned away in October. Catholic Social Services told the Inquirer and Daily News it also does not work with LGBTQ people interested in being foster parents, though it knew of no inquiries from same-sex couples. Together the agencies have received about $3 million in foster care reimbursement funds from the city each year.
The Huffington Post was more specific about the reimbursement amounts. In 2017:
. . . Philadelphia reimbursed Bethany to the tune of $1,314,562 in city, state and federal funds to operate foster homes and gave Catholic Social Services $1,667,745.
Also, in the One News Now article, cases in Michigan and South Carolina were mentioned. According to the same Huffington Post article:
Miracle Hill Ministries, a South Carolina Christian organization, stipulates on its website that foster parents must “have a lifestyle that is free of sexual sin” ― listing “pornographic materials, homosexuality, and extramarital relationships” as specific examples. The organization has already received more than $4.6 million in federal and state funding in the 2018 fiscal year, according to a South Carolina Department of Social Services spokeswoman . . .
Michigan paid St. Vincent Catholic Charities, a nonprofit in Lansing, Michigan, at least $10.6 million in federal and state funds for foster care payments alone over a two-year period that ended in September 2017, according to Michigan Department of Health and Human Services data. But St. Vincent “cannot provide written recommendations and endorsements of unmarried or same-sex couples,” Melinda Skea, a spokeswoman for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is handling the organization’s media inquiries, told HuffPost in an email.
It's not by accident that One News Now conveniently omitted mentioning these facts in its article. And it's not the only religious right entity which will sidestep the issue of LGBTQ tax dollars going to entities which practice anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
Last year, I had a discussion on Twitter with Kellie Fiedorek, an employee of the Alliance Defending Freedom. For those not familiar, ADF has taken a lead position in pushing court cases seeking to undermine LGBTQ protections and safety. Its goal seems to be legalizing anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
During the discussion, Fiedorek defended an Oklahoma law which allows adoption agencies to discriminate against the LGBTQ community while receiving tax dollars. Her answers to my question sounded rehearsed. But she couldn't answer whenever I asked about entities discriminating against the LGBTQ community receiving our tax dollars.
You see, folks like Fiedorek and groups like AFA and the Becket Fund don't want to have that discussion because it would steer away from the false picture they are painting. This issue of religious foster care and adoption agencies versus the LGBTQ community isn't about punishing folks for religious beliefs. At its heart, the issue is about religious entitlement and homophobia. They want our hard earned money, but they don't want to acknowledge us as people capable of raising children. They want our tax dollars, but don't want to respect us as taxpayers who should be treated fairly. They want the results of our labor, but want to also keep the rewards away from us.
And they think that "their faith" should give them that right.