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Adoption and foster care agencies are the latest battle grounds of religious freedom in the United States today. A number of states have already passed legislation which would protect religiously motivated adoption agencies from being forced to place children with those who identify as LGBT. These bills are called Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Acts (CWPIA). Not surprisingly, CWPIAs have not passed through state legislatures without opposition. Opponents call them “needless”—but are they? Or are they necessary to ensure the survival of faith-based adoption agencies?In 2006, Catholic Charities of Boston shocked the U.S. charity world when, on March 10, it announced it “plann[ed] to be in discussion with the Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] to end [its] work in adoption services.” They cited disagreement with the Massachusetts law which required the charity to violate its convictions on a child’s need for a mom and dad. Catholic teaching describes homosexual adoption as gravely immoral. The Archdiocese declared in a statement concerning the issue, “in spite of much effort and analysis, Catholic Charities of Boston finds that it cannot reconcile the teaching of the Church, which guides our work, and the statutes and regulations of the Commonwealth.”This was one of the first situations that showed the dark underbelly of sexual orientation “non-discrimination” policies. Following the Archdiocese of Boston’s decision, Catholic Charities of D.C. was “informed…that the agency would be ineligible to serve as a foster care provider due to the impending D.C. same-sex marriage law.” Catholic Charities was forced into similar situations in southern Illinois and in San Francisco.North Dakota became the first state to protect religious-based charities when, in 2003, it passed a law which states: “A child-placing agency is not required to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, facilitate, refer, or participate in a placement that violates the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies.” In addition, the law also states that a state cannot deny a contract based on religion. These laws read similarly in the states that have passed them. Kansas, Alabama, Virginia, Michigan, Mississippi, South Dakota, and Texas have passed CWPIAs. Oklahoma is the newest state to pass a CWPIA on May 11, 2018.The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution declares that “[g]overnment shall make no law respecting religion; or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” In forcing religious charities to choose between violating their religious beliefs or shutting down, the government is effectively prohibiting the free exercise of religion.Under CWPIAs, no adoption agency is prohibited by the state from allowing anyone to adopt children, it only allows religious charities to uphold their religious belief that children need a mom and dad. There are an estimated 118,000 children in need of adoption in the United States right now. Limiting the number of adoption agencies is certainly not the best way to help them. The well-being of children should be paramount, and they should not be used as pawns in the culture war. Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Acts allow for religiously motivated charities to continue to operate and place children without violating their consciences, a freedom the government is required under the Constitution to protect.Be sure to read FRC’s in-depth analysis on the importance of CWPIAs.Spencer White is an intern at Family Research Council.
This celebration of black culture and black success points to a bigger story for the church.A while ago, I stopped watching a certain type of black movie.In the wake of the black suffering that I saw in real life, I didn’t want to see another black slave scene. I didn’t want the water hoses of Alabama to once again wreck my hopes. I didn’t want to see us integrate another school, sports team, or profession despite the overwhelming odds. I didn’t avoid these films because I was ashamed of our history, but because my soul needed rest.The film Black Panther presented itself differently. It did not set out to highlight black suffering, but black achievement. Furthermore, it was black achievement in a black context. For black people, this was a film for us, by us, and about us.The Marvel movie—set in a fictional, futuristic African country (Wakanda) and featuring an African and African American cast—has even inspired black viewers to come to the movie dressed in traditional African clothing.This response might seem excessive, but given the history of cinema, the chance to center the black experience outside of the setting of extreme poverty is no small thing. Black audiences are celebrating the vision for a bigger story for black boys and girls; their support is a call to attend to the whole of black life and culture.American evangelicals might look to Black Panther as a starting point for dialogue and reflection as they increasingly address concerns about diversity, reconciliation, and representation in their churches and the church at large.This movie milestone exemplifies how deeply we as a people want to be our whole black selves and tell our whole stories. We resist the expectation that we must conform to cultural norms in order to be accepted in white spaces, including evangelical ...Continue reading...
Former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore just won the GOP Senate primary runoff.
Multi-award winning Southern Gospel duo Wilburn & Wilburn were honored with a 2017 Telly Award. As a part of the Jacksonville State University Television services, the father/son Gospel group were awarded for the "Gospel Music Southern Style” 2016 Christmas show. The duo was the featured artist on the programming which was recorded at the First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Alabama last year.
Rosa Nell Speer Powell, age 94 of Winchester, passed away on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at Southern Tennessee Regional Medical Center. She was born in Double Springs, Alabama on September 21, 1922 to the late George Thomas and Lena Darling Brock Speer. Mrs. Powell was a member of First Church of the Nazarene in Nashville.
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