The politically hot topic of homosexuality creates more problems than most understand or admit. Not only is the sanctity of marriage at issue, but issues of health, social norms, and the family are raised to name a few. One could argue that unabated homosexuality could actually end the propagation of the human race. But then other issues are more immediate. Consider the fact that Catholic Charities of Boston decided to get out of the adoption business, according to Maggie Gallagher, President of the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy. "We have encountered a dilemma we cannot resolve...The issue is adoption to same-sex couples."
Gallagher summarizes: "It was shocking news. Catholic Charities of Boston, one of the nation's oldest adoption agencies, had long specialized in finding good homes for hard to place kids. 'Catholic Charities was always at the top of the list,' Paula Wisnewski, director of adoption for the Home for Little Wanderers, told the Boston Globe. 'It's a shame because it is certainly going to mean that fewer children from foster care are going to find permanent homes.' Marylou Sudders, president of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said simply, 'This is a tragedy for kids.'"
Now, several issues are raised here. First, there is the issue of Scriptural teaching coming into conflict with accepted political and sociological thought.
Second, there is the issue of the state failing to protect a segment of its population by allowing them to be adopted by homosexuals. The problem here lies in the fact that homosexuality is destructive to health and social development. Further, an adoption agency must be licensed by the state. In obtaining said license, the agency must pledge to submit to state laws barring discrimination. Thus, with gay marriage now legal, children must be placed with same-sex couples by adoption agencies in order to avoid violating discrimination laws. The children who find themselves in such an environment will suffer.
Third, there is the issue of religious liberty. While churches or church related adoption agencies should not be forced to place children in homes that promote a lifestyle contrary to the plain teaching of Scripture, they in fact are. Moreover, in a society built on principles of liberty, no adoption agency should be forced into such. There will always be avenues for homosexuals to adopt. Their liberty to adopt is not restricted (though it should be as liberty only applies when no harm is done to others. As we have seen, homosexuality is destructive in more than one way). But, in this case, while the homosexual's liberty is not restricted, the liberty of the church is. Religious freedom is fast becoming a footnote in the history of a once great nation: a nation that not only championed religious freedom but a nation that was built upon it.
It is important to note that "Cardinal O'Malley asked Governor Mitt Romney for a religious exemption from the ban on orientation discrimination. Governor Romney reluctantly responded that he lacked legal authority to grant one unilaterally, by executive order. So the governor and archbishop turned to the state legislature, requesting a conscience exemption that would allow Catholic Charities to continue to help kids in a manner consistent with Catholic teaching. To date, not a single other
Fourth, there is the issue of the church's involvement with the state. To what extent does the church really want to be in bed with the state? Not only is the state (as opposed to limited civil government) evil according to the Scriptures, but involvement with the state inevitably leads to problems for the church. For example, "Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey, the Republican candidate for governor in this fall's election, refused to budge: 'I believe that any institution that wants to provide services that are regulated by the state has to abide by the laws of the state, and our antidiscrimination laws are some of our most important.'"
There you have it. This Republican, as with most these days, is an agent of the state and is more concerned with protecting the state than religious liberty. Moreover, discrimination has been defined by the state. That definition has broadened beyond the bounds of sense and reason. The protection of homosexuals over liberty and children is a sad development indeed: and that from the party of family values.
Of course, the end result is the church closing down its adoption agency. Gallagher insightfully comments, "This March, then, unexpectedly, a mere two years after the introduction of gay marriage in America, a number of latent concerns about the impact of this innovation on religious freedom ceased to be theoretical. How could Adam and Steve's marriage possibly hurt anyone else? When religious-right leaders prophesy negative consequences from gay marriage, they are often seen as overwrought. The First Amendment, we are told, will protect religious groups from persecution for their views about marriage." Tragically, it didn't.
The state is being heavy handed, as the student of Scripture or history would expect. The cultural observer would expect the same as well. In 1 Chron. 12:32, the Scripture refers to the children of Issachar as "men that had understanding of the times, to know what
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About Paul Dean
Dr. Paul Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. He serves as a Regional Mentor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors, speaks at several conferences throughout the year, and provides training for ministers and churches on a regular basis. Paul resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and three children.
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