Tag: Evangelical

“Serving children should not be controversial” – Evangelical Adoption Agency Opens to LGBTQ Parents Nationwide

"Serving children should not be controversial” - Evangelical Adoption Agency

Bethany Christian Services, the largest Protestant adoption and foster care agency in the U.S., announced yesterday that it will begin placing children with LGBTQ parents nationwide, reports the New York Times.

Child - heart - silhouette

Image by marcisim from Pixabay

Correspondent Ruth Graham writes that Bethany had an informal policy of referring LGBTQ people to other agencies, but individual branches of the agency, which has offices in 32 states, sometimes chose to serve them. In Philadelphia, where a different Christian agency’s refusal to work with LGBTQ people has taken them to the U.S. Supreme Court in a case (Fulton v. City of Philadelphia) whose outcome is pending, the local Bethany branch changed its policy to comply with city nondiscrimination statutes. Because the agency took taxpayer money for its services, it was bound by the city’s statutes. Now, Bethany’s national board has unanimously enacted a policy of inclusion for all of its branches.

Graham reports that President and CEO Chris Palusky said in an e-mail to the organization’s 1500 staff members, “We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today. We’re taking an all hands on deck’ approach where all are welcome.”

And board member Susanne Jordan told Graham that while she recognizes they may lose some donors because of the new policy, “Serving children should not be controversial.”

This is terrific news that will make more homes and parents available to children in care. And as the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) showed in a report released last December, more than 1,200 child placement agencies contract with city, county, and/or state governments to care for children. Of those, 39.8 percent agencies are religiously affiliated, mostly (88 percent) with mainstream Christian denominations. MAP noted that even if the Supreme Court rules in favor of discrimination, not all religiously affiliated agencies would choose to do so—and Bethany’s move reinforces that claim.

At the same time, MAP warned, “The risk is not merely hypothetical. There are already clear examples of agencies seeking the ability to discriminate. And a June 2020 survey by the Center for American Progress and NORC at the University of Chicago found that two in five LGBTQ people said it would be “very difficult” or “not possible” to find another child placement agency if they were turned away by one.

So: Good news, but not a reason to take our eyes off the ball. Want to know how you can help fight religiously based discrimination against LGBTQ parents and ensure that all children, including LGBTQ youth and youth of color, get culturally competent, safe, and supportive care? Visit the Every Child Deserves a Family campaign to learn more.

Evangelical rages over Facebook conversion therapy advertisement ban

facebook conversion therapy ads

Christopher Doyle, a “former homosexual”, co-founded the “ex-gay” group Voice of the Voiceless. (Voice of the Silenced/ YouTube)

Evangelical anti-LGBT+ Christians are fuming after Facebook confirmed that it would ban advertising for conversion therapy on the social media platform.

Facebook confirmed on Friday, July 10, that as part of a push to expand its hate speech policies, it will take down content deemed to be promoting the traumatic practice.

Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also said last week that it would pull down content from the UK-based Core Issues Trust, a group that promotes debunked theories that gay people can be cured.

In a statement to CNN, Instagram’s Tara Hopkins said: “We don’t allow attacks against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity and are updating our policies to ban the promotion of conversion therapy services.”

But anti-LGBT+ evangelicals are convinced that the ban on conversion therapy advertising is an “assault on free speech and religious liberty”.

Christopher Doyle is the executive director of the Institute for Healthy Families, which describes itself as a “non-profit therapeutic organization” which “specializes in sexual/ gender identity affirming therapy, and works with clients and families all over the world who experience sexual and/or gender identity conflicts”.

Doyle, a “former homosexual”, also co-founded the “ex-gay” group Voice of the Voiceless which says its mission it “to defend the rights of former homosexuals, individuals with unwanted same-sex attraction, and their families”.

He said that he founded the group “simply because of the invasion of homosexual activism within the secular American society”.

He strongly objects to Facebook and Instagram’s ban on conversion therapy advertising, and told the Christian Post: “While the company claims they are taking this action to prevent discrimination towards the LGBT community, the real people they are hurting are those who experience unwanted sexual and gender identity conflicts and are seeking options for healing and ethical, licensed therapy.

“Everyone should have the right to seek help for unwanted attractions or sexual/gender conflicts without interference, and public companies should not be able to discriminate the views of some they may disagree with for political purposes.”

Conversion therapy is often compared to torture and has been linked to higher risks of depression, suicide, and drug addiction.

A UK survey conducted last year found that one in five people who had been through conversion therapy later attempted suicide.