Captain's Quarters, while marking a somewhat deceptive headline, has brought to my attention the recent maneuver of Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney to force all his state's adoption agencies to abide by the same restrictions (or lack thereof) in placing children. What the proposed law does is require religious organizations to ignore their own faith-based convictions when judging fitness of potential parents... that is, the law would require all adoption agencies -- including Catholic Charities -- to accept gay couples as adoptive parents. This comes even though the Vatican has already made it clear that Church policy toward homosexuality is unchanged from centuries ago (except that they're not burning or stoning gays any more). They still view homosexual behavior as a hugely huge sin, and one should avoid encouraging those who choose to pursue this sort of behavior, so it's not recommended that the sinner be rewarded with the responsibility of raising a child in a house of sin...
Regardles of whether I agree with the Vatican's perspective on gays, I think Romney's move is going to do nothing but harm.
Due to this mandate from the state, it is likely that Catholic Charities will cease doing adoption placements rather than violate their own faith's official restrictions. That is a serious pity.
Romney's move is forcing them to do something they might have done willingly, in a don't-ask-don't-tell fashion, had not the leaders in their faith guided them against. So, in effect, he's interfering in faith-based charitable actions by telling them that they must do what goes against the word of their leader. So, rather than be forced to do somehting against their faith, they will quit doing something intensely important and positive. Apparently, Romney doesn't care about the kids as much as he does about gay entitlement.
The whole point, in fact, behind brokering adoptions is supposed to be to do everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of the child. It isn't about politics. It isn't about whether or not somebody waaaants a baby. It's about how best that child may be raised.
Each agency has its own direction, its own agenda, and when they're open about their aims, the biological parents have a real choice for their hopes and intentions.
When one goes through faith-based agencies to place one's child, one does, to no small degree, expect that agency to adhere to a certain code... Jeez, if I'd aimed to place my kid in a gay household, I'd probably have looked into some other agency to do the job for me. I really wouldn't expect a religious group to plan to set up a child in a household having nothing to do with that religion -- and certainly I wouldn't expect them to think it's good for my kid to be placed in the home of people who regularly do something that the established belief indicates is seriously detrimental to the spiritual future of that child.
Granted, I shouldn't be calling the shots, when it comes to picking somebody else to raise my kid (since I can't quite do the job myself), but then again, I want the very best I can find for that child, and if I choose a faith-based agency, my input -- and theirs from the agency -- should be heard. If I think my kid may need a specific type of environment for a good upbringing, I'm going to find the people I think can provide that. I shop around for the guys who can find the folks who will do their best for my baby... or I trust the person who sends me to that office. Either way, I'm getting to a place and a group who view me and my baby as individuals, with purposes and souls.
If every agency, every person is forced to follow the same policies and practices without discrimination (in the classic sense of the word), those agencies will soon become about as trustworthy as any other government agency... not so bad for the big things, but for the individual, it's death to the soul.
Update: Okay, on this one I was seriously confused. Romney is the good guy in the story, standing up for Catholic Charities against the foaming liberal state legislature who want to create a Brave New World. I should have known, what with Romney's history of conservative actions and views.
It was probably the antihistamines talking. Yeah. Sure. That's the ticket.