Texas Senate Passes Bill Protecting Operating Values of Faith-Based Foster, Adoption Agencies

Photo Credit: Arturo Garro

AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate has passed a bill allowing faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to operate in accordance with their religion without punishment. The measure now moves to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott for signing.

“I am obviously very excited about it passing the Senate, and I fully expect … that Governor Abbott will sign it and it will be law,” bill author Rep. James Frank, R-Wichita Falls, told reporters. “[W]e’ll have, I hope, more people serving and free to serve children in the state of Texas.”

As previously reportedHouse Bill 3859, also known as the “Freedom to Serve Children Act,” prohibits the government from punishing any private child welfare organization that makes placement decisions in alignment with its faith-based operating values.

“A governmental entity or any person that contracts with this state or operates under governmental authority to refer or place children for child welfare services may not discriminate or take any adverse action against a child welfare services provider on the basis, wholly or partly, that the provider has declined or will decline to provide, facilitate, or refer a person for child welfare services that conflict with, or under circumstances that conflict with, the provider ’s sincerely held religious beliefs,” the bill reads in part.

It also provides protections for agencies who intend to enroll children in religious educational institutions, as well as those who decline to provide referrals for abortion or contraceptives.

While the bill doesn’t mention specifics, some have decried the measure after construing it to mean that Christian adoption agencies may choose married couples over unmarried, Christian couples over non-Christian and heterosexuals over homosexuals.

The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement on Sunday blasting the bill as being bigoted and not considering the best interest of children.

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“HB 3859 is a dangerous, discriminatory bill that shows the type of overarching anti-LGBTQ animus that is coloring so much of the Texas legislature this session,” said National Field Director Marty Rouse.

“This ‘Slate of Hate’ that the Texas legislature has made a priority harms LGBTQ Texans. It is unconscionable that a bill would prioritize discrimination over the best interest of kids in the child welfare system, but Texas lawmakers have done just that,” he remarked.

However, others state that the bill does not prevent children from being adopted, but simply allows any private organization to have free exercise of religion without fear of punishment.

“This is really to give quick, clear certainty to providers so they can take care of children instead of fighting lawsuits,” Frank explained. “We want to make reasonable accommodations so everyone can participate in the system. Everyone is welcome, but you don’t have to think alike to participate.”

“My guess is if you have an LGBT agency they’re going to pick an LGBT family, and if you have a Baptist agency they may be more likely to pick a Baptist family,” he also noted. “They’re free to do that and should be free to do that.”

The measure passed the House earlier this month.

Faith-based adoption agencies in the state include Christian Homes & Family Services, Generations Adoptions, Buckner International, ChristianWorks for Children, and Arrow Child & Family Ministries.

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  • yabruf

    “My guess is if you have an LGBT agency they’re going to pick an LGBT family,…..”

    Our society is so sad. Go back a few decades and homosexuals were arrested as felons. Go back a few hundred years and the perverts were put to death.
    Today we are letting them have children!
    What a sick and depraved society that would hand children over to pedophiles in the name of equality.

    • TheLastHonestLawyer

      It’s called progress. Go back a few decades, and Christians in Texas were killing African-Americans for the crime of trying to vote. Go back two centuries and Texas Christians were keeping black people as salves.

      And the churches found Biblical support for all of this.

      • yabruf

        Progress is just the forward or onward movement toward a destination. Hitler made progress in Germany. Stalin made progress in the USSR. The perverts are making progress here in the US.

        Your use of the word progress, with regards to the well being of children, is actually a bad thing. Progressing toward a depraved society isn’t something that we should strive for….lol

        Blacks being persecuted and killed because of the color of their skin has nothing to do with perverts adopting children.
        Blacks being brought to the U.S. like animals in chains has nothing to do with pedophiles adopting children.

        Christians in Texas helped free the slaves and some gave their lives to do it.

        Don’t be so naive. I can walk into most churches today that call themselves Christian and claim to teach God’s word when they clearly don’t.

