Hebrews 12:1-2

"..let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." - Hebrews 12:1-2

Friday, November 7, 2008

An Arkansas Adoption Victory?

I was flipping around on the radio and listened to Dr. James Dobson for a few moments this morning. Naturally, he was talking about the election and its aftermath and what he said kind of made me sit up and talk back to my car speakers.

His comments were something like this:
My wife and I watched the television from 3 o'clock until midnight, watching the numbers and calculating what they meant... When I woke up on Wednesday morning, I was depressed by all that we had lost. But then I began to see the nuggets of hope and sunshine that had also occurred the night before.
For instance, in Arkansas they voted to approve the ban on allowing homosexual couples from adopting children. This is a huge victory for the family in America and we need to celebrate this win, along with others.
There are several things in those comments that stood out to me, but I want to focus strictly on the Arkansas comment at the moment. Something about what he said bothered me, so I went and looked up what the Unmarried Couple Adoption Ban was all about and learned a few things about it. It was passed by attaining 57% of the popular vote. I learned without surprise that the Ban was proposed and promoted by the Family Council, which worked very closely with Focus on the Family Action, which is the political arm on Dr. Dobson's Focus on the Family ministry.

The Unmarried Couple Adoption ban states the following: "an individual who is cohabitating outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent of a child less than 18 years old."

In Arkansas, a valid marriage is declared as being between a man and a woman. This means that with the passage of this ban, it is now illegal for not only a homosexual couple to adopt a child, but also an unmarried couple to do so. In addition to those restrictions, this bill would appear to make it illegal for a single person to adopt a child, regardless of their sexual orientation.

And this is where I am struggling. Is it right or appropriate to eliminate the possibility of a child being adopted strictly based on the idea of a Biblical family structure? In promoting the Christian agenda of marriage being between a man and woman, it appears that Dr. Dobson and his organization may have also eliminated the possibility for single people to adopt a child.

Even if this is not the case, Focus on the Family Action has effectively eliminated the possibility of a child being adopted by a homosexual person and so they have declared it a victory for the American Christian family and a huge win towards promoting the cause of marriage. While I understand the conclusion they have reached, I find myself believing that it is a flawed one at best.

In choosing to battle in the legislative arena for one issue, I believe that Focus on the Family has done so without regard to the ramifications of their proposed legislation and may have, in fact, rejected one of the ideals of their faith in pursuit of enforcing another. It is my belief that by helping to enact this law, Focus on the Family has brought harm to children who are orphaned or abandoned and has rejected what James proclaimed to be true religion (James 1:27).

While I understand that their efforts were to promote a healthy family, which is noble, I believe that this law will cause children who might have been adopted by a homosexual couple or a cohabitating couple to now remain isolated and unloved. Would it not have been better to promote adoption within the church and share Christ's love through Christians adopting as opposed to legislating against sinners who are drawn to express love toward these children who remain unloved by the body of Christ?

In doing so, I do not believe that Christians in the state of Arkansas have won a victory for the family. I believe that, due to the passage of this law, Christians in Arkansas, Focus on the Family and Dr. Dobson might have grieved God the Father, who has commanded us to look after widows and orphans, not promote legislation that makes it harder for orphans to be adopted.

I understand the initiative behind this legsilative action, but I am disheartened by how those desires and convictions have been led to a piece of legislation being implemented that appears to contradict the Scriptures that Christians claim as their own.


  1. As I read the new law, nothing is said about single parents. The law appears to explicitly prohibit minors from being placed in homes as adoptees or foster children WHEN the home has cohabiting partners who are not married. Obviously this eliminates homosexual couples in Arkansas and also heterosexual couples who are not married. This, I believe, is the intent of the law.

    If someone is single/widowed, I don't believe this law has any bearing the way it is worded.


    I could be wrong and, if singles are also excluded, then I would take issue with it.

  2. wow. I hope there weren't many adopted children previous to this law being passes that are now homeless once again... :(