WASHINGTON--Three chairmen of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) gave their strong support for the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act of 2014, which was introduced on July 30 by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) in the U.S. Senate.
In separate letters of support, July 31, to Rep. Kelly and Sen. Enzi, Archbishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of San Francisco, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore, chairman of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, and Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski of Miami, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development said, "[O]ur first and most cherished freedom, religious liberty, is to be enjoyed by all Americans, including child welfare providers who serve the needs of our most vulnerable -- children."
Commenting on the protections in the Inclusion Act, the chairmen noted that "the Act would prohibit federal and state officials in the administration of federally funded child welfare services from excluding child welfare providers simply because of the providers' religious beliefs or moral convictions."
The chairmen stated that in some places, including Massachusetts, Illinois, California, and the District of Columbia, some religious child welfare providers have been excluded from carrying out adoption and foster care services because the providers believe that children deserve to be placed with a married mother and father.
The chairmen said, "The Inclusion Act would remedy this unjust discrimination by enabling all providers to serve the needs of parents and children in a manner consistent with the providers' religious beliefs and moral convictions."
Indicating the importance of parental choice, the chairmen remarked, "Indeed, women and men who want to place their children for adoption ought to be able to choose from a diversity of adoption agencies, including those that share the parents' religious beliefs and moral convictions."
The chairmen encouraged the colleagues of Rep. Kelly and Sen. Enzi to join as cosponsors of the Inclusion Act, saying, "The freedom to serve in accord with one's religious beliefs and moral convictions is foundational to religious liberty in our nation."
The letters of support are available online:
A backgrounder on the Inclusion Act is available at: www.usccb.org/defenseofmarriage/upload/Backgrounder-Child-Welfare-Provider-Inclusion-Act.pdf