        Two centuries ago popular culture approved of and promoted slavery in Texas and Christian’s were opposing it.
        Today popular culture has approved of and is promoting perverts adopting children and Christian’s are opposing it.

        • TheLastHonestLawyer

          No, I’m not allowing revisionist history. Christians in the Americas, including Texas, fought to keep chattel slavery alive. The reason for the creation of the Republic of Texas was Mexico had outlawed slavery. Then 20 years later, they joined the Confederacy to preserve slavery.

          It was a Christian institution, and churches used the Bible to justify the horrors of slavery.

          As for “perverts,” please keep your bigotry to yourself. I live in a nation where everyone enjoys equal protection under the law.

          • Slavery was not a Christian institution. You do not know of that which you speak.

          • TheLastHonestLawyer

            You really can not be this ignorant. The Bible is filled with rules on slavery, and never says it is wrong. The American colonies, later the United States, were the primary recipient of the African slave trade. Those colonies were overwhelmingly Christian. The Southern Baptist Convention was formed, in part, over a disagreement over slavery.

            Look at the founding documents of the Confederacy. Each and every state pointed out the right to keep slaves. Are you now actually going to say that the 5.5 million people living in the Confederacy weren’t Christians?

            I’m sorry, but you have to face facts. Slavery was an accepted part of life until the Enlightenment began changing attitudes. Large scale slavery began dying off in the 18th century, and was largely done away with in the 19th century. Some religious groups led the charge to emancipate slaves, while others defended it.

            To this day there are some Christians who use the Bible to defend racism. Face the facts. Unless you are claiming that no one in any slave-owning society was actually Christian, in which case your religion has only existed for a few decades.

            1 Timothy 6:1-2 (NASB): “All who are under the yoke as slaves are to regard their own masters as worthy of all honor so that the name of God and our doctrine will not be spoken against. Those who have believers as their masters must not be disrespectful to them because they are brethren, but must serve them all the more, because those who partake of the benefit are believers and beloved. Teach and preach these principles.”

            Are you now going to say that the New Testament isn’t Christian?

          • The slavery in the Bible was for God’s judgement against those whom He had issues with and for the repayment of a debt. PERIOD. That has nothing to do with the slavery that this country and other countries have been guilty of to this present day.

            Before you go off explaining God and His Holy Word to others it would behoove you to actually know what you are talking about.

          • Chris

            “The slavery in the Bible was for God’s judgement against those whom He had issues with and for the repayment of a debt. PERIOD.”

            You’re twisting scripture PERIOD! Unless you believe that neighboring nations were full of people that God had problems with. Why? Because scripture says that the Jews could buy their slaves from the nations about them.

            Additionally foreign slaves were held for life. Why do you distort scripture like this?

            “Before you go off explaining God and His Holy Word to others it would behoove you to actually know what you are talking about.”

            Maybe you should take your own advice and NOT go to fundie apologist websites who are peddling their own lies but go to the actual verses in the bible.

          • Twist it all you want but what I said is the truth and the truth is without compromise.

          • Chris

            I haven’t twisted a single thing and you haven’t explained ANY of the verses I provided. As I stated previous – you are distorting scripture. PERIOD!

          • As I previously said, those scriptures you mentioned are examples of God giving a judgement against those particular people.

          • Chris

            Now all you need to do is show that the ‘foreigners among you’ and ‘the nations round about you’ were under God’s judgement too.

            And since we are all under God’s judgement then it must be ok to buy and sell anyone.

            What’s the difference between you and a defender of slavery again?


            Believe in God and His Holy Word or do not believe. The choice is yours.

          • Chris

            Sorry but your ego is NOT God. And you haven’t shown me anything because you can’t. You’re wrong but your ego won’t let you admit it. Give up the ego worship. The choice is yours.

          • Chris

            Let’s do what Mr. Bristow has obviously never done. Let’s look at the subject logically.

