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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

Church administrator and wife, David and Connie Reiter, accused of stealing $1.2 million for personal gain

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Church administrator and wife David and Connie Reiter accused of stealing 12 million for personal ga

The former church administrator for Westminster Presbyterian Church in Upper St. Clair township in Pennsylvania has been arrested along with his wife for allegedly stealing $1.2 million of church funds over a 17-year period.

David Reiter, 50, has been charged with theft, forgery and receiving stolen property, while his wife Connie, 44, faces two counts of receiving stolen property, according to Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office. The couple allegedly faked an auditor and manipulated church accounting records in order to have money for vacations, sporting events, and other personal benefits.

My Take

Churches and other religious institutions have a hard enough time fighting corruption outside of their congregations. When the corruption is happening from within, it not only stings even more for the church body but also adds to the fodder for anti-Christian voices to use in their calls for changes.

Already on social media, the story is getting attention as another example of why churches should be taxed. Mixed into the discussion are calls of hypocrisy and bad faith within the faith itself.

In these times, it’s important to expose those who use their positions in church or their claimed faith as reasons to commit crimes. Whether it’s simple stealing, sex abuse, or any number of other crimes associated with “religious” people, the necessity to live as an example to the world has never been greater.

The scoffers will scoff whether they’re given reason to or not. But when the attacks are unjustified, their scoffing is less effective. This is why we need to cleanse the church of people like the Reiters if they did, indeed, do as charged.

 


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Returning to sanity, the greatest benefit of limited government

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Returning to sanity the greatest benefit of limited government

The ever-expansive government born of collectivism results in power for the elite and insanity for everyone else.

How did we get to this point? How did we get to a situation where reading the news is akin to trying to drink from a fire hose in attempting to take in the events of the day?

There were times in the not so distant past were this wasn’t the case, when we could go about our business not having to waste time with such concerns. This is clearly a vestige of a political movement that wants to impose expansive government on every aspect of our lives. The elite of the collectivist Left would prefer a society driven to distraction intimately involved in everyone’s private life. The only way we can survive this is by reversing course back to a point where government and society doesn’t control every aspect of our lives.

Colleague JD Rucker started this conversation with his article on limited government in continuation to the insane situation we find ourselves. Two important points being that we need dispense with tribalism and that Liberty can only survive when the government is limited.

Individualism vs. Collectivism, Limited vs. Expansive government, Liberty vs. Tyranny

In the engineering field, any analysis of a situation begins with basic equations and principles. In this case we begin with the two primary sides of politics, the individual and collectivist mindsets corresponding to Limited and Expansive government models.

  • Those trying to conserve Liberty: Libertarians, Conservatives and true Liberals are on the political Right of the individualist mindset.
  • Those trying to expand government for their own benefit in property and power: Leftists, socialists, communists, fascists, Statists, etc. are of the collectivist mindset.

To be sure, there are those who would prefer to keep these discussions in a far more complicated realm. Their motivation showing a desire to confuse the issue and obscure their actions. One cannot analyse any form of technology without delving down to the underlying equations and the same holds true for politics. If the examination shows one side is motivated by a desire for power, then this is the conclusion, no matter how certain factions would like this to be concealed.

Liberty is maximized when government is minimized

The critical point in this analysis is that expansive government is antithetical to freedom.

“The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground.”
Thomas Jefferson

This theoretical expression is borne out by practical reality. Authoritarian systems are clearly bereft of freedom. One would be hard pressed to demonstrate that national socialist worker’s party Germany or the old USSR were paragons of Liberty and human rights. Even the present day examples of socialist Venezuela or communist North Korea are more akin to open air penitentiaries than places of freedom.

Supposedly the argument is that free college, free housing, free health care, free food, free childcare and even free money is ‘freeing’ to some – but not all. The problem is that all of this is funded at some point by other people’s money, with the bite hitting ‘progressively’ lower and lower as people of the higher classes figure out methods to stop their property from being stolen. None the less, there will be those who will effectively be reduced to involuntary servitude, the opposite of being ‘Liberated’.

The problem has always been one of those who wish to get something for nothing and those who desire power no matter how it’s obtained. Without strict limitations on government, such people will always find a way to empower themselves at the expense of everyone else. Therefore, those people have to be constantly monitored, else they implement some new program here or a new tax there.

It becomes a rhetorical law of attrition, were people just become worn out trying to keep the power hungry in check. They may get upset at one issue, only to overlook another that crops up somewhere else.

Do you trust the government?

This is the critical questions of our time. Most people will answer that they don’t, albeit for differing reasons. However the central theme still remains.

  • If one does not trust the government, then why would anyone want it larger with expanded power?
  • If one does not trust the government, then why would anyone want it in control of one’s health care?
  • If one does not trust the government, then why would anyone want it to have a monopoly on the use of force?

We could go on and on, but the point is clear, a government that is inherently untrustworthy should only have limited power. This is why the strict limitations on government reveal the sheer genius of the founding fathers and the superiority of the American system of limited government.

The preservation of sanity by limited government

A government with strict limitations as to it’s proper functions [such as formulating and imposing budgetary restraints on itself] as well as what it cannot do doesn’t have to be watched 24/7. The citizens can be assured that they can go about their business without worrying that the government will grow out of control.

This is why we need to get back to a government that lives within its bounds and budget. This is why politicians of all stripes should have limited power in a limited governmental system. That is the only way to conserve Liberty and our sanity.

 


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A look at modern-day Capernaum

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A look at modern-day Capernaum

Much of what is written about Jesus Christ in the New Testament took place in the city of Capernaum on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee. It is here where Peter’s mother-in-law lived and was healed by Jesus. It is also here where our Lord and Savior performed many miracles.

Today, the ruins of ancient Capernaum can be visited by tourists, though it’s really not a major attraction. You won’t find the standard touristy amenities here such as hotels or large-scale guided tours. Instead, you will find a pair of churches and a park that acts as an information center for the people who visit this beautiful land.

A YouTube channel I recently found takes us on a brief but lovely tour of modern day Capernaum. Those who are blessed to visit Israel should consider making a stop in this important city in Biblical history.

 


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