Gay Rights and Adoption

“Anyone who stands between a hungry kid and home with food is doing something immoral. Anyone who stands between a child who is not safe and safe home is wrong. And if you think that heterosexual parents make better adoptive homes, and want to make a big deal about it, you had better have at least one adopted, high need kid if you want me to give a hoot what you think. I realize that’s a much more visceral than rational response, and probably a little unfair. But as I’m sitting in my Moms’ living room, cooking for tomorrow, when 28 of our family – my sisters and their husbands and kids, my aunt and her adopted daughter and her elderly mother, two former foster kids and their kids, my aunt and uncle (on step-Mom’s side) and their kids are coming together, I find I simply can’t come up with anything else to say.”

– Sharon Astyk, a commenter at Rod Dreher’s blog, Crunchy Con, who was raised by two moms. Read her entire comment here.

There is a great deal of grandstanding by conservatives on issues such as gay equality and the rights of the unborn yet there are so many unwanted kids left to fend for themselves in a nation of staggering over-abundance. In the abstract, these arguments succeed at unifying the true believers but all the while the day-to-day lives of the forgotten trudge on. The reason conservatives are slowly but surely losing in these kinds of debates is evident in stories like the one above. These stories expose in plain site that the only value that keeps the conservative flame flickering is their own dogmatism, their own greedy hunger to be “right.” If their concern was for the children themselves, they’d most likely be too busy raising them to give a shit what others think.

(HT: Andrew Sullivan)

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9 thoughts on “Gay Rights and Adoption

  1. I agree. But it’s wrong to be too simplistic about this: a similar argument works the other way around.

    In the UK, it is now illegal to discriminate in the provision of services against anyone on grounds of sexual orientation. When this law was being discussed, the Catholic Church pointed out that its acceptance would mean they would have to give up on running adoption services, since they could not in good conscience place a child with gay parents. This is what has happened.

    The Catholic adoption agencies tended to specialize in placing the high-need kids that other agencies found it difficult to find homes for. And one may assume that few gay couples would have approached a Catholic agency for help. So, for the sake of some entirely unnecessary rights-fundamentalism, those children are losing out.

    I disagree with the Catholics on this: but am more angry that for the sake of their opponents’ dogma some really needy young people were made to suffer.

  2. I think Andrew has a great point. We see it in all kinds of things. I’m not sure that the issue is really homosexuality or even right vs. left. I think the real issue is “right” vs. good. Anytime we’re more concerned about being right than being loving we’re going to fall into this trap and people are going to suffer because of it. Why do we always feel we have to be so right and so determined to prove/convince everyone else of it? Agree or not I can understand both the Catholic Church’s stance as well as the UK government. But, neither were willing to be wrong to the point of doing the most loving thing. At the same time, I tend to have the same problem on occasion as well as plenty of others, but hopefully I’m growing.

  3. I guess I’m less impressed with Andrew’s point. What if a heterosexual couple in the UK were in their second marriage and wanted to adopt a child from a Catholic adoption agency? Would they be denied on religious grounds?

    “I disagree with the Catholics on this: but am more angry that for the sake of their opponents’ dogma some really needy young people were made to suffer.”

    But who are the “opponents”? Homosexuals? The democratically elected officials in the UK? Is it considered dogma for a government to carry out the will of its citizens? That’s a very troubling redefinition of the word “dogma” when it’s attached to the values that the majority of a given society share. It’s like equating dogma to one’s support for public transportation. And to make the moral equivalence between this bit of public policy and the position of the Catholic church makes it hard for me to really take this critique seriously.

  4. I don’t know the full details of the (former) Catholic Adoption Agencies’ policies – but I hadn’t heard anyone raise the remarried issue. Indeed, they were happy to place children with single parents (gay or straight) apparently, which makes it harder for me to understand their particular concern with gay couples.

    Is “dogma” the right word? Maybe not. I am speaking of making a theoretical notion of rights more important than its practical effect. People rightly condemn those who preach love but whose practise is anything but loving. Surely the same applies to those whose concern with human rights actually works, in practice, against human dignity – and moreso, against compassion and against the greater good.

    The role of a democratic government is to balance the will of the majority with the frailty of the rest – otherwise we are ruled by a mob. I wouldn’t presume to guess where the majority of public opinion sits on this issue, but in most matters of conscience, we manage to reach an accommodation, in order to live together as a society. A few things we judge so abhorrent that we will not accept those with whom we disagree – but that is necessarily a small collection of things, and it’s generally based on trying to prevent bad outcomes, not on more abstract concerns.

