ParentingRandom AsidesReligionSkepticism

Stop, Drop, and Check the Date

So, there’s a link to a Time article jetting around the tubes, the MyFace pages, and the Twittersphere about a couple being denied a chance to adopt a child because they don’t got no Jesuses or other divine kooks in there inner circle.

Now crazy is indeed the default setting of the human animal, and wonderfully whacky stuff like this goes on all the time. But folks, I just thought I’d let you know if you don’t already, this is not a new story.

Here’s a screen shot of the web page. I’ve highlighted the important bits, as the Brits say.


This isn’t news, but perhaps the quick spread is a good example of over-reaction from some people. Could be a great case study in . . . in . . . well, in something. But the point is, don’t get too upset about this whole thing.

I was actually hoping to open a big can of ignore on the story, but I keep getting emails and other e-messages about it. Seems it just won’t leave me alone.

Anyway, just a bit of friendly advice from your Uncle Sambo: There is plenty of injustice to go around. Take your time and look over an item before you spend too much energy breaking a story.


Sam Ogden

Sam Ogden is a writer, beach bum, and songwriter living in Houston, Texas, but he may be found scratching himself at many points across the globe. Follow him on Twitter @SamOgden

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  1. I’m surprised how many people overlook that little fact. I would think that the title alone is enough to induce at least a little suspicion.

  2. Depending on where you are it’s still an issue. When my wife and I started looking into adoption we were told by all but one of the agencies in the area that if we didn’t claim to be Christian then they wouldn’t work with us. Several of them hinted pretty unsubtly that we didn’t have to actually BE Christian as long as we joined a church and claimed to be Christian for the entire (often several years long) process.

  3. @revmatty:

    To be fair, for the agencies it’s probably not so much “we won’t work with you because you’ll eat the baby” but that it’s not worth it for them to work with someone who doesn’t have a religion.

    In an international adoption, other countries have crazy rules about what kinds of people are allowed to take their children. Not a damn thing you can do about that… it’s their country, their rules. You don’t have to LIKE their rules, but you can’t fight them.

    In a domestic open adoption, depending on where you live, there might be a 0 chance that any girl is going to choose an atheist to raise her child… and even if it’s not 0, it’s probably too close to 0 to be worth your or the agencies’ time.

    In other words, it might actually be unethical for them to waste your time and money on a pipe dream.

    But you’re not going to be turned away in the final stages because of your religion.

  4. @RevMattie: “if we didn’t claim to be Christian …. we didn’t have to actually BE Christian…”

    UhUh I know I RL (Meatspace) Rev. Mattie.
    Seriously, I suspect it’s the old belief that religious if not ‘religious of my persuasion’ equates with moral.

  5. I was getting quite amused watching this story die out, then resurrect itself on Twitter periodically over the last 72 hours or so. Someone new would tweet it again, with fresh outrage, and I would start counting down to the inevitable mea culpa. It was fun.

    Here’s the appeals court ruling which overturned it the next year.

    Ah, the intertubes. Will they ever cease to amuse?

  6. My husband and I adopted a boy from Ethiopia 8 months ago. We were represented locally by a Christian adoption agency, but did not have to be Christian to adopt internationally. Our homestudy said “Jeff and Lesley do not attend any religious organization or church membership. They plan to teach their child the basic Christian beliefs and practices, and will allow him/her to make their own decisions in regards to a faith or religion when old enough to do so.”

    We were intentionally vague (dishonest?) about our non-belief. However, growing up in Canada, he’ll learn about Easter and Christmas, but from us it will be fact/history related not a faith lesson. We did feel that if we stated we were atheists we would have a harder time adopting, especially from Ethiopia which has such a strong Christian history.

    As a side note, the “Christian” agency that facilitated our interaction with the Ethiopian government recently declared bankruptcy. The CEO and a member of the board of directors were revealed to have had an affair (the CEO was married to a different board of directors member), AND to have over $300 000 of “questionable” expenses, including landscaping at their house, apparently on the agency’s dime.

  7. @Elyse: As I said, depends on where you are. I’ve heard from some friends who recently adopted that it’s gotten better here in STL, but when we started the process all the adoption agencies here were affiliated with churches and simply wouldn’t represent anyone who wasn’t religious as a matter of policy. We were specifically told we had to claim to be Christian. I wonder if they’d have accepted Catholic (certainly not Muslim I’m sure). We ultimately opted to go with an international adoption in part because they didn’t have any religious requirements and in adopting from China our social worker said that being non-religious actually probably counted in our favor from the perspective of the Chinese government.

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