The federal government is making bold moves to force faith-based adoption and foster-care ministries to surrender their deeply held beliefs on faith, family, and marriage.
And Holston United Methodist Home for Children is one of the government's victims.
Holston Home has been in operation since 1895 when Mrs. E.E. Wiley, a widow, took in her first homeless child. From that humble beginning, Holston Home has helped more than 8,000 children throughout East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.
The ministry provides hope and healing for a brighter future by sharing the love of Jesus with abused and neglected children and families struggling with life's challenges.
Holston Home's goal is always to do what is best for the children, whether it's reuniting them with family, adoption, or helping them become successful adults. Their professional staff works to strengthen families and help kids overcome any emotional traumas or other hardships they may have experienced.
That's something everyone should be able to support, right?
But now, the federal government is threatening to cut off critical funding for the ministry if Holston Home refuses to surrender its faith-based beliefs on family and marriage.
For years, Holston Home has received some reimbursement for its services through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. That reimbursement helps families throughout East Tennessee shoulder the additional costs of meeting a child’s basic needs.
A rule issued by the Obama administration in 2016 required the faith-based agency and others like it to violate their religious beliefs to receive the funding. How? By forcing them to place children in homes that don't align with their faith, such as with non-Christian homes, same-sex couples, or unmarried cohabitating couples.
During the Trump administration, HHS issued much-needed religious exemptions to this rule so faith-based agencies could operate according to their religious beliefs.
Unfortunately, HHS recently rescinded all of those religious exemptions under the Biden administration.
Because of the administration's action, Holston Home is left to choose between three untenable options:
- Violate its religious beliefs and continue to receive funding
- Stand by its religious beliefs and lose funding under the reimbursement program
- Exit the adoption and foster care fields, violating its religious beliefs in tension with its more than 100-year-old mission
This is unacceptable. That's why attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom have filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration challenging the rule that requires Holston Home and others like it to violate their religious beliefs or lose needed funding.
If Holston Home loses, children would lose out on finding loving forever homes.