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In 2021, Watch What The Supreme Court Does With Philadelphia’s Ban On Christians Parenting Foster Children

It's clear the City of Philadelphia is far more anxious to punish the free exercise of religion than to serve its most vulnerable children.

By Yaakov MenkenThe Federalist

In 2021, Watch What The Supreme Court Does With Philadelphia’s Ban On Christians Parenting Foster Children

Not just foster care providers, but religious groups of all kinds are closely following the case of Fulton v. the City of Philadelphia. Indeed, all those who care about our nation’s children should be.

While this case before the U.S. Supreme Court to be decided in 2021 directly concerns the provision of foster care, by placing hypothetical arguments about non-discrimination ahead of the religious freedoms ensconced in the First Amendment — and ahead of children’s actual needs — the broader ramifications of the case threaten to force religion further from the public sphere.

In his dissent in Obergefell v. Hodges in 2012, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote:

The majority offers a cursory assurance that it does not intend to disparage people who, as a matter of conscience, cannot accept same-sex marriage. That disclaimer is hard to square with the very next sentence, in which the majority explains that ‘the necessary consequence’ of laws codifying the traditional definition of marriage is to ‘demean or stigmatize’ same-sex couples.

Fulton v. Philadelphia demonstrates how right Roberts was to be concerned. The attorney for the city, Neal Katyal, claimed during oral arguments that a religious foster care agency, by following the prescriptions of the religion which it represents, would “stigmatize” LGBTQ individuals, especially children. Having asserted that traditional religious beliefs are bigoted and damaging, he thus argues that they must be prohibited in practice.

In particular, the city’s claim that the stigma is associated with Catholic Social Services’s provision of foster care cannot withstand even a cursory examination. Whatever feeling of harm or stigma might be involved, it would emerge from the biblical belief — which is supposed to be protected by the First Amendment — that same-sex relationships are forbidden; whether or not this teaching was applied to foster care would be essentially irrelevant. Yet the city, knowing that it can’t directly attack religion, claims that the damage occurs when a religious foster care agency conforms to those beliefs.

Taking the attack on religion a step further, Philadelphia equated religious diversity with mutual hostility: its lawyer claimed that foster care would be “balkanized” if various religious groups were each allowed to serve children in need consistent with their religious beliefs, working with supportive families seeking to partner with those agencies. Frankly, it’s quite scary to see such open hostility to free, diverse religious practice from a city government — and one could hardly seek more decisive proof that freedom of religion is, in fact, on trial in this case.

The threat here is clear, and not limited to Catholics. In Judaism, we believe it essential to raise a Jewish child to learn both our books and our observances. If applied consistently, the city’s argument would prohibit a Jewish agency from insisting upon placing a Jewish child in a Jewish home. Rather than demonstrating the First Amendment’s respect for different traditions and beliefs, Philadelphia is demanding universal conformity to state doctrine.

What is most troubling in all of this is that the city has lost sight of the ultimate goal: to serve children in need of foster care. There is a grave shortage of families willing to open their homes to foster children, and religious agencies, by working specifically within their faith communities, can expand that pool.

Plaintiff Sharonell Fulton is but one of many who are certified by Catholic Social Services and have room in their homes to care for children. The city is keeping these foster care providers on the sidelines because of CSS’s religious beliefs, offering only theoretical arguments about hypothetical harms to justify callous denial of homes to children in need.

As was clear at oral argument, no same-sex couple has been prevented from fostering or adopting by Catholic Social Services, or ever would be. Were such a couple to ever present itself to CSS, attorney Lori Windham told the court, CSS would help the couple to find one of the many other agencies that can assist them and better attend to their needs.

Based solely upon a far-fetched, theoretical claim of “stigma” that reflects hostility towards biblical beliefs, the city’s actions are therefore forcing dozens if not hundreds of actual (very non-theoretical) children to languish in group homes and institutional settings rather than being placed with loving foster parents.

The city has made its disregard for children’s actual needs quite obvious. Responding to the fact that Catholic Social Services has provided foster care to needy Philadelphia children for more than two centuries, long before the government was involved, Katyal argued that “whatever these [private] entities did before, like CSS, they never selected who cares for kids in city custody, applying state criteria.” In other words, the city claimed that whether these children are wards of the state is a more central consideration than whether they need foster care.

This is heartless, and even more fundamentally flawed. To be sure, the city has notargued that CSS provides an inferior service. It even acknowledged that CSS has been a “point of light” in the child welfare system. Yet the city also claims that closing down such an agency and preventing it from helping the more than 250 children in need of a foster home today would somehow be a net benefit for society.

So it is not merely true that Philadelphia wishes to squelch free religious practice — it is also clear that the city is far more anxious to punish the free exercise of religion than it is to serve the city’s most vulnerable children. The shocking part is that it was necessary to go all the way to the Supreme Court to ask for the obvious: that the city of Philadelphia should both respect different religious beliefs, and put the needs of children first.


