Bethany Christian Services Compromises Christian Principles

In May 2019, the Michigan office of Bethany Christian Services (BCS)—the nation’s largest Protestant adoption and foster care agency, with offices in 32 states—agreed to begin placing children in homes headed by same-sex couples. BCS did not take this step of its own accord; the State of Michigan made a policy change that would, if implemented, have forced the organization to go out of business otherwise. Nevertheless, BCS demonstrated moral cowardice and a spirit of compromise by complying with this unjust and un-American policy instead of fighting it in court.

Nearly two years later, Bethany Christian Services has multiplied its error by 32. On March 1, 2021, The New York Times reported that BCS has decided to place children in same-sex households nationwide.

As the Times indicated, BCS’s shift did not occur overnight. After having given in to LGBT pressure in the City of Philadelphia, the organization passed a board resolution allowing its branches to place children in same-sex households if required to do so by government contracts. As of last year, BCS was quietly placing children in same-sex households in 12 states. And on January 21, 2021, the BCS board—which, according to BCS, includes members with “diverse personal views on sexuality”—voted unanimously to pass an “inclusivity resolution”; the resolution rescinded a 2007 BCS statement that had affirmed marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

BCS has made several unfortunate comments in support of its decision. BCS president and chief executive Chris Palusky asserted that it had become “untenable” for the organization to have a “patchwork” of different practices regarding child placement and added that Christians are “ready” for the organization’s move. Nate Bult, the organization’s vice president, commented, “‘Faith in Jesus is at the core of our mission. But we are not claiming a position on the various doctrinal issues about which Christians of mutual good faith may disagree.’”

Mr. Bult’s comment is completely off the mark. Neither the opposite-sex definition of marriage nor the morality of homosexual behavior is debatable in Scripture; each teaching is abundantly clear. To accept homosexuality and same-sex “marriage,” a person must abandon the conviction that the Bible is divinely inspired and authoritative. This is not a conviction about which Christians may disagree in good faith.

As to Mr. Palusky’s remarks, time will tell whether Christians are truly “ready” to continue funding and supporting an organization that compromises its core beliefs.