Catholic Social Services (CSS) has been serving the underprivileged children of Philadelphia for over two centuries. The organization serves children through adoption and foster care services as an outpouring of the love embodied in the tenets of the Christian faith.
This is a problem for the Left.
Today’s secular humanist Left is adamant about crushing dissenting views. All people and organizations that refuse to publicly affirm support for LGBTQIA+ desires must be “canceled”—ostracized, isolated, punished, re-educated. Christians, in particular, are a nuisance. They continue to believe in Creation as told in Scripture. They believe every person has intrinsic value as created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). That’s why they just will not shut up about the injustice of abortion.
Christians insist that God created us male and female (Genesis 1:27, Matthew 19:4) and that God instituted marriage and the family as a foundational institution (Genesis 2:24) that reflects the most sacred relationship between Christ and His Bride, the Church (Ephesians 5:31,32). They dare to promote that children honor both their mother and father (Exodus 20:12, Ephesians 6:2). They insist on loving God above all and neighbors as themselves (Mark 12:30,31). They even believe their help of the poor is akin to serving Christ himself (Matthew 25:40).
This is intolerable. Well, it’s been tolerable for 200 years, but no more. When the Liberal Elites got wind (through a newspaper report) that CSS would not certify same-sex couples to be foster parents due to its religious convictions, they decided to kick them off the state’s programs designed to help needy children. …
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Freedom Rings Again in Philadelphia with Big First Amendment Win at U.S. Supreme Court
Washington, D.C. – Conservative women celebrate the just-released U.S. Supreme Court decision in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. Penny Nance, CEO and President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), the largest public policy organization for women in the nation, had this to say:
“As the Court acknowledged, ‘The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with [Catholic Social Services] CSS for the provision of foster care services unless CSS agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents violates the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.’
“This is a commonsense decision that represents the most basic principles of freedom. Americans should be free to act upon matters of conscience according to their deeply held religious beliefs without fear of government retribution.
“Children are the real winners here. Children in foster care or in need of a forever home have benefitted from religious communities, like Catholic Social Services, selflessly committed to their welfare for thousands of years. Government should welcome such humble assistance and encourage their expansion, instead of putting a target on them seeking their demise, as Philadelphia tried to do here.
“In a pluralistic society, we must resist those in power who seek to impose their preferred views in matters of faith by force. We must learn to respect one another and understand that disagreement is not bigotry.
“Today, the Court lives up to the promise of our founding and adheres to the essence of our First Amendment freedoms to the free exercise of religion.”
Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) is the legislation and advocacy arm of Concerned Women for America. Concerned Women for America is the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with a rich 40-year history of helping our members across the country bring Biblical principles into all levels of public policy.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in an important religious liberty case this week, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. Sharonell Fulton and other foster parents who work with Catholic Social Services (whose work goes back 200 years in the city) brought suit after the City of Philadelphia tried to kick them out of the foster care and adoption arena because of their faith.
The city wants to force them to violate their faith and place children with same-sex couples. Concerned Women for America submitted a brief in support of the foster parent’s religious liberty.
This should be a simple case. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. That is exactly what the city is doing here in trying to prevent Catholic Social Services from serving the poor and needy in the way they have done for centuries.
Lori Windham, of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who represented the foster parents put it succinctly for the justices. “The City has no compelling reason for excluding Catholic Social Services, which has exercised its faith by serving at-risk children in Philadelphia for two centuries,” she said in her opening presentation.
The real motivation behind this law, a blatant attack on Christians, was exposed in Court as Justice Samuel Alito asked a simple question: “How many same-sex couples in Philadelphia have been denied the opportunity to be foster parents as a result of Catholic Social Services’ policy?”
To which Ms. Windham responded, “Zero. In fact, Justice Alito, none have even approached Catholic Social Services asking for this approval and endorsement.”
Still, the liberal justices wanted to see a big problem here, suggesting, as they always do, that the situation is akin to Catholic Social Services discriminating against African Americans. But both, Ms. Windham for the foster parents and the federal government who also presented arguments in their support were careful to bring back the issue to what was really before them. “What the City’s trying to do here is tell religious groups who have been doing this prior to when the City got involved, ‘We’re going to exclude you; you can no longer carry out this work unless you take actions that are contrary to your faith.’”
