One of the most foundational values in any society is the concept that the government should not interfere with the religious liberties of its citizens. This stems from the understanding that once granted such power, the government could wield it to favor specific groups at the expense of others. This principle protects citizens against the potential manipulation of religious beliefs for political or ideological gain.
Yet, it is all too common to find the government discriminating against religious individuals.
For example, take the story of Mike and Kitty Burke, a devout Catholic couple from Massachusetts. Their dream of adopting a child and providing a loving home was snatched from them at the last moment by the government who refused to certify their application.
In their journey towards parenthood, the Burkes dedicated months to navigating the complex process of becoming foster parents, with aspirations of eventually adopting a child who was in dire need of a stable family environment.
Currently, Massachusetts has over 8,000 children under its care, while over 1,000 of them currently do not have an identified family who would be willing to adopt them. And as the saying goes, “Whoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe” – every child matters.
The Burke’s qualifications and commitment were without question – both possessed impressive credentials, Mike having served as an Iraq war veteran and Kitty having spent her time helping children with special needs. Their involvement extended beyond their family, as they contributed actively to their community and church.
However, despite their strong credentials and sincere intentions, the Burke family was deemed eligible to adopt by the state of Massachusetts because of their deeply-held Christian beliefs surrounding marriage, sexuality, and gender. The troubling verdict they received boiled down to a stark reality – their religious convictions made them unfit to be foster parents in the eyes of the state.
It is essential to recognize that this issue is not about protecting Christianity; it is about safeguarding individuals from government-sponsored discrimination based on their personal or religious convictions – whatever faith they follow.
When it comes to taking care of kids who need homes, the government should make sure they go to good families. Mike and Kitty could have been one of those families, but their religious beliefs got in the way. When religion becomes the main reason someone is stopped from doing something important like being a parent, that’s discrimination based on religion.
Mike and Kitty Burke’s story reminds us that religious freedom isn’t just about one religion. It’s a big idea that helps keep a society fair and equal. It’s a reminder that the government should respect personal beliefs and not stand in the way of people who want to do good things, no matter what they believe.