Senator Adam Morfeld of District 46 has proven that Nebraska needs to provide legal protections for faith-based adoption and foster care agencies.
On February 17, during the committee hearing for the Child Welfare Services Preservation Act, LB 975, Senator Adam Morfeld accused faith-based agencies of discriminating based on religion and breaking federal law.
By February 22, Senator Morfeld had filed an official complaint with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. Why? Because faith-based agencies acknowledged that when they recruit and train foster families, they work with Christian families who regularly attend church and sign their statement of faith.
Senator Morfeld is arguing that by doing this, these agencies are “denying their services” to people on the basis of religion. Constitutional lawyer Jefferson Downing said that “Senator Morfeld’s accusations are not only baseless, they are wrong.” For Jefferson Downing’s full response to Senator Morfeld’s accusations regarding LB 975, click here.
Although we expect these faith-based agencies to be found guiltless of any wrong-doing, the fact that Senator Morfeld has filed this complaint is proof that Nebraska needs stronger protections for faith-based agencies. There are legislators in Nebraska that want to see faith-based agencies forced to choose between abandoning their faith or abandoning the children and families they serve. His official complaint states:
“Should the department discover any form of discrimination… I request you immediately develop a plan to terminate that organization’s contract with the state.” (emphasis added)
These agencies, and hundreds like them across the country, have been operating within the boundaries of the law for decades. Faith-based agencies have met the needs of hundreds of thousands of our nation’s most vulnerable children. In 2015 in Nebraska alone, these agencies served more than 500 children.
We must reclaim religious liberty – the freedom to live and work according to one’s beliefs – before it’s too late. Senator Morfeld’s open hostility towards faith-based organizations represents the threat to religious liberty in our own communities and across the country.