Yes, Private Adoption Agencies Need Religious-Freedom Protections

Illinois and California, among other states, require that private adoption agencies receiving state funds not discriminate against same-sex couples wishing to adopt. As a result, some Catholic adoption agencies in both states, refusing to place children with same-sex couples, have had to shut their doors. Earlier this month, the House Appropriations Committee approved a measure that would preserve the right of religious adoption agencies to operate according to their consciences and still receive government funding. Opponents of the measure have claimed that it legitimizes discrimination and would even deny “tens of thousands of vulnerable children the opportunity to find a loving and safe home.” Brad Polumbo responds:

The amendment won’t stop any lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transsexual person from adopting a child—but it will enable religious child-welfare agencies to help needy kids find a home. Religious people should be able to live by their convictions. . . . Private adoption agencies have First Amendment rights, and their freedom of conscience should be respected, even when their beliefs are politically incorrect or downright discriminatory. Allowing a small number of religious agencies to operate within their belief system doesn’t restrict the ability of gay Americans to adopt, because there are LGBT-friendly agencies all across the country, and there’s no shortage of kids looking for new families.

Government figures reveal that roughly 440,000 children live in foster-care programs while waiting for adoption. On average, it takes two years for a child to be adopted. Toddlers and babies usually are adopted sooner than older children. Opponents of the GOP’s religious-freedom initiative point to the high number of children in foster care and argue that by letting adoption agencies decline same-sex couples, the GOP denies at-risk children the chance to find a loving home. . . .

With hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care, waiting to be adopted, it’s hard to see how rules that shut down child-welfare agencies make sense. The GOP’s new rule wouldn’t magically erase the countless other adoption agencies open to prospective LGBT parents, but it would permit more Christian agencies to operate, thereby increasing our ability to find homes for disadvantaged children.

Ian Thompson of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) criticizes the religious-freedom amendment on different grounds. Many of the adoption providers in question receive taxpayer dollars. For them to turn away same-sex couples, Thompson argues, would be a violation of the 14th Amendment’s equal-protection clause, which prohibits discrimination by government. . . . That is a standard we apply almost nowhere else. When viewed in context, the idea that taxpayer funding strips a private organization of its First Amendment right [to religious freedom] is absurd.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at National Review

More about: Catholic Church, Congress, Freedom of Religion, Gay marriage, Politics & Current Affairs

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela