Bethany Christian Services, the largest Christian adoption and foster care agency in the United States, has changed its longstanding policy to only place children with heterosexual married couples and will now begin serving LGBTQ couples nationwide.
According to The New York Times, Chris Palusky, the organization’s president and chief executive, announced the change in an email to the staff.
“We will now offer services with the love and compassion of Jesus to the many types of families who exist in our world today,” Palusky wrote. “We’re taking an ‘all hands on deck’ approach where all are welcome.”
Since 2007, the agency took the policy position that “God’s design for the family is a covenant and lifelong marriage of one man and one woman.” Yet in January, Bethany’s board voted to approve an inclusivity resolution, removing its previous statement and replacing it with, “Christians of mutual good faith can reasonably disagree on various doctrinal issues, about which Bethany does not maintain an organizational position.”
Although the new policy doesn’t specifically mention anything about homosexuality, Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, says Bethany’s position is clear.
“You don’t have to say we’re endorsing same-sex marriage if you abandon your convictional statement that marriage can only be the union of a man and a woman,” he said. “It’s not as if the world doesn’t understand what we’re doing, and it’s not as if Christians don’t understand what Bethany here has done. … They have taken a very clear position identified here as consistent inclusive policies. What’s gone is the position statement on a Biblical understanding of marriage. It simply disappeared.”
This is not the first time Bethany has succumbed to the pressures of the LGBTQ agenda.
In 2018, a lesbian couple attended one of Bethany’s informational sessions on foster parenting. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, the couple was told that the organizations had “never placed a child with a same-sex couple” and was referred to other agencies.
Once the incident became public, the media attention prompted the city to suspend its contracts with Bethany’s local branch, as well as Catholic Social Services (CSS), for their decision to subscribe to a Biblical view of marriage and only place children with a husband and wife.
But while CSS refused to walk away from its deeply held convictions and sued the city of Philadelphia over the contract suspension, Bethany’s Philadelphia branch opted to comply and changed its policy to allow children to be placed with same-sex couples. The city then restored its contract with Bethany.
“Bethany Christian Services surrendered even before the war had been fought,” Mohler said.
CSS’ case against Philadelphia was heard by the Supreme Court in November, and a ruling is expected by the end of June.
Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, worries that Bethany’s decision to adopt the LGBTQ-friendly policy nationwide will make it harder for CSS, and other faith-based adoption and foster care agencies, to fight for religious exemptions.
“I am disappointed in this decision, as are many,” Moore said in a statement on Monday. “The need is great for distinctively Christian adoption and foster care services, including that children need both mothers and fathers. Moreover, this move will harm already existing efforts to enable faith-based orphan care ministries to serve the vulnerable without capitulating on core Christian convictions.
“The better way to serve is to hold the line when Caesar wants to be Messiah too,” he added. “The state has no right to serve as lord over the conscience. Nonetheless, many evangelical orphan care ministries are working, and will continue to work, for vulnerable children in need of families, while still holding to the faith.”
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