I was listening to a podcast from PBS from the public affairs show NOW. The podcast in question was dated Friday April7, 2006. Here is the link to the podcast feed: http://www.pbs.org/now/podcast.xml
Just paste the link into your favorite pocasting software. I'm partial to iPodder, but yinz who are addicted to iTunes, can use that if you're into it. Look for the podcast dated for Friday, the 7th of April and download it.
Anyhoo, the subject of this blog entry comes from the first segment of that podcast which dealt with gay adoption and the battle that is raging all over the country over whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to adopt children. First of all, let me set the room straight. I am not gay, I am a Christian, however, I consider myself to be more progressive (read liberal) in terms of the church's views on social justice, and those areas that are not specifically spoken about either in the Bible of the church's creeds. On the core Christian doctrines, however, I am fairly conservative. Matter of fact despite my Episcopalian affiliation, I do believe in the spritual gifts, and also pray and speak in tongues. However I do not have any problem with gays and lesbians being ordained as priests or even celebrating the blessing of same sex couples, although, I will stop shy of calling such unions marriages. I have gay friends, I may even be working with gay or lesbian co-workers, such have not come out to me, although if they did, as long as they don't have the desire to tell me about their sex life, or how what they and their partner do to get their rocks off, we'll get along wonderfully.
Back to the story, the main premise of the fight comes down to this: The 'Family Values/Traditional Values/Adam and Eve, Not Adam and Steve' right-wing conservative community claims that children who are adopted by gays and lesbians, may possibly turn out gay, get molested by their parents, suffer emotional and spiritual distress, and so on. Advocates for gay adoption claim that these children would suffer no less harm than if they were in a family with a mom and a dad, and that gay and lesbian couples are just as capable of raising a child with the same kind of love and nuturing, as heterosexual couples. The NOW story starts with a description of a webpage put up by the Florida's version of a Child Welfare Bureau. This webpage shows hundreds of kids in the system waiting to get adopted. Many of them are teens. Many of these kids have special needs or were abused by their biological or foster parents. Some of these kids were bounced from foster home to foster home like ping pong balls. Black, White, Hispanic. All kids looking for someone, anyone to step up and give them something to hold on to that won't blow away.
Depending on the state, Gays and Lesbians have varying legal rights regarding adoption of children. All states allow single GLBT persons to adopt. Some are more unclear about joint adoption, and the concept of second-parent adoption where you have one parent who has legal custody and the second parent petitions for joint custody, is also pretty spotty with some states allowing it state-wide, and others only allowing in certain locales. Only one state in the union, Florida, has seen it fit to forbid adoption of all types by GLBT people. And this is where I start to get pissed, even enough to blog about it.
I have to take my conservative Christian bretheren and sistren to task about their narrow-minded view regarding gay adoption. In any state of this country, there are thousands of kids who for whatever reason end up being removed from their biological parents and placed with foster parents. It happens in drug- infested inner city ghettos, and gated suburban subdivisions. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hundus, atheists, and agnostics put their kids up for adoptions. The only crime these kids committed was to be born to parents who didn't want them, couldn't deal with them, or used them to satisfy their sick perversions. I think that finding a place for these kids to grow up and have some sense, any sense of normalcy is much more important than what their parents do behind closed doors. The Right says, that these kids may end up becoming gay if they were adopted by GLBT parents. And kids who grow up in straight laced Christian homes don't end up gay, or abused, or molested? It can happen. We still are trying to figure out whether being gay is something you're born with, or something that is learned. I'll be the first to say that I truly don't know. But as long as the adoption agencies hold the GLBT couple accountable to the same standards that heterosexual couples are held to when going through the screening process, what difference does it make. I don't think it is right to put unecessary obstacles in front of a couple, whatever their stripe, who truly demonstrates that they are capable of raising a child. And also, wasn't it the same Jesus Christ that the Religious Right love to claim to be a disciple of, but don't always follow His teachings, that said in the Gospel of Matthew 19:14 "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (NIV). What about this passege from Mark 9:37 "Whoever welcomes one of these children in my name, welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me, but the one who sent me" (NIV) Folks, Jesus Christ had a special place in his heart for children. He didn't desire that one child should be hurt. As Christians, we are called to love children, and to insure their welfare. We can go a long way towards fulfilling that commandment by making sure that ANYONE who adopts a child, whether straight or gay, is subjected to a rigorous screening process that respects the person's sexuality, while examining their character, and their ability to provide. A lot of GLBT couples are willing to take on kids that the folks from the Right would hesitate to adopt. Kids who have special needs, kids who come from minority groups, kids who were abused or molested. The hard cases that try a parent's spirit and sanity.
For once, I'd like to see you folks on the right put you convictions where your mouths are, stop waving the Bible around, and step up to take some of these kids off the adoption rolls. And not just the cute blond haired, blue-eyed white babies either. How much do you love God? How much do you really want to fulfill His Commandments? How much faith 'ya got? C'mon, think outside of the box a little. Be the talk of the cul-de sac. Take up the challenge.