Sunday, July 17, 2005


From the Hattiesburg American in Mississippi:

A Christian adoption agency that receives money from Choose Life license plate fees said it does not place children with Roman Catholic couples because their religion conflicts with the agency's "Statement of Faith."

Bethany Christian Services in Jackson stated the policy in a letter to a Jackson couple this month, and another Mississippi couple said they were rejected for the same reason last year.

"It has been our understanding that Catholicism does not agree with our Statement of Faith," Bethany director Karen Stewart wrote. "Our practice to not accept applications from Catholics was an effort to be good stewards of an adoptive applicant's time, money and emotional energy."

Sandy and Robert Steadman, who learned of Bethany's decision in a July 8 letter, said their priest told them the faith statement did not conflict with Catholic teaching....

It's odd -- conservative Catholics are working so hard to be accepted as full partners in the religious right, and the Protestant leaders of the religious right have welcomed them as reinforcements in the culture wars. But the rank and file?Sometimes that's another story entirely.

It appears (according to the Kalamazoo Gazette) that the national offices of this Michigan-based agency don't blackball Catholics -- this is just a local preference:

The Michigan offices, however, hold a different view.

"Absolutely, yes," the agency will place children with qualifying couples of the Roman Catholic faith and other Christian denominations, said Brad Keller, director of Southwest Michigan Bethany Christian Services, which has offices in Kalamazoo, Paw Paw, Three Rivers and Allegan.

And as for that pesky church-state separation thing? The Hattiesburg American explains:

Though the fee passes through state coffers, it is considered a private donation, said Kathy Waterbury of the Mississippi Tax Commission.

"They aren't public funds in that we are collecting money on behalf of the organization the tag represents," she said.

Oh. And I guess we're not supposed to think about the fact that government workers are paid to do this administrative work out of tax dollars.

Incidentally, here's Bethany's Statement of Faith. I was raised a Catholic and it beats the hell out of me what conflict there is between Catholic doctrine and this.

No comments: