Again anti-gays blindly and gleefully shoot themselves in the foot

Timothy Kincaid

February 9th, 2012

Anti-gay activists in Virginia are dancing with delight. They stood up to Teh HomoSEXshull Agenduh and showed them librulls that they don’t cotton to Teh Ghey so much in the Old Dominion State. The Virginia Senate Republicans, who have a strong majority in that red red state, just passed a bill allowing adoption agencies to deny access to gay couples or individuals on religious grounds.

Except, of course, they couldn’t just say “No gays! We hate ’em” so they couched their bill in language of “religious freedom”. And in their arrogance, they never stopped to consider how else this bill could be used. Look at the wording:

No private child-placing agency shall be required to consider or consent to any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would conflict with the religious tenets of any sponsor of the agency or other organization or institution with which the child-placing agency is affiliated or associated. The Commissioner shall not deny an application for an initial license or renewal of a license or revoke the license of a private child-placing agency solely on the grounds that the agency has refused to consider or consent to any placement of a child for foster care or adoption in such cases. Refusal of a private child-placing agency to consider or consent to any placement of a child pursuant to this section shall not form the basis of any claim for damages. [emphasis added]

Now I’m sure that all those good ol’ Southern Baptist boys thought that this gave them the power to discriminate. It did. And further more, with the people’s money. Praise Jesus*

But it also empowered others to find that certain cultural views are repressive and dangerous to children and that their faith prohibits the exposure of children to that element. For example, Quakers may find that military families are unfit based on their religious beliefs. Atheists affiliated with an established freethinkers organization could point to the tenets of their organization and decide that church goers rely on superstition and bronze age notions that hinder a child’s development. And we know that Mormons will be automatically disqualified from most taxpayer-funded but church-administered adoption or fostering programs.

The funny thing about religious beliefs is that everyone has them. Some firmly believe in a structured and pageanted theology, some firmly believe that deities are nonsense, and some believe they have no idea and couldn’t care less. And no matter what you believe, there’s a church or organization for you. If your entire faith system consists of nothing more than “I hate those people over there”, I promise you that you can find others who agree and who will happily join together, form a church, and say that God told them so.

Only a pack of fools would look at that reality and decide that the widely ranging, vastly differing, and often irrational beliefs and rules about a subject which is, by its very nature, unknowable is the basis on which adoption and fostering policy would be based.

And let’s be real. Who works in the child advocacy field, anyway? Sure, there are a few good family-first quote Leviticus fire-brands, but it’s mostly a bunch of bleeding heart liberals. And you know, you just know, that the real losers in this deal are going to be the idiots who just voted for the thing.

* (The risen and gone to Heaven with nothing left to say about it Jesus, that is. Not the Love your Neighbor Jesus; he said things that are embarrassing and we try not to quote him too much).

Steve

February 9th, 2012

>”The funny thing about religious beliefs is that everyone has them”

Nope. Not everyone. Beliefs yes. But not necessarily religious ones

Priya Lynn

February 9th, 2012

Timothy said “The funny thing about religious beliefs is that everyone has them.”.

No they don’t. A religious belief is a belief that accepts the existence of the supernatural. Atheists don’t have religious beliefs, we have beliefs about religion, our beliefs are by definition non-religious.

Lucrece

February 9th, 2012

You celebrate too much. How many atheist run adoption agencies are there when the national average is 20% on the high side?

Compare that to the amount of Catholic and Christian adoption agencies.

This is a loss. The collateral damage to them will be marginal. I still hope this law is challenged in court.

F Young

February 9th, 2012

And you know, you just know, that the real losers in this deal are going to be the idiots who just voted for the “thing.”

Actually, the real losers are the children who will spend years longer in foster care, or maybe never get adopted at all, and have their futures tragically sacrificed at the altar of homophobia because the people willing to adopt these children have been barred from doing so and are required to pay taxes to support this bar. The children are the real losers.

CPT_Doom

February 9th, 2012

@ Lucrece – IANAL but I do believe that the anti-gay crowd has shot themselves in the foot in a far worse way than merely opening the door to anti-“Christian” discrimination. Although federal law does not protect the LGBT community from this kind of discrimination, it does protect religious lifestyle choice and heterosexual marital status. This law is so broad that it allows for types of discrimination protected by federal law. I would presume a lawsuit based on those issues would be a slam dunk. In the meantime gay or lesbian social workers know have legal protections allowing them to deny adoptive parents who preach anti-gay hate. That’s irony & not in the Alanis Morrisette way.

Shannon

February 10th, 2012

Even athiest have religious beliefs, they beleive there are no dieties. Trying to say that athiesm is “my belief about religion” but never a religious belief sounds a bit like you’re offended to have been considered to have a religious belief

Paul in Canada

February 10th, 2012

This could certainly be easily challenged, and overturned, in a court of law.

Désirée

February 10th, 2012

a “belief about religion” is not the same as a “religious belief.” Not believing in religion is not a religion, no more than bald is a hair color.

Jay Jonson

February 10th, 2012

Paul, this law could be easily challenged in a court of law in a country that had reasonable judges and the Canadian Charter. Unfortunately, that does not apply to Virginia and North Dakota. Maybe in 20 years, this law will be declared unconstitutional. Meanwhile, thousands of children will be harmed.

