Of course it would be Texas. Who the hell else would it have been? In response to a foster care crisis in the state, including a 2015 federal judge’s ruling that the state’s foster system violated the constitutional rights of the children involved, the Texas legislature has really knuckled down. Gov. Greg Abbott made repairing the system a priority, and the legislature has increased funding while it examines ways to fix the problems.
After being delayed due to other matters, a proposed bill is to make its way through the Texas House this week that will attempt to solve violations to the constitutional rights of children by simply violating the rights of everyone else. You know, to make it fair. Under the proposed bill, parents looking to adopt a child could be rejected by a private or state-funded agency that has a religious objection to the couple being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith.
What is it, I wonder, that enters the heads of legislators, whether local, state, or federal, that greenlights every single idea that enters their heads. Should we as a people worry more about these kind of creeping discrimination bills being manufactured on a more regular basis, or the fact a majority of the populace now seems either so inattentive or apathetic that it simply does not matter that the majority of the legislators being elected have no working knowledge of the Constitutions they swear to uphold upon election?
There should not be anyone who does not see this bill for what it is- an obvious violation of equal protection under the law. There should not be anyone who does not object to allowing any entity accepting state or federal money to make any kind of a decision based on a religious stance. There should not be anyone who does not object to any government entity mandating and providing funding for discrimination. And there should damn well not be anyone who does not object to granting an organization the right to impose their faith or belief systems upon the children in their charge.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Under the bill, foster children could very well be required to comply with any faith-based requirements.
Rep. James Frank (R-Wichita Falls), the bill’s author, defends it by insisting the bill is designed to address the state’s foster care crisis by making “reasonable accommodations so everyone can participate in the system,” somewhat disingenuously adding “Everyone is welcome. But you don’t have to think alike to participate.”
You do not have to think alike to participate, but it sure as hell helps, in other words.
In his bill’s defense, Rep. Frank contends that there will be other adoption providers without religious objections made available to those parents who are turned away due to a religious objection. Yes, thank God indeed for the exception to the exception created by a bill to create an artificial sense of freedom.
There may be a constitutional crisis in the Texas foster care system, but creating another constitutional crisis to try and hammer a square agreement into a round hole seems to sum up the political process we have all gotten used to dealing with over the past few decades: address a problem with standard politics, and you’ll wind up with more government and less solution (if any) to the problem at hand.
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