The Threat to Religious Adoption Agencies

Oct. 23 2018

In a recent campaign speech, the Texas senatorial candidate Beto O’Rourke attacked a Texas law that permits private adoption agencies to refuse to place children with homosexual couples. His comments, writes David Closson, highlight the important need for such legal protections:

O’Rourke’s claim was based on a 2017 state law under which faith-based adoption agencies may decline to place children with same-sex couples because of sincerely held religious beliefs about marriage and human sexuality. Significantly, the Texas law does not prevent anyone from adopting, and even mandates that if an agency cannot work with a same-sex couple, it must direct the couple to another agency that will work with them. . . .

O’Rourke’s campaign rhetoric is just the latest in a series of attacks on the religious liberty of faith-based adoption providers. Dana Nessel, the Democratic candidate running for attorney general in Michigan, recently expressed similar hostility toward the beliefs of faith-based adoption providers. When asked about the 2015 Michigan law that protects the religious liberty of faith-based adoption agencies, Nessel admitted that if she’s elected she will disregard it because she “could not justify using the state’s money defending a law whose only purpose is discriminatory animus.” . . .

Meanwhile, the ACLU is suing the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services over the 2015 law, and a Clinton-appointed federal judge ruled on September 14 that the lesbian couples represented by the ACLU could proceed. . . .

But in the face of continued challenges to the ability of faith-based adoption providers to run their ministries without fear of reprisal, federal legislation . . . is needed.

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Read more at National Review

More about: Freedom of Religion, Gay marriage, Politics & Current Affairs, U.S. Politics

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.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela