Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford have co-sponsored a bill to protect the right of child welfare charities to operate without fear of discrimination based on religious beliefs. The measure was introduced by Senator Mike Enzi.
Some states have begun banning religious charities from helping to place children in adoptive or foster homes. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act would keep states from restricting the charities on the basis of religion.
“The First Amendment’s right to the free exercise of religion is a right that extends to all faiths and all peoples and all organizations,” said Lankford. “True diversity is to respect the views and conscience of all without forcing one belief system on everyone. Unfortunately, some localities have sought to stifle the rights of Americans based on their belief system, and to discriminate based on faith. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act is needed to allow all child welfare nonprofits to provide desperately-needed services in a way that is in line with their values. To address our foster care and adoption crisis, we need as many child welfare organizations as possible working to place children in loving homes.”
“By deliberately discriminating on religious grounds and preventing faith-based groups from providing welfare services—including adoption and foster care—some states are in violation of the First Amendment’s right to religious liberty,” said Inhofe. “Faith-based institutions often play a vital role in the adoption process, whether by providing counseling or valuable resources. As long as we have children in need of assistance or a family, we should be ensuring that all organizations that want to help can. The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act will ensure that the services faith-based groups provide are available throughout the nation.”