Adoption Law Targets LGBTQ Community, Jewish People, Others

This article was originally published in The Tennessean.

This legislation, under the guise of religious freedom, clearly discriminates against the LGBTQ and Jewish communities.

An open letter to Gov. Bill Lee and Tennessee’s state senators:

Flip Rice

Rabbi Flip Rice

World leaders from across the globe gathered recently in Jerusalem to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. Dignitaries included Vice President Mike Pence, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Britain’s Prince Charles, French President Emmanuel Macron, as well as dignitaries from many other countries, each committing to fight anti-Semitism in all its manifestations.

Several Tennessee residents joined me in the holy land of Israel, and all of us were inspired by their presence and the unity of their message: Stand against hate.

While in Israel our delegation learned that our very own leadership back home in our beloved state of Tennessee chose to create legislation that, under the guise of religious freedom, clearly discriminates against the LGBTQ and Jewish communities. Bigotry has no place in our state, country or world. At a time when anti-Semitism is surging, we are embarrassed, angry and sad that you have chosen to endorse intolerance.

This new adoption law is prejudice, plain and simple. By passing House Bill 836/Senate Bill 1304, you have granted child welfare a license to discriminate, aligned yourself with the evil, and effectively united the Jewish and gay communities against you.

How many qualified parents have you prevented from creating a home for a needy child? Laws of a similar nature and intent were created in Nazi Germany. On such matters the Bible is clear: Be kind to the orphan!

The lesson of history is that morality trumps law. Gov. Lee, Sen. Paul Rose: Is this really who you want to be?

Philip “Flip” Rice is a rabbi at Congregation Micah in Brentwood.