Christian foster agency fighting government over rules on sexual conduct

By Bob Unruh

The United States is not the only country where attacks by socially progressive officials in government on Christian foster and adopting agencies have developed.

All because of their decision to follow the biblical standard for marriage being between one man and one woman, and not the alternative sexual lifestyles that have come to dominate in the media.

In the U.S., the Supreme Court recently issued a ruling that should settle the dispute, by demolishing a move by the city of Philadelphia to “cancel” Christian foster care agencies that did not violate their biblical standards and refer children to unmarried or same-sex couples.

Those agencies’ standards are protected by the First Amendment, the ruling said.

The Christian Institute in Britain explained in a report this week that the fight there continues.

Its high court already has ruled that the nation’s only evangelical Christian fostering and adoption agency is allowed to recruit only those who share its Christian faith.

But the court also said the agency, Cornerstone Adopting and Fostering Service (North East), cannot require its carers to follow Christian standards.

Those arguments continue in the battle in which the Christian Institute is representing the agency.

Aidan O’Neill QC recently described the court ruling as “incoherent” because there is an “intimate link between evangelical identity and an acknowledgement that sexual intimacy is to be enjoyed exclusively within a marriage between two persons of the opposite sex.”

“He said that if it is accepted that Cornerstone may restrict its services to those with an evangelical Christian faith, ‘it is not then for the court to tell them what that faith really is and ‘if you only understood your own faith better, you would be welcoming gay people as carers’,'” the institute reported.

“If you accept that the religion and belief requirements are justified and lawful, that is the end of the matter,” he said.

He explained the previous ruling attempts the impossible, suggesting evangelicals can affirm the Bible while practicing homosexuality.

“You cannot be an evangelical Christian whose lifestyle is one which endorses same-sex activities,” he charged. “We say if we were forced to adopt those who claim they subscribe to evangelical beliefs but do not conduct their lives in accordance with traditional biblical morality, then that would be undermining of those who have signed up to Cornerstone for its Christian evangelical ethos.”

He said there are other, non-Christian, agencies through which same-sex couples can work if they choose to participate in fostering.

Cornerstone’s appeal is challenging the part of the ruling that forbids a requirement that its carers follow the biblical standard on marriage.

In the United States, the Supreme Court recently issued a stunning unanimous ruling that because of the First Amendment, the city of Philadelphia is not allowed to require Christian agencies to violate their faith in order to help with the needs of foster children in the city.

“The Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment, applicable to the states under the Fourteenth Amendment, provides that ‘Congress shall make no law … prohibiting the free exercise’ of religion,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts in a dispute that attracted multiple opinions – all ending with the same result.

“As an initial matter, it is plain that the city’s actions have burdened (Catholic Social Services’) religious exercise by putting it to the choice of curtailing its mission or approving relationships inconsistent with its beliefs.”

He said, “Government fails to act neutrally when it proceeds in a manner intolerant of religious beliefs or restricts practices because of their religious nature.”

The agency in the case, Catholic Social Services, had worked with the city for decades, providing homes for thousands of children, until a few years ago when city officials abruptly insisted the agency offer services to same-sex and other duos.

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