jQuery Slider

You are here

Episcopal Church Slams SCOTUS Decision Siding with Catholic Foster Agency

Episcopal Church Slams SCOTUS Decision Siding with Catholic Foster Agency
HOD President called the action "bigotry," "discriminatory", "homophobic" and "exclusionary"

By David W. Virtue, DD
June 18, 2021

In a predictable response, the Episcopal Church's presiding bishop, Michael Curry and HOD president Gay Jennings slammed a decision by the Supreme Court which sided with a Philadelphia-based Catholic foster agency denying the right of homosexual couples to adopt children.

The 9.0 ruling devastated Episcopal church leaders who called the action by the Supreme Court "bigotry". On June 17, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Catholic Social Services in its suit against the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which ended its contract with CSS to provide foster care because CSS refused to work with same-sex couples. It violated the First Amendment, the court said.

"Scholars can debate the broader legal implications of the decision, but as a Christian, I continue to be alarmed by the bigotry that lies at the case's heart," Jennings said in a statement to Episcopal News Service. "Religious liberty is a bedrock of our country and a right cherished by Americans of many faiths. But disguising homophobia as religious freedom, as the plaintiffs in this case have done, is not only a dangerous legal precedent, it is a gross distortion of the teachings of Jesus."

Chief Justice John Roberts (a Roman Catholic) wrote, "The refusal of Philadelphia to contract with CSS for the provision of foster care services unless it agrees to certify same-sex couples as foster parents cannot survive strict scrutiny, and violates the First Amendment."

The city of Philadelphia created an issue where there wasn't one because Catholic Social Services says no same-sex couples ever asked to work with them. CSS says if that did happen, they would refer the couple to another group. Due to its biblical beliefs, the Catholic agency also does not certify unmarried couples.

The Episcopal Church reiterated its opposition to what it called "anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination" and expressed support for same-sex parents and concern about the case's implications.

For the record, both the Roman Catholic Church and millions of evangelicals of all denominational stripes supported the SCOTUS decision. So called same-sex relationships cannot be found in Scripture. Jesus, writers of the New Testament and 2,000 years of church history have affirmed that the only legitimate sexual behavior is between a man and a woman in marriage.

CSS sued the city, arguing that the city's termination of the contract violated CSS's First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. After two lower courts upheld the city's right to terminate the contract, the Supreme Court reversed those rulings, with all nine justices in agreement.

"CSS seeks only an accommodation that will allow it to continue serving the children of Philadelphia in a manner consistent with its religious beliefs; it does not seek to impose those beliefs on anyone else."

Curry cited Scripture saying; "It is important to remember that the New Testament teaches that 'religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress. . .' (James 1:27)."

However, Scripture nowhere affirms that such "care" should be in the hands of sexually dysfunctional and aberrational couples.

Predictably, Pennsylvania Bishop Daniel Gutierrez, whose diocese includes Philadelphia, said the focus should be on finding loving homes for foster children, not on excluding potential foster parents. "There should never be conditions for those willing to open their hearts and homes to a child in need," Gutierrez said in a statement to ENS.

The Christian Alliance for Orphans also applauded the ruling. "This Fulton ruling means that people of diverse convictions can still serve side by side for the good of vulnerable children in our communities," said President Jedd Medefind in a statement. "Even in very difficult issues, we can find solutions that work for all. That means more welcoming homes for the 400,000+ children in foster care."

The Christian Alliance for Orphans is a coalition of 190 Christian organizations and over 650 churches, helping Christians to live out the Bible's call to care for orphans and vulnerable children.

"Its nine for nein from SCOTUS," noted one blogger.


Get a bi-weekly summary of Anglican news from around the world.
comments powered by Disqus
Trinity School for Ministry
Go To Top