Bethany Christian Services is a nation-wide adoption agency headquarted here in Grand Rapids. It is an explicitly pro-life Christian organization dedicated to placing homeless children in Christian homes. To this end, it requires couples who want to adopt to agree to a Statement of Faith. If you follow the hyperlink, you will see that it is an anodyne non-denominational statement of the basics of Christian belief.
Nevertheless, Bethany's Mississippi branch has banned adoptions to Roman Catholics. Most recently on July 8th the Mississippi state director Karen Stewart rejected an adoption application from a Catholic couple, Robert and Sandy Steadman. The Mississippians have blacklisted Catholics out of the plainly false belief that Roman Catholicism is in conflict with Bethany's Statement of Faith. This, of course, smacks of that disreputable prejudice among some Protestants, still institutionally manifested in some places in this country such as Bob Jones University, that those papists are not truly Christian.
Apparently the hoods are gone, but the Klan's noxious creed is still plied by benighted Bethany employees like Stewart. Yet, while ready to deny Catholics the benefit of Bethany's services in Mississippi, Stewart still collects for Bethany from the Mississippi state treasury the proceeds of the "Choose Life" license plates that Catholics buy. Oh well, it's not like Mississippi hasn't given state sanction to bigotry in the past. Moreover, Bethany Christian Services is a private organization whose members are free to engage in such nonsense.
However, it is still worth taking note of the gutless response Bethany's president Glenn De Mots, headquartered here in River City, had to give: "I think it boils down to [the Mississippi branch's] commitment to place children into families that have the most in common with what their beliefs are as an evangelical Protestant-based office of Bethany." De Mots added that Catholics in Mississippi do have their own adoption agencies they can go to in lieu of Bethany. But not a word of misgiving for the Mississippi branch reading out Catholics from the Statement of Faith.
Yet, Bethany holds itself out as a Christian organization that welcomes all members of that faith while it solicits our donations. It makes grand commitments against racial and ethnic prejudices. Meanwhile Bethany's president refuses to drop the hammer on a relict of religious bigotry clinging to life in the adoption agency's own Mississippi offices. Again, as a private organization Bethany can indulge in this kind of foolishness if it wants, but people of goodwill might want to reconsider what support they'll give to its hypocrisy on bigotry.