Brainwashing foster children into Christianity


My attention was caught by this news item from Akela Lacey about how the state of South Carolina is seeking to discriminate against foster parents who are not Christian.

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION is considering whether to grant a South Carolina request that would effectively allow faith-based foster care agencies in the state the ability to deny Jewish parents from fostering children in its network. The argument, from the state and from the agency, is that the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act should not force a Protestant group to work with Jewish people if it violates a tenet of their faith.

If granted, the exemption would allow Miracle Hill Ministries, a Protestant social service agency working in the state’s northwest region, to continue receiving federal dollars while “recruiting Christian foster families,” which it has been doing since 1988, according to its website. That discrimination would apply not just to Jewish parents, but also to parents who are Muslim, Catholic, Unitarian, atheist, agnostic or other some other non-Protestant Christian denomination.


Beth Lesser, a Jewish parent who was turned away by Miracle Hill, describes what this organization does.

Originally from New Jersey, she and her husband lived in Florida before moving to South Carolina for 18 years. They’ve fostered and mentored other children through various agencies, and have since returned to Florida.

“What Miracle Hill does, is they scoop up these kids from foster care, and they have these group homes. And then once they get the kids in there, their whole objective is to indoctrinate them into their brand of Christianity,” Lesser said.

On top of that, [another Jewish mother Lydia] Currie said, the agency “practices coercive Protestant Christianity.”

“Many, many children who have absolutely no religious affiliation, or have a religious affiliation other than Christianity, are placed by the Department of Social Services with Miracle Hill,” Currie said. That means, Currie said, “effectively mandatory Sunday school, mandatory after school Bible study. Mandatory prayer. Including teenagers, including children for whom this is terrifyingly inappropriate.”

Can you imagine if a Muslim foster organization dared to do the same thing?

But Christian organizations can do almost anything.

Comments

  1. Jean says

    I always wonder if the US would be better or worse in such cases without the first amendment. Especially when looking at the rest of the western world where having a secular government and public policies don’t seem to be as much of an issue. Or maybe I’m naive and conflating what I see here (Canada) with the rest of the western world.

  2. Matt G says

    The GOP routinely does things to alienate all kinds of demographic groups, and here is yet another example: Jews, Catholics and the non-religious. How do they keep winning elections?? How do people from these groups rationalize supporting them? Is it just identity politics? Yes, I know they hate my group, but they hate other groups more? Am I being too cynical?

    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up.” -Lily Tomlin

  3. John Morales says

    Can brainwash some children, but not all. And not permanently, for those who do succumb.

    Anecdotally, I know that when I was a child, there were others who also went along with the LARPing that acceptance requires — that is, publicly. I don’t think that was a tiny proportion, either

    (So, if there otherwise is nurturing, caring and looking after those kids, then the indoctrination might well be better than the alternative of a life mired in poverty and neglect. Priorities!)

  4. John Morales says

    Also, this part of the quotation from the OP bothered me (my emphasis):

    “Many, many children who have absolutely no religious affiliation, or have a religious affiliation other than Christianity […]

    Is it not bleedingly obvious that children with a “religious affiliation” to an established religion must have been indoctrinated into it?

    (This respect for existing indoctrination reeks of hypocrisy)

  5. John Morales says

    [Or: you can’t both be respectful of religion and condemn it, lest you be called a hypocryte]

  6. lanir says

    @John Morales:
    A counter example -- If a child comes to you with a broken arm and you can’t do anything to undo that or get justice for them, can you then break the other arm just because you feel like it?

    This may not look like it’s equivalent but it is. You seem to have just run ahead with some assumptions, such as continued indoctrination in a different religion being the only other possibility and/or ignored that some indoctrinations into religion are more severe and harmful than others.

  7. John Morales says

    lanir, it may seem so to you, but no. The parenthetical is most explicit, I thought.

    (Also, did you even read my #5? I have nothing but contempt for religion.)

    Anyway. To your stupid objection.

    A counter example — If a child comes to you with a broken arm and you can’t do anything to undo that or get justice for them, can you then break the other arm just because you feel like it?

    First of all, I gave no example, so there cannot be a counter-example to my non-example.
    So.
    Why would I even try to undo that? It’s done. What I would do is call for help, I’m no medic.
    And to what justice do you refer? I broke my arm as a child, jumping off a swing. There’s no justice to be had there, I did it to my fucking self. What, I should have got punishment on top of my injury?
    And yes, I suppose I could then (attempt to) break the other arm of this child who came to me (as if!) just because I felt like it, but why the fuck would I even think of something so monstrous? I am not a sadist, and furthermore, there would likely be consequences which I would not wish to face.

  8. Curt Sampson says

    John Morales @4:

    (So, if there otherwise is nurturing, caring and looking after those kids, then the indoctrination might well be better than the alternative of a life mired in poverty and neglect. Priorities!)

    In this light, then, we should not be turning children over to agencies that deliberiately reduce the number of potential foster parents by refusing to place with parents of certain religions.

    Further, depending on the level of religious indoctrination that the “Christian” families are engaging in, there could well be serious neglect there. By the late teens, poor education is very hard to overcome and tends to lead to poor life outcomes. But that needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, of course; there’s no general rule that “Christians” are going to be particular worse on this front.

  9. jrkrideau says

    I was raised in a Catholic family. I still have a problem thinking that Protestants are Christians.

    Heretics and heathens sure.

  10. John Morales says

    Curt:

    In this light, then, we should not be turning children over to agencies that deliberiately reduce the number of potential foster parents by refusing to place with parents of certain religions.

    No. I wrote ‘might’, not ‘would’. There is no “should”.

    Further, depending on [blah]

    But that needs to be looked at on a case-by-case basis, of course; there’s no general rule that “Christians” are going to be particular worse on this front.

    There we are in concordance.

    That’s not a furthermore, it’s intrinsic to the initial evaluation.

  11. Pierce R. Butler says

    Americans United for Separation of Church and State has a federal court case now underway challenging Miracle Hill Ministries’ refusal to work with a prospective Catholic foster-care mother on the grounds she’s not the right kind of Christian.

    It seems the South Carolina state government and the Trump maladministration have eagerly lined up behind Miracle Hill.