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Honor John Lewis by Upholding the Dignity of All Children and Families

By Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

On January 6th, violent insurrectionists attacked and desecrated the U.S. Capitol causing untold damage, countless injuries, and at least five deaths. During the attack, the insurrectionists defaced a commemorative display honoring the late Congressman John Lewis. John Lewis was a champion of democracy and civil rights. We cannot let this act of vandalism go unanswered. I believe that we are called to atone for this act and honor him by passing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. 

At NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, we advocate for federal policies that promote justice and the human dignity of all people, especially those on the margins of society. Our nation’s welfare programs help advance the common good by providing vital resources and care to people in need. No one should be turned away from the care and services they need because of who they are or what they believe. That is why Congressman John Lewis introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. This bill would protect the dignity of youth in the child welfare system by ending discrimination against children and families on the basis of religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and marital status. 

A number of states explicitly allow social service agencies to discriminate against families pursuing adoption based on their sexual orientation or religious beliefs. In fact, in 2019 the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era equal rights rule in order to institutionalize this prejudice. We the People cannot allow these hate-filled decisions to be made on our behalf. Thankfully, the Biden administration has recently called for the postponement of Trump’s discriminatory rule in federal court, buying Congress and the Administration time to draft non-discrimination rules and pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. 

Children are facing a homelessness crisis! Loving LGBTQ+ families want to adopt, but discrimination stands in the way. Over 20,000 children age out of the foster system every year without a permanent family or home. Without discrimination, many of these kids would have found a home before aging out. It is wrong to deny anyone the opportunity to accept these children into a loving home. Our faith teaches us that the family, in all forms, can teach society how to better care for its members. Discrimination has no place in our society, especially when it prohibits children from thriving in a love-filled home. 

When introducing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, John Lewis said, “Too many children dream of a stable, loving family. Many adults want to open their homes and their hearts, but they also are facing more and more barriers, because some officials can say they practice the wrong religion, love the wrong person, or are not married.” We must end this sinful denial of civil rights. We are all members of the human family and have a responsibility to cherish and uplift one another. Passing this legislation is one fitting way to honor the late John Lewis and further condemn the hatred we saw in the halls of our nation’s capital on January 6th. Let’s follow John Lewis’s example and protect our most vulnerable children by passing his Every Child Deserves a Family Act.

On January 6th, violent insurrectionists attacked and desecrated the U.S. Capitol causing untold damage, countless injuries, and at least five deaths. During the attack, the insurrectionists defaced a commemorative display honoring the late Congressman John Lewis. John Lewis was a champion of democracy and civil rights. We cannot let this act of vandalism go unanswered. I believe that we are called to atone for this act and honor him by passing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. 

At NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, we advocate for federal policies that promote justice and the human dignity of all people, especially those on the margins of society. Our nation’s welfare programs help advance the common good by providing vital

“When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just; you have to stand up, speak up, speak out, and find a way to get in the way and get in trouble. Good trouble. Necessary trouble.”—John Lewis

resources and care to people in need. No one should be turned away from the care and services they need because of who they are or what they believe. That is why Congressman John Lewis introduced the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. This bill would protect the dignity of youth in the child welfare system by ending discrimination against children and families on the basis of religion, gender identity, sexual orientation, and marital status. 

A number of states explicitly allow social service agencies to discriminate against families pursuing adoption based on their sexual orientation or religious beliefs. In fact, in 2019 the Trump administration rescinded an Obama-era equal rights rule in order to institutionalize this prejudice. We the People cannot allow these hate-filled decisions to be made on our behalf. Thankfully, the Biden administration has recently called for the postponement of Trump’s discriminatory rule in federal court, buying Congress and the Administration time to draft non-discrimination rules and pass the Every Child Deserves a Family Act. 

Children are facing a homelessness crisis! Loving LGBTQ+ families want to adopt, but discrimination stands in the way. Over 20,000 children age out of the foster system every year without a permanent family or home. Without discrimination, many of these kids would have found a home before aging out. It is wrong to deny anyone the opportunity to accept these children into a loving home. Our faith teaches us that the family, in all forms, can teach society how to better care for its members. Discrimination has no place in our society, especially when it prohibits children from thriving in a love-filled home. 

When introducing the Every Child Deserves a Family Act, John Lewis said, “Too many children dream of a stable, loving family. Many adults want to open their homes and their hearts, but they also are facing more and more barriers, because some officials can say they practice the wrong religion, love the wrong person, or are not married.” We must end this sinful denial of civil rights. We are all members of the human family and have a responsibility to cherish and uplift one another. Passing this legislation is one fitting way to honor the late John Lewis and further condemn the hatred we saw in the halls of our nation’s capital on January 6th. Let’s follow John Lewis’s example and protect our most vulnerable children by passing his Every Child Deserves a Family Act.

Sister Simone - CR Blog

Sister Simone Campbell is the Executive Director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice and leader of Nuns on the Bus. She has led seven cross-country Nuns on the Bus tours focused on tax justice, healthcare, immigration reform, voter turnout, and mending the gaps in income and wealth inequality.

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