He got around the Supreme Court ruling by claiming that the anti-Christian policy is not intolerant.
I’ve reported on Philadelphia’s anti-Christian policy toward religious orphanages before, as well as the children hurt by it. That policy came before a federal judge.
Despite evidence of anti-Christian animus that judge ruled that the policy met the precedent set by the Supreme Court. Reportedly, the judge claimed that there was no intolerance because the city moved against a Roman Catholic and an Evangelical adoption agency. So, since these are two different groups, Philadelphia isn’t being intolerant toward one specific religion.
The Daily Signal reports, “Ominous Court Ruling Allows Discrimination Against Christian Adoption Provider.”
Earlier this month, in a first-of-its-kind case, a federal judge ruled that a Christian adoption provider’s religious freedom claims must submit to the government’s sexual and moral standards.
Catholic Social Services simply wanted to continue serving Philadelphia’s needy children in accordance with its beliefs, as it had for decades, but the city severed ties with the group when it refused to violate its faith and agree to place children in homes without both a mother and a father. A federal court signed off on the city’s stance.
Aside from the preliminary problem of considering a religious organization to be a public accommodation (usually reserved for commercial establishments), the trouble truly started when the court analyzed the organization’s free exercise claim.
As the court recognized, the Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission requires cases such as this to “be resolved with tolerance.” But the court then proceeded to settle this one with significant intolerance toward Catholic Social Services.
It glossed over the fact that the mayor of Philadelphia made hostile comments about the specific religious tenets of Catholic Social Services, discounting the statements as “irrelevant” because “comments the mayor made relating to Catholicism do not demonstrate targeting in light of the fact that [the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services] also closed Bethany Christian Services’ referrals intake, a non-Catholic agency.”
So, the court thought the city didn’t show bias because it closed Catholic and non-Catholic providers alike.
The lesson here is that if your anti-Christian bias is spread among denominations, you’re off the hook.
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