    Is the idea that somebody somewhere might be harbouring discriminatory thoughts in their heart so disgusting that intervening against it is more important than getting a child adopted into a loving home?

  5. Zach, I see your point. And I really don’t like the use of the word “opponents'” as well as “unnecessary rights-fundamentalism” as you said, it’s quite a batch of strong language that is somewhat vague. However I do like the fact that he brings in thoughts from a different angle, and I think he has a good point in not being too simplistic in regards to this issue because of the potential ramifications. I don’t have the knowledge and insight to comment on the specific scenario about which Andrew is speaking, so I can only speak in broad terms out of my experiences with other fields.

    I’m not convinced that all decisions/legislation (be it political, religious, etc.) is always the will of the people – again that’s not a comment on Andrew’s scenario. Also, there are dogmatic beliefs lying underneath most anything that happens in any form of government be it from the right or left and that’s the spirit in which I read his comments.

    You may completely on target with your concerns especially with regard to dogma and the will of the citizens and I appreciate you bringing it up because I didn’t initially read it that way.

  6. I have done a lot of thinking on this issue. I am a born-again Xtian who takes the bible Sola Scriptura however I have looked at everything from the RCC to Orthodox…come back to the bible only again but an more open mind (for one, I don’t try to “convert” anyone who professes belief in Jesus anymore). I still stay close-minded on one issue: I think Homosexuality is a sin because that is how I see certain verses being interpeted from the bible.

    With that said…adoption of a child with two committed adults means that they should have all the rights that parents should have, hence marriage. And thus if you permit two adults to adopt a child, you should be giving them all legal rights & protections for that.

    I have a friend who is married her wife recently. I could not go to the wedding in my own belief that this would be condoning homosexuality. However I love both parties…they are both wonderful, sweet, kind women. That have adopted a little child who was born addicted to crack. He is thriving and wonderfully cared for.

    I still voted for Propostion 8. I spent many sleepness nights. I felt rejected when I went to one of their parties (my lesbian married friends) and cried out in my car. Any time I discuss this with anyone, how I feel torn I am either branded hateful (by the more Liberal) or worse, told to just get over it (by those more Conservative). I could never talk about it much after that.

    Which is why your blog struck a chord in me. I am trying to reconcile supporting freedom for all with my faith in God and being obediant to Him, the One who matters in my life. It is a hard thing and I am afraid at the next gay marriage amendment voting time, I will just let the ballot pass me by. I simply can’t stand in both worlds, I must make a stand but I can’t stand myself either way.

    All the gays I see adopting kidlets around me are doing a great job parenting. They are the ones taking on the children with problems. They have a lot of love in their hearts. And I see a lot of conservatives lashing out without any care of the world…forsaking those on the outside. An us against them mentality.

    Sorry to ramble. I have no answers, probably no coherent statements but just trying to figure this whole thing out.

    • dash,

      i guess your conflicted because your interpretation of the NT doesn’t always line up with your experience of same-sex couples. i wonder if you have the same hang-ups about couples who’ve been divorced and remarried? or inter-racial couples? both of those scenarios are biblically questionable yet many conservative on this gay issue seem to have their own floating standards to what is and isn’t acceptable, apart from what scripture says. there are lots of items in scripture that we dismiss based on our own intuition. for instance, no one really believes they must abandon their own family in order to follow Jesus, yet that’s exactly what Jesus says.

  7. Remarriage is a deep question too with a lot of reading. The debate is huge. I am sorry but I just can’t seem to find anything that bans different races from marrying…only women worshipping foreign gods from marrying Xtian guys Ezra 10 (actually being told to divorce!).

    I grew up in a place with there are a lot of gays and still live there – just an hour south of SF. It is not like I want to believe gay behavior is a sin. It is actually the verses in the bible I can not just slide past to appease those around me.

    OT is God’s law and all the ways we human fail to live up to it.
    NT is God’s grace, Jesus new testament.

    Reconciling that does not mean something is not a sin because I love the person to me.

    It also does not mean however that gay people are anymore sinful than straight. We all fall short and we are all in need of redemption.

    Labeling people is the natural way of us against them mentality. I don’t believe all conservatives have a floating standard just as I don’t believe all Liberals think that the bible is just a good set of stories that are useful but not God-breathed.

    Thanks for responding. I think I will just keep standing in my question.

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