Socialized Childcare: Elizabeth Warren’s Plan Means Soaring Taxes, Federal Control Over Your Kids

By EditorialInvestor's Business Daily

Socialist Goodies: Senator and presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren has yet another bright idea to fuel her White House ambitions: A sweeping plan to provide free, high-quality childcare for everyone earning less than $50,000, and subsidized childcare for the rest of us. No one would ever spend more than 7% of income for childcare. What could possibly be wrong with such a wonderful idea?

Plenty, as it turns out. It’s another in a long line of nanny-state programs put forward by the left that sound sweet at first, then sour when you realize what they really mean.

That’s definitely the case for Warren’s plan. First off, let’s begin with a fact: There is no such thing as “free.” Someone always pays. The question is “who?” and “how much?”

To pay for this “free” service, Warren would impose an “ultra-millionaire tax” on those with a net worth of more than $50 million to pay for the estimated cost of $700 billion over a decade.

But the estimate of “just” $700 billion for her program’s cost is highly deceptive. Because Warren’s cost estimates include the supposed economic benefits of childcare for families, but not the cost of less investment by those who are taxed. Costs would likely soar way above the initial estimate, leading to higher taxes for all. Not “free” at all.

‘Dishonest Accounting’

As Philip Klein of the Washington Examiner observes, “(Warren’s) proposal to extend affordable childcare to everybody relies on dishonest accounting to create the impresion that it is more fiscally sound” than it really is.

Par for the course for socialist policies, of course. It boils down to this: Promise everything, but deliver as little as possible. Watch the costs, always underestimated, grow out of control. Then blame the political opposition — or capitalism, or the “free market” — for your program’s failure.

It happens over and over again, and we all fall for it. As the shampoo commercials say, “lather, rinse and repeat.”

It happened in Britain. There, childcare subsidies for government-run centers pushed costs below the market rate. So private businesses that provided childcare couldn’t compete.

The same, no doubt, will happen here.

“In short, instead of reducing the costs of providing care through much-needed supply-side reform, this new demand-side scheme will further drive up the market price of childcare, with taxpayers on the hook now for increased use of formal care,” wrote Cato Institute’s Ryan Bourne, who holds the R. Evan Scharf Chair for the Public Understanding of Economics at the Cato Institute.

Government Takeover Of Childcare

What emerges from all this looks a lot like a government takeover of childcare, similar to what happened with healthcare and education. The cost soars, but the quality declines. And, in this case, the private companies that continued in business would become little more than appendages of a new federal childcare bureaucracy, with all the idiotic and costly rules that entails.

Parents would deliver their precious children to be guided by, as Warren’s plan would have it, “curriculum standards” and “standards similar to those that now apply to Head Start.” In other words, the federal government would be teaching your kids and instilling their values and morals. Parents lose control as the state raises their children.

Sound good to you?

As the Heritage Foundation recently noted, “The Department of Health and Human Services released the scientifically rigorous Head Start Impact Study in 2012, which tracked 5,000 3- and 4-year-old children through the end of third grade. The results? Head Start had little to no impact on the parenting practices or the cognitive, social-emotional, and health outcomes of participants. Notably, on a few measures, access to Head Start had harmful effects on participating children.”

High Costs, Dubious Benefits

Other studies of pre-school and childcare programs are equally inconclusive as to benefits. Yet the costs are enormous.

Moreover, in surveys, most parents would prefer caring for their children at home — not putting them into the hands of strangers. But Warren’s plan is specifically intended to institutionalize children in federally run institutions nearly from the time they’re born until the time they leave school.

The point is, “free” isn’t really free, and you get what you pay for. Leftists like Warren love to promise free things paid for by others, but then walk away when the quality turns out to be poor or just plain awful. This is the essence of socialist thinking, and also the way it gets voters to keep falling for socialists’ impossible promises of heaven on earth.

Role Models: Amtrak, Postal Service

If you want care for your children, the last place you should look for help is the federal government. Think of letting Amtrak or the Postal Service care for your kids, and you get the idea.

Even if you still believe federal government should involve itself in your private arrangements, a better plan would be to give vouchers to families based on need.

“Universal” preschool or childcare will not solve any problems, but it likely will cause many others, while further tearing apart American families and institutionalizing their children from an early age. A bad outcome for families, and a worse outcome for America.


George Soros and PBS vs. Art Laffer

Children Health Dental Careby Kerri Toloczko

Capitalism is good for everyone. Entrepreneurs access financial resources to create businesses. Businesses hire workers, and workers provide services to consumers. Consumer payments create profit, leading to more services,employees and entrepreneurs.

And according to one of America’s foremost economists, capitalism is even good for children’s teeth. You’d think everyone would be happy. But of course, they’re not.

Mainstream dentistry and Medicaid have habitually underserved low-income children — with painful consequences. Chronically untreated cavities can turn into painful abscesses, leading to costly Emergency Room visits and excruciating pain for a preventable problem. Poor children without dental care often suffer long-term health issues, school absences and even death. Continue reading


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