You know, I was adopted once. I’m not sure my parents would have been able to pass any religious test, but they did a good job on me (thanks, Mom! thanks, Dad!).
But the latest Republican “Sharia for Jesus” ploy might have given their adoption agency the right to say, “Y’all aren’t on fire for the Lord enough—no baby Cory for you!”
Senate Bill 149, introduced by Senator Alan Solano (R-32/Rapid City) and Representative Steven Haugaard (R-10/Sioux Falls) would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against prospective parents (and, arguably, adoptees) who somehow violate the agencies’ religion or morals:
The state may not discriminate or take any adverse action against a child-placement agency or an organization seeking to become a child-placement agency on the basis, wholly or partly, that the child-placement agency has declined or will decline to provide any service that conflicts with, or provide any service under circumstances that conflict with a sincerely-held religious belief or moral conviction of the child-placement agency [2017 SB 149, Section 4, introduced 2017.02.01].
This is “Sharia for Jesus” again. Last year, Republicans tried to grant this right to discriminate on the basis of religion and sexual ethics to darn near everybody—individuals, businesses, clubs, but not hospitals!—but after winning the House vote, sponsor Rep. Rev Scott Craig saw the constitutional light and withdrew his bill.
This time, Republicans are testing their ability to sneak bigotry in to law by wrapping a pro-discrimination bill around adorable little babies. (That tack works for unconstitutional abortion restriction, so why not unconstitutional religious discrimination?) The language of SB 149 matches some of the phraseology of last year’s faux religious freedom bill; SB 149 has simply been pared down to applied strictly to child placement agencies.
First Amendment hawks, watch SB 149 carefully. Parents raising children according to their own religious beliefs is just fine. However, does the state really want to find itself in the position of giving tax dollars to a Muslim adoption agency that refuses to place children with anyone other than good Muslim parents?
Let’s keep religious discrimination out of our statutes. Leave religion to parents and churches, and keep discrimination out of our adoption agencies.