Hundreds of faith leaders nationwide joined forces in December to speak out against state and federal policies that harm children and license discrimination by allowing taxpayer-funded foster care and adoption agencies to turn away qualified families and volunteers who profess the "wrong" religion or are LGBTQ.
More than 300 faith leaders, representing diverse religious traditions in 47 states, signed a statement titled "A Family for Every Child," which condemns the misuse of religious free dom to justify discrimination and deny children in foster care the safe, loving homes they need and deserve. They were pulled together by Faith Leaders United, a project of Americans United.
"As faith leaders, we celebrate the important work of so many faith-based child welfare agencies that support youth in foster care and families," the faith leaders stated. "We are also deeply committed to religious freedom, but that freedom doesn't give anyone the right to impose their beliefs on others or to put children in harm's way. To argue that religious freedom justifies the use of taxpayer dollars to discriminate against children and prospective parents is a distortion of such freedom."
The faith leaders' concerns come as the Trump administration has introduced a new rule that would strip nondiscrimination protections from government-funded service providers, including foster care and adoption agencies. This rule would allow taxpayer-funded agencies nationwide to turn away prospective families who don't share the agencies' religious beliefs.
The proposed rule would go far beyond the religious exemption from nondiscrimination laws that...