B. Snow

February 10th, 2012

“No private child-placing agency” — by definition, doesn’t “private” mean not publicly funded? If they truly are private, let them discriminate all they want, but on their own dime. It will help them go extinct even more quickly.

“And you know, you just know, that the real losers in this deal are going to be the idiots who just voted for the thing.”

If only. They need to wake up to the fact that laws based on religion can be used against anyone, even the people who think they’ll benefit from them.

Steve

February 10th, 2012

Atheism isn’t a religious belief. Just as not collecting stamps is not a hobby. It’s a lack of religious beliefs.

And an adoption agency doesn’t have to be “atheist”. That’s simply nonsense. It just needs to be secular. There is a difference. There were plenty of secular agencies in Illinois to take over

jpeckjr

February 10th, 2012

@B. Snow: Private adoption and child care agencies have contracts with state governments to provide adoption and foster care services. The state pays a per child amount to provide the care. A foster family also receives a monthly payment as an incentive to be a foster family. Adoptive families usually don’t get such payments, though.

These contracting relationships exist so the state government is not a direct provider of adoption and child care. It also gives the state regulatory and inspection authority over the agencies.

Financial statements of private agencies should show how much money they get from public sources. They usually have other sources of income, such as donations. The public child care payments are likely to be their largest source of income.

I really do want some of my tax money to be used to take care of children. How this legistlation benefits the children is beyond me.

Priya Lynn

February 10th, 2012

Shannon said “Even athiest have religious beliefs, they beleive there are no dieties. Trying to say that athiesm is “my belief about religion” but never a religious belief sounds a bit like you’re offended to have been considered to have a religious belief”.

Wrong Shannon. A religions belief is one that accepts the existence of the supernatural Atheists have beliefs about religion, our beliefs are by definition non-religious. Wouldn’t you be offended if people repeatedly lied about you?

Atheism is a religion the way “off” is a TV channel or abstinence is a sex position.

CPT_Doom

February 10th, 2012

@B Snow – even if an organization is “private” and doesn’t take govt funds, it is still a “public accommodation,” unless it is a private membership club. Thus a privately owned restaurant cannot bar black people but a members-only social club, like the Elks, can. Adoption agencies, whatever their funding are typically public accommodations. Neither federal nor VA law protect LGBT citizens from discrimination in public accommodations, but federal law certainly protects religious lifestyles and hetero marital status & that is where this law oversteps. If it had only targeted TEH Gay, there wouldn’t be a problem.

Neil

February 10th, 2012

The funny thing about religious beliefs is that everyone has them. Some firmly believe in a structured and pageanted theology, some firmly believe that deities are nonsense, and some believe they have no idea and couldn’t care less. And no matter what you believe, there’s a church or organization for you.

Drawing a long bow you might be able to claim the ‘strong’ atheist position of a belief that there are no gods is a religious belief. Most atheists are take the ‘weak’ atheist position of having an absence of a belief in gods. This, by definition, cannot be defined as a belief, religious or otherwise. Absence of belief doesn’t necessarily mean belief in the absence.

There might be an organisation for atheists, as their are for bowling enthusiasts, but I don’t see that you can conflate such organisations so easily with a church without doing damage to the definition of the word church.

Rob Tisinai

February 11th, 2012

I still have my personal email from Maggie Gallagher where I asked if she thought Jews could get into Heaven. She answered that while she’d place limits on what God can choose to do, she does believe that “the only way to the Father is through the Son.”

And if that’s not a religious liberty argument for Christians adoption agencies not to work with Jewish parents, I don’t know what is!

Regan DuCasse

February 11th, 2012

Part of this intractable issue, is the arrogance of some believers (Christian in this nation in which they are a majority), think that their beliefs automatically make them good people who can’t be challenged or tested on that goodness and ethics and qualifications to parent.
There are a lot of messed up children that come from religious homes. The Phelps come to mind, so do many others.
There are religious people who need to be screened as to their motives and reasons for their beliefs. Is it to really be compassionate, critically thinking and FAIR people, or do they use their religion as a means of control, bullying and unchallenged authority over others?

And when called out on that differentiation of religious freedom, as opposed to religious authority, there can be a lot of dishonesty or confusion about what that is.

It’s fair that believers be just as tested as to their ABILITY to raise a child in the best interests of the child, not the best interests of the religion in question as an non believer, agnostic or secular person would be.

Some believers think that acceptance is automatically theirs.
Well, why SHOULD it be? And that’s when their true colors start to appear. What’s interesting is sometimes they don’t think you can see them.

Lee

February 12th, 2012

I’d have to say the losers in this, and in all these types of hate filled legislative moves, are the children in the end of the day.

David

February 14th, 2012

I am all for pastoring a welcoming and affirming church after i graduate with my Mdiv, but the tenor and anti-irenic spirit of this post towards the people you disagree with is very discouraging. I hope that you can learn how to stop belittling people that you disagree with as if they are simply ignorant fools. It really hurts our campaign for equality and acceptance.

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