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Good for Texas: Protecting religious conscience rights benefits at-risk adoptive children

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Liberals will take exception to Texas’ latest move to protect faith-based adoption organizations from being forced to violate their consciences. That’s because most liberals are really statists who believe the government should enforce complete uniformity in the name of equality. The idea that differing and even mutually-exclusive ideals can be beneficial to children and society is beyond their narrow worldview.

For the record, and likely to the disappointment of some misguided evangelical friends of mine, I have absolutely zero problems with LGBTQ couples adopting and/or fostering children. In fact I enthusiastically encourage anyone of any background, faith, or creed to participate in child welfare activities. The foster care system in our country is overloaded with at-risk children, and we need more families participating, not less. It is for this very reason that I fully support and praise the infamous adoption discrimination bill that Governor Greg Abbott of Texas signed into law last week. Confused? Stay with me.

Last week the state of Texas enacted HB3859 which allows private agencies to refuse placement of foster and adoptive children into homes based on deeply held beliefs and further protects them from lawsuits for such decisions. Opponents argue that it gives organizations the green light to discriminate against the LGBTQ community, which it absolutely does and most likely will occur. However, as with most important issues sound opinions must come from more than just scratching the surface of an issue. We must fully understand the intent and implications before we make a call to arms. Resist the urge to come out swinging at the first mention of discrimination.

The intent of the law is clearly spelled out in its opening paragraph. Texas is attempting to attract more private agencies to help an overwhelmed foster care system as well as protect the agencies it already has. Surely we can all claim this as common ground when it comes to finding homes for children. The need for this law arose from the exodus of many faith-based foster care agencies as they drastically scaled back their involvement in the state for fear of litigation resulting from their own theologically driven policies. In fact almost all Catholic agencies suspended their operations in the state of Texas, and we can hardly blame them.

Activism against discrimination towards the LGBTQ community has become a significant part of pop culture in recent years, and has been further emboldened by successful lawsuits towards individuals and businesses that discriminated for religious reasons. These individuals lost enormous amounts of money and some lost their own livelihood. Regardless of how you feel towards those specific cases, we should all be able to understand how this is bad for faith-based non-profits doing charitable work for children – children whose well-being is, more often than not, in immediate danger. Resources spent fighting litigation means fewer resources spent helping children, and many organizations would rather pull out altogether in an effort to focus their resources in alternative endeavors with less risk of financial loss.

The obvious counterargument is faith-based groups could simply choose not to discriminate against LGBTQ couples. Why not be all-inclusive? Easy enough, right? This argument ignores the underlying problem completely. Violating your core beliefs to appease someone is a betrayal of your own self, as I have previously written. The simple truth is that respecting the deeply-held beliefs of others regardless of our own opinions is a fundamental aspect of freedom, and speaking of freedom, there is nothing preventing LGBTQ groups from establishing their own child-welfare organizations.

Under the law LGBTQ agencies could freely discriminate against any person or religion they choose, even free to serve only LGBTQ families if they were inclined to do so. Ironically the state of Texas is making a great effort to make child-welfare inclusive by protecting those freedoms. The Texas legislature even went so far as to include a provision in the law mandating that private agencies refer families to other organizations that will provide the services being denied. There is absolutely no reason to expect that anyone will be denied in the end, and when all else fails families can choose to adopt and foster directly through the state.

I can confidently say that arguments against HB3859 are largely self-defeating. It is a brilliant example of innovative, forward-thinking progress. We must get past the word ‘discrimination’ and come to realize that this law opens the door for a broad, diverse group private organizations to do a good work. Don’t stand in the way.

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Culture and Religion

The truth about Thanksgiving

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The truth about Thanksfiving

Thanksgiving for many of us has been presented as a time when diversity worked. When a group of people who came seeking refuge from religious persecution was saved by another group of people. A time when different cultures could come together and share what they had to offer one another, culminating in a feast consisting of corn and turkey that was made to honor that moment.

Sadly, the most recent depiction of this pivotal moment in our history has been turned into an American horror story. A story that depicts white Europeans who came to wipe out all the innocent natives by disease and war. The evil white man brought with them more evil white men who only wanted to destroy and kill, to take land that didn’t belong to them and annihilate anyone who wasn’t white. Because that’s all white people want.

Neither of these versions are remotely true.

The Pilgrims were not fleeing from persecution. Nor did they spread disease or kill an entire village of Native Americans. They simply came to a new world filled with the hope of freedom – freedom to live by the values and principles as defined by the word of God. They came to the new world to give their families that chance rather than being overtaken by a society they felt did not reflect those values. It was so important to them that they risked their lives and the lives of their children to make the voyage. A voyage that landed them far from where they were expecting.

After arriving to the new world it was clear that God had a plan. The circumstances which led up to the first thanksgiving – for both the Europeans and the Native American that helped them – could only be explained by divine providence.

Despite being told this is a time to apologize or to be shameful for our history as a nation, the truth is Thanksgiving should be the most important and revered time for all Americans. A time of remembrance of God’s grace and divine providence for a group of people that risked everything to honor Him, including a Native American by the name of Squanto.

The diversity of God’s grace is what we, Americans, should be celebrating. Not multiculturalism.

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Culture and Religion

Marco Rubio whips out Bible verse that goes after the Florida recount debacle

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Marco Rubio whips out Bible verse that goes after the Florida recount debacle

There are two prevailing opinions pertaining to the Florida election and subsequent recounts. Democrats generally feel like it’s good to “count every ballot” until they win, even if that means “finding” more ballots to add to their candidates’ tallies. Republicans have been fighting against the recounts despite that play coming across ingenuously to voters on both sides.

We should want every valid vote counted. The operative word there is “valid.”

Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a Catholic, Tweeted a Bible verse that seemed apropos to the current debacle in Florida.

One might even say this draws in one of the favorite punching bags for Republicans, former presidential candidate “Crooked” Hillary Clinton. That wasn’t the intent, I’m sure, but it’s always fun to laugh at Hillary.

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Culture and Religion

3 reasons President Trump should offer Asia Bibi asylum

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3 reasons President Trump should offer Asia Bibi asylum

There are certain political moves that can be considered “no-brainers” for anyone in Washington DC. Offering persecuted Pakistani Christian Asia Bibi asylum is one of them.

The drawbacks of doing so are few but potent. It would enrage hardline Muslims in the United States who may go after Bibi and her family, but that’s a risk she’ll face anywhere she goes. It would put US citizens and military personnel at greater risk than they already are when traveling abroad, especially in Muslim majority nations like Pakistan. Lastly, it would spark negative press against the President who would ask whether or not he would do the same for a Muslim in a similar circumstance.

All of those negatives are mitigated by three important positives.

  1. It goes against the bigotry narrative. Don’t get me wrong. Mainstream media and leftists will still try to paint the act of offering asylum to a persecuted Pakistani family as racist because she’s Christian. Thankfully, most Americans are smart enough to see through that false narrative.
  2. Pakistan won’t mind. If anything, their preference would be for America, which is already evil in the eyes of most hardline Islamic Pakistanis, to accept a burden that will only perpetuate a narrative that already exists.
  3. It’s the right thing to do. Any time the President of the United States can do the right thing, he should. Lately, there just haven’t been many opportunities to do so.

Every day that passes brings Asia Bibi and her family closer to the dangers that are closing in on them in Pakistan. They need to be taken in as soon as possible. Italy, Germany, and even Canada have offered to step up. The United States needs to do the same.

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