            What is a slave? Dictionary dot com defines a slave as ‘a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another.’

            Ok now what does the bible say about slavery?
            21: 1-6 talks about buying a HEBREW male. The HEBREW male has to be
            freed after six years of slavery. That’s good right? Well not exactly.
            Remember that this only applies to MALE HEBREWS. If the guy has
            fathered a child with a slave woman while he’s a slave then he has to
            abandon his wife and child. Could a loving father really abandon his
            wife and child? But the only way to stay with them is to claim that he
            loves his master and the slave’s ear is to be pierced by an awl, at
            which point he becomes a slave for the rest of his life.

            How about HEBREW women? Exodus 21: 7-8
            if a man sell his daughter to be a maidservant, she shall not go out as
            the menservants do. If she please not her master, who hath betrothed
            her to himself, then shall he let her be redeemed: to sell her unto a
            strange nation he shall have no power, seeing he hath dealt deceitfully
            with her.”

            How about the laws governing slaves? How were they to be treated?

            the owner could beat him to the point where the slave died. As long as
            the slave died a day or two later. Exodus 21: 20-21

            While it
            goes on later to say that a slave had to be freed if his eye or tooth
            was lost in the beating [exodus 21: 26-27 there are lots of ways to beat
            someone which wouldn’t risk the victim losing a tooth or an eye.

            precise aren’t they? But here’s something else to consider – they only
            apply to JEWISH SLAVES. So where did the non-Jewish slaves come from?
            Were they kept for only six years too? No!
            In Leviticus 25: 44-46 we read:
            thy bondmen, and thy bondmaids, which thou shalt have, shall be of the
            heathen that are round about you; of them shall ye buy bondmen and

            45 Moreover of the children of the strangers that do
            sojourn among you, of them shall ye buy, and of their families that are
            with you, which they begat in your land: and they shall be your

            46 And ye shall take them as an inheritance for your
            children after you, to inherit them for a possession; they shall be your
            bondmen for ever: but over your brethren the children of Israel, ye
            shall not rule one over another with rigour.

            So slaves could be
            bought from the nations around Israel and even from foreigners in Israel
            and they could be kept for life. They could even be left to the
            children of the original owner. Slaves could even be beaten to death.
            That seems pretty clear that these people are slaves. Now a clear
            distinction is made between how Jewish slaves are treated and how
            foreign slaves are treated. Many of the Jewish slaves may well have
            been debt slaves but certainly not all of them. And you didn’t even
            need that weak excuse to own foreign slaves.

            So is owning a slave
            morally right or wrong? And if it’s wrong how do you square your
            conviction with the bible? I leave it to the reader to decide. But
            let’s not play any silly fundie games and deliberately confuse foreign
            slaves with Jewish ones, or say they were really indentured servants, or
            keep on saying but it wasn’t like the slavery of the deep south, when I
            haven’t mentioned that.

          • Chris

            Go to youtube and watch a video entitled ‘Slavery in the Bible’ on 43alley’s channel. Then you can come back and we’ll talk.

          • Go read God’s Holy Word aka The Bible then you can come back and we’ll talk.

          • Chris

            I’m not the one who hasn’t read the bible. You haven’t even checked the scripture verses I provided did you? All you’ve done is made assumptions, and run from the truth.

            Let’s make it easy on you. Is slavery wrong? Yes or no.

          • Not the way that God approved of in the Bible.

          • Chris

            So since God in the bible is portrayed as being ok with owning a slave for life, and beating a slave almost to death then you’ve got no problems with that.

            So what’s the difference between you and an apologist for slavery?

        • Parodyx

          How is letting two people whom you don’t know and who do not affect your life in any way get married something that needs to be stamped out at all costs? That is intolerance on a grand scale.

      • Becky

        Rubbish. Anyone can claim Christianity, but that alone doesn’t make it so. A Christian is someone who follows the word of God, Christ. Nowhere is it written within the bible that God commanded his people to keep “African-Americans” from voting. Nowhere is it written that God commanded that his people keep “black people” as slaves. Clearly, they weren’t Christians else they would have followed the word of God, alone.