Ms. Windham concluded saying, “In our pluralistic society, a properly functioning Free Exercise Clause is supposed to prevent this kind of unnecessary and harmful conflict. There are children in need of loving homes waiting for them. Neither Philadelphia nor [precedent] should stand in the way.”
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Hashim Mooppan also presented in support of religious liberty on behalf of the United States. He took the argument from where Ms. Windham left off. “Philadelphia has not afforded Catholic Social Services the tolerance of religious practice that is required by the Free Exercise Clause and vital to our pluralistic nation,” he said.
He was strong also in responding to the liberal justices’ contention that this requirement was neutral and did not target faith specifically. He highlighted that the city indeed made many exceptions to their supposed rule, including in law. “[U]nder 55 Pennsylvania Code 3700.64,” he highlighted, “the City requires agencies to consider both familial status and disability in certifying foster children — foster parents. The City has tolerated racial and ethnic-based outreach to — for foster parents. And then the City itself considers race and disability when placing children.”
But now, when it comes to taking into account faith, they want to bully Christian agencies to violate their deeply held beliefs to accommodate the city’s desired preferences.
Radical liberal attorney Neal Katyal represented the City of Philadelphia and tried to persuade the Court that they extended those exemptions at a different stage and so that made it different. It was not persuasive. Justice Alito, again, got to the heart of the matter: “[I]f we are honest about what’s really going on here, it’s not about ensuring that same-sex couples in Philadelphia have the opportunity to be foster parents. It’s the fact that the City can’t stand the message that Catholic Social Services and the Archdiocese are sending by continuing to adhere to the old-fashioned view about marriage. Isn’t that the case?”
Katyal, of course, denied it and tried to deflect to another matter.
The new member of the Court, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, also asked important questions about the ramifications of the government’s actions in this case. She asked Mr. Katyal:
[L]et’s imagine that the state takes over all hospitals and says from now on, you know, we are going to be responsible for hospitals, but we will contract with private entities to actually run them. And so there’s a Catholic hospital and gets a contract with the City to run it. In fact, it’s a Catholic hospital that’s in existence before the state adopts this policy. And its contract with the state provides that there are — in the contract the state gives everyone is that you can get some exceptions for some medical procedures, but every hospital has to perform abortions.
The deflection continued. Justice Barret made an important point because as the size of government continues to grow, this sort of anti-religious bullying will only expand to more and more areas. Justice Alito, later on talked about homeless shelters, and one could think of any number of other spaces.
The city’s position is not only that people of faith cannot get government funding to serve the poor in those cases, but that they couldn’t operate at all.
Thankfully, the oral arguments show their position is likely to be rejected by a majority of the Court.
We are pleased that one of Gov. Noem’s priorities this year is to encourage more families to provide a loving home to children as foster parents. There is an urgent need for foster families and the Governor is allocating funds for training and other helpful resources for prospective foster parents.
Once again you have the opportunity to make a difference by submitting comments in support of President Trump’s pro-religious freedom Keep Kids First rule. Have you submitted yours yet? Don’t delay; the deadline of Thursday, December 19 to comment is quickly approaching! It only takes a minute to submit your comment. Make your voice heard today!
The Keep Kids First rule assures that the government does not discriminate against faith-based adoption and foster care providers who are providing services to families and children in line with their deeply-held religious beliefs regarding gender, sexuality and the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman.
The Keep Kids First rule changes an Obama-era rule that jeopardized the status of faith-based adoption and foster care providers who desired to work with adoptive and foster families who shared their beliefs. President Obama added categories to HHS nondiscrimination laws that require grant recipients to accept unorthodox, ideological views on gender, sexuality, and marriage. The result has become government discrimination against faith-based providers used as a weapon for lawsuits and disqualifying them from serving families and children.
With the Keep Kids First rule, President Trump seeks to restore religious freedom and enable all child welfare providers to be included on the playing field; this is especially important as the need for loving families is on the rise as the Governor stated.
If you have already submitted your comment, thank you! Would you consider forwarding this email to your friends, small group, or family members who also stand in support of religious freedom to help get the word out before the comment deadline? You can also share our social media posts on Twitter and Facebook to help get the word out.