U.S. Bishops Call for End of Religious Discrimination in Foster Care

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The United States bishops have called for an end to discrimination against religious providers of adoption and foster care services who believe that children need a mother and a father.

The Catholic Church in the United States is currently celebrating Religious Freedom Week and the bishops have designated Thursday to focus on the topic of religious liberty in adoption and foster care.

“Pray that children waiting to be placed in a loving home and the caregivers who selflessly serve those children will find strength and support from the Church,” the bishops urge American Catholics.

“Caring for ‘the orphan’ is a demand of the gospel,” the bishops note, and over the centuries, “the Church has put this work of charity into practice by building adoption and foster care institutions.”

The foster care system is under heavy strain due to the opioid crisis, they observe, and yet “while more children are waiting to be placed in families, faith-based child welfare providers are being targeted for closures because of their religious convictions.”

“In places like Illinois, Massachusetts, California, and D.C., the service providers who have a track record of excellence in recruiting and assisting foster families have already been shut down,” the prelates lament. “In Michigan, sexual orientation/gender identity (SOGI) activists have gone out of their way to challenge Catholic Charities, and Philadelphia Catholic Social Services is taking the struggle to continue to foster children to the Supreme Court.”

“Worse still, in recent years, states that have worked to protect faith-based adoption and foster care have found themselves targeted by powerful corporations looking to appeal to SOGI activists,” they add. “Intolerance for religious views has real consequences, and in this case, it is vulnerable children who have suffered.”

“Let’s pray and act to keep kids first,” they insist.

The bishops conclude their appeal by calling for support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (CWPIA), which would protect faith-based child welfare service providers from being targeted by government discrimination.

“The Act would prohibit the federal government and any state that receives certain federal funding from discriminating against child welfare service providers on the basis that they decline to provide a child welfare service that conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions,” they declare.

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