        • Chris

          “Rubbish. Anyone can claim Christianity, but that alone doesn’t make it so.”

          You mean like you?

          “A Christian is someone who follows the word of God, Christ.”

          Well then the slave holders must have been Christians then.

          “Nowhere is it written that God commanded that his people keep “black people” as slaves.”

          It does talk about keeping slaves though. Not only in the old but the new testament as well.

        • Chris

          Go to youtube and watch a video entitled ‘Slavery in the Bible’ on 43alley’s channel. Then you can come back and we’ll talk.

    • Colin Rafferty

      Please explain why you think homosexuals should be arrested as felons. Why do you think that two consenting adults having sex in private ought to be put in jail?

    • Michael C

      Yes. As you’ve said before, you believe that gay people should all be executed. As you told me directly, “Your [sic] a sodomite, ok then yeah you need to be put down.”

      I’m sorry that it upsets you that gay people exist. I’m sorry it upsets you that I exist.

      Killing me isn’t the solution.

      Figure something else out.

      • Jason Todd

        Flagged for harassment. You are intentionally following yabruf around and bringing this up regardless of subject matter. Let it go.

        • Michael C

          It’s a comment about imprisoning and executing all gay women and men. Providing a verbatim quote on the exact same topic is hardly harassment.

          They believe that the solution to their issues with the existence of gay women and men is execution. They’re not ashamed to say it. They believe that this is what the bible instructs. They’re not ashamed when someone quotes them.

    • Ambulance Chaser

      Why is the fact that something was done “a few hundred years” ago an argument in favor of it?

  • Mr Cleats

    Very good! The people who always claim that they support “tolerance” and “diversity” should be in favor of this. Not all Americans have the exact same values or worldview. A truly tolerant person would gladly affirm the right of agencies to follow their own conscience. Trying to make all people alike is fascistic.

    • Sisyphus

      Adherents of Wicca also rely on faith; so the bill would also protect Wiccan agencies catering to families that want to raise their newly adopted children as pagans?

    • Colin Rafferty

      How is State-sanctioned discrimination “tolerance”? For example, if an adoption agency only places children in Christian homes, how is that “tolerance”?

      • yabruf

        That’s kind of a dumb thing to say. You could put any manner of immorality in that context and call it discrimination. So are felons like murderers, rapists, pedophiles…victims of state-sanctioned discrimination??

        Well I certainly hope so! Should the state discriminate against child molesting homosexuals? Absolutely!

        Colin we already know that your response is that we shouldn’t discriminate against sexual deviants due to your relative morality, so there is really no need to respond….lol

        • Colin Rafferty

          I didn’t mention the gayz, because the law goes much further.

          The law is allowing people to refuse placement in non-Christian homes. You seem to think that’s appropriate, because non-Christians are immoral, just like murderers and rapists, and you should be able to discriminate against non-Christians just like discriminating against murderers. That’s a pretty twisted concept.

        • Parodyx

          There you go again with your “child molesting homosexuals”. Homosexuals as a rule are not interested in children, and heterosexuals are statistically far more likely to abuse children.

  • Colin Rafferty

    I don’t know why they bothered with this bill. It’s clearly unconstitutional. The State is not allowed to discriminate based on religion. It is also not allowed to subcontract out its discrimination.

  • james blue

    My guess is if you have an LGBT agency they’re going to pick an LGBT family,”

    And if they refuse to place a child in a Christian home they will immune from civil suits and no government agency will prosecute them under anti discrimination and public accommodation laws?

  • God bless Texas.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Good!! Exposure to homosexuality and transgenderism is a child-abuse. Children have rights to the noble truth of God and innocence to be happy. USA should not live to install immorality on Planet Earth but to spread the life-giving Christianity as it is the creation purpose of all British colonies.