BLOGWhen Children Become Collateral Damage in the Culture Wars

By Marissa Mayer Posted on: | July 05, 2018

I’ve found that one of the side effects of becoming a mother is that I have become extremely sensitive to hurting children—no matter the cause. And really, there’s no getting away from it these days. From the repercussions of the opioid epidemic, poverty, broken families, abuse, and bullying, to severely declining mental health of kids, and the widespread atrocities committed on unborn children, it is an ever-growing list.

But there is another heartbreaking situation facing children today that you may have missed in the news.

Activists have been working for a while to shut down faith-based adoption providers, hurting children in need in the process. And now, some states are buying into their efforts. The results are nothing short of tragic.

Illinois is one example. In 2011, the state passed a law mandating that all adoption and foster programs must place children with same-sex couples, even if it violated their religious convictions that children should be placed in a home with a married mom and dad. The law effectively forced foster care and adoption programs for Catholic Charities and other faith-based organizations in Illinois to close their doors.

The result was devastating for the children and couples these organizations served. As recently reported by The Daily Signal, more than 2,000 children were affected and thousands of foster parents no longer will be part of the system to provide forever homes for children in need.

More recently, a young autistic boy was ripped away from his foster mother and the special needs care he required because she was certified to provide foster care through Catholic Social Services in Philadelphia. Last month, the City of Philadelphia told Catholic Charities it could no longer serve children and families like this one unless Catholic Charities violated its Catholic faith and longstanding commitment to placing children in homes with a mother and father.

The foster mom in question described the horrific ordeal in a written declaration, part of which I’ve included below:

I kissed him goodbye and told him how much I loved him. But every time the social worker tried to lead [him] out of our home, he would wriggle free and come running back to hold me. [The young boy] finally had to be carried crying from our home.

But there is good news.

Several states, such as Kansas and Oklahoma, have recently taken legislative action to protect all adoption and foster care providers, including the religious beliefs of faith-based providers, to ensure that no child suffers because the government doesn’t like a providers’ faith. Similar legislation, the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act, has been introduced in Congress to ensure that the federal government does not discriminate against faith-based providers.

In the meantime, however, activists are doubling down on their efforts to blacklist religious adoption providers and faith-based organizations serving children.

In Michigan, for example, the ACLU is representing two same-sex couples in a lawsuit challenging a 2015 state law that protects foster care and adoption providers to operate according to their beliefs.

But these laws don’t deprive same-sex couples of the ability to foster or adopt as there are numerous providers in every state willing to assist such couples. Rather, laws like Michigan’s put kids first by ensuring that more providers are helping to train and recruit more families to welcome children into their homes. By challenging the ability of faith-based providers to continue to faithfully serve children and families across the state, the ACLU is prioritizing its agenda above the needs of the kids who are longing to find a forever home.

But these are the kind of results we get when we treat children as pawns to be moved and used by activists to get what they want.

Perhaps this Buzzfeed article puts the whole attitude in perspective the best. Reporter Dominic Holden writes that adopting kids is one of the “accessories of marriage,” claiming that laws that preserve religious freedom somehow deny others the ability to obtain said accessories.

I don’t think I have to explain to you how absurd and sad that statement is.

After all, children are not purses. They don’t exist to make adults look good. They are human beings to be treated with dignity and respect.

We should be doing everything in our power to do what’s best for them—not what furthers an activist agenda. That means ensuring as many adoption and foster care providers as possible stay in the field to serve children.

Marissa Mayer

Senior Web Writer

Marissa Mayer is an Arizona native who fell in love with the written word at a young age.

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