Sr. Jeannine Gramick, SL, the co-founder of New Ways Ministry, recently praised Bethany Christian Services’ decision to work with LGBTQ adoptive and foster parents. She also called for an to end discrimination by social service agencies under the guise of religion, making particular note of the Fulton case now being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court.
In an op-ed for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Gramick explains that Bethany Christian Services’ decision “will change the lives of young people who are yearning for a parent, and it will change the lives of the parents who are brave enough to care for them. She comments:
“The truth of the matter is that far too many children need loving homes and loving parents. Many LGBTQ parents are able to provide just that. The decision by Bethany Christian Services is rightfully being celebrated and reminds us of a notion many of us already know: treating LGBTQ people with fairness, dignity, and respect does not diminish one’s faith or harm our freedom of religion; it strengthens it. . .
“Bethany Christian Services’ decision sets a new model and blueprint for religiously affiliated organizations that work in important spaces like foster care, and it is a simple concept: let your faith guide you to open your heart. It is demonstrating in a profound way that LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections and religion can and do happily coexist and, on top of all that, more children will find a loving home. That is God’s work in action.”
Gramick ties the Bethany Christian Services decision to a related issue, the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case presently before the U.S. Supreme Court. The case hinges on whether Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services must abide by the law when it comes to non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. (For Bondings 2.0’s full coverage of this case, click here.) Gramick explains:
“The outcome of that case could have far-reaching and lasting consequences that could potentially allow private agencies that receive funding from the government to discriminate against LGBTQ people and others simply because of who they are. That is wrong. . .
“I have known countless Catholics and LGBTQ advocates who are respectful and fair to each other, without the need for enshrining extraordinary religious exemptions under the law. . .The social justice teachings of my church compel me to speak out in favor of dignity and respect for all of God’s children, including LGBTQ people. We cannot allow discrimination to thrive in our country under the false guise of freedom of religion. Too many religious agencies provide important services to people in need, and those in need should be able to access them.”
Finally, Gramick writes more personally about her 50-plus years of ministry in the LGBTQ community as a woman religious In those years, she notes, “I have seen what progress is possible,” adding:
“I know that if we get to know people for who they are, we will find goodness, understanding, and acceptance. All of us have felt unwelcome in one space or another at some point in our lives. I know I remember how that felt, and so whenever I can I try to make sure no one else ever feels that just for being who they are.”
—Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, April 5, 2021