There is an age-hallowed aphorism that states “The perfect is often the enemy of the good” – meaning, of course, that often we pursue the narrow goal of the ideal to the exclusion of that which, though perhaps imperfect, offers clear and meaningful benefit. No better demonstration of this notion can be found than State Senator Adam Morfeld’s recent attempt to cripple adoption/foster care services offered in Nebraska. Young Master Morfeld claims to be exercised (“shocked” was the way he described his reaction – in his best Captain Renault impersonation) over three Nebraska child services agencies’ policy of choosing to work with faith-based organizations in the placing of children with foster and adoptive parents. Just to clarify for those unfamiliar with gov-speak, “faith-based” is code for “religious”. So, because three these agencies choose to abide by their fundamental religious beliefs in working only with people of like belief systems, the Senator has decided that they are in violation of federal law, and should be denied federal funding.
Morfeld seems to have seized upon this issue as some kind of threat to the LGBT community, though aside from scanty anecdotal evidence, it is by no means clear that the LGBTs have suffered unduly because of these agencies’ policies. What is very clear is that these agencies manage to offer support to a large cadre of at-risk children, and do so while operating in an extremely strained financial environment. To take away even a portion of their funding would almost certainly lead to their demise, and, consequently, to the cessation of their ability to help those who need them most – vulnerable and at-risk children.
I should point out that I have no particular brief, pro or con, with the LGBT portion of our society. I am unapologetically heterosexual, and I have more than a few gay/lesbian/TG friends and acquaintances. While I’m no expert on child-rearing, as far as I am concerned most of them would make perfectly acceptable parents should they so desire. Of course, just as in the straight community, a certain small percentage of them are jerks or worse and probably shouldn’t be allowed within a country mile of a child in his/her formative years. But you see, whether or not I think gay or lesbian or transgender parenting is acceptable is of no consequence whatever in this context.
That is not the point … people – all people – should be allowed to live according to the dictates of their own conscience, as long as their beliefs and actions do not cause significant material harm to others. Liberals like Morfeld seem to possess a constitutional inability to distinguish between toleration and affirmation. I may tolerate certain attitudes and behaviors, but that certainly does not mean I am obliged to also affirm them. Modern liberalism likes to present itself as offering an open and helpful hand, when in actuality, it is more often a clenched fist that attempts to pound others into submission and acceptance of its worldview.
Further, Morfeld’s mission to de-fund certain agencies ultimately hurts those who he purports to defend (children) by lessening levels of support and services available.
Senator Morfeld’s actions reek at several levels; first, he bases his claims on an executive order promulgated by President George W. Bush which, contrary to Morfeld’s wrong-headed assertions, supports and encourages the involvement of faith-based agencies in the provision of social services. Secondly, it is disconcerting that Morfeld should be carrying out his witch-hunt while others in the Nebraska Unicameral are making sincere efforts to expand and improve provision of services to at-risk children – such as Senator Kathy Campbell’s LB265, LB302, and others. Thirdly, Morfeld has to date offered not a shred of solid evidence that at-risk children have been harmed or even inconvenienced by actions (or lack of actions) engendered by existing policies.
The three agencies singled out by Morfeld are Christian Heritage (Lincoln), Bethany Christian Services (Omaha) and Compass Nebraska (Kearney); all three offered testimonies on LB975 before the Unicameral’s Judiciary Committee in which they acknowledged that in their recruitment and training of foster families they work with families who regularly attend church, and attest their faith by signing a statement. LB975 simply attempts to provide some protections to such organizations against anti-Christian activists and zealots.
I do not have exact numbers of how many children have been placed/helped by these three agencies, but even if the number is small, would Senator Morfeld just toss those kids away? For that is almost certainly what would happen if their funding sources are removed as he wants. Do we just ignore these kids to satisfy some ideological craving in liberal breasts? I hope not.
It is a given that society does not have nearly enough resources to effectively deal with the problem of parentless/at-risk/vulnerable children – why in the world would a state senator or anyone else want to significantly diminish those limited resources for what can only be characterized as political reasons?
Here’s a suggestion for the Senator – find some other straw-man issue to burnish your street creds with LGBTs and uber-liberals; kids are too important to be shamelessly politicized. Do we seek your dubious “ideal”, or do we continue a system that is, by any reasonable measure, doing good?
The delicious irony here is this: Morfeld’s actions serve to robustly underscore the need for such protections as LB975 would afford. Welcome to the circular firing squad, Senator – sic semper politicus liberalus.