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Competing agendas in adoption legislation hurting children

You would think that in the name of helping children we could have a cease fire in the culture wars. But not in Georgia. Right now, our Legislature is considering changing adoption laws in the state. Several senators have added an amendment that would allow Christian adoption agencies to continue honoring their faith commitments while still helping place the state’s children in loving homes.

But gay rights activists have decided that is discriminatory. Christian adoption agencies must either give up their values or get out of the adoption business. Gov. Deal and the Republican leaders in the Senate have come down on the side of the gay agenda.

This is where we should be able to compromise. Children’s lives are at stake. There is no dispute that Christian adoption agencies do a very good job in the state. There is also no dispute that there are other good adoption agencies in the state that couldn’t care less about single parent adoption, same-sex parent adoption, or traditional parent adoption.

Georgia should be taking an all-are-welcome approach, but has decided to be exclusionary and make the exclusion work against faith-based organizations. What gay rights groups and Gov. Deal want is a law that denies faith-based adoption agencies the ability to receive state funds or help state foster children. If faith-based adoption agencies want to participate, they will have to give up their moral values and tenets of their faith.

The result is a number of faith-based agencies will have to get out of the field, leaving a void where once they were willing to pair children and new parents. This seems absurd. I do understand the gay rights groups’ concerns that Christian groups, particular groups like Catholic Charities, will not allow an adoption of a child into a same-sex household.

But what the argument amounts to is that government should discriminate against Christians because Christians want to honor their values. Instead, the appropriate solution should be for the government to welcome both Christian and secular adoption agencies and let each oversee adoptions as they see fit. There is no dispute that both do a good job.

Unfortunately, children are victims here. The state foster network is overwhelmed and underfunded. Christian organizations are willing to step up and help out, but not at the expense of their faith. Gay rights groups that could support a system that welcomes all comers are refusing to allow Christian participation unless the Christians become less Christian. That will not happen.

Really, this whole debate is over who will be discriminated against. Everyone discriminates. I have a gay co-worker who refuses to eat at Chick-Fil-A because he considers it a bigoted organization. I have a Christian co-worker who refuses to shop at Target because of its transgender bathroom policy.

The government should not take a position either way. The government should be willing to work with the faith-based organization that does not want to surrender its values and work with the secular organization that has no values. Instead, gay rights groups are demanding government discriminate against people of faith.

The original colonists to our nation were religious dissidents. Our First Amendment enshrines a freedom of religion. Our nation is supposed to value religious diversity. But secular advocacy groups have insisted “freedom of religion” really means “freedom from religion” and sadly Gov. Deal is going along with them.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta.