Michigan Attempts To Prevent Christian Charities from Saving Children: Michigan is shutting down adoption organizations just because they are faith-based. Today, we are interviewing attorney Chad Buck on what he’s doing to fight back against this discrimination. Tune in now to learn more.
Air Date: 06/24/2018
Guest: Chad Buck
On-air Personalities: David Barton, Rick Green, and Tim Barton
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Faith And The Culture
You’ve entered the intersection of faith and the culture. This is WallBuilders Live! Where we’re talking about today’s hottest topics on policy and faith and the culture always from a biblical historical and Constitutional perspective.
We’re here with David Barton, America’s premier historian and the founder of WallBuilders. Also, Tim Barton, national speaker and President of WallBuilders. My name is Rick Green, I’m a former Texas state legislator, national speaker, and author.
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Private Entities Doing Good Work In The Community
David, Tim looking forward to having Chad Buck and his attorney with us later in the program to talk about what’s happening in Michigan. But on a broader sense of these types of things where government either supports or prevents private entities from doing good work in the community.
I mean obviously, we don’t want government entangled in all kinds of things. Just as an example, David, I’ve heard you talk about faith-based prisons and what a difference it is when a prison has that element in it. How it saves money and harm to those, who aren’t necessarily faith-based. But that’s a place where the government can actually make decisions in how it does its duty. That saves the community money and helps the community, but sometimes people say because it’s faith-based or has anything to do with faith, that we shouldn’t do it.
Faith Benefits The Government
Yeah, Rick, there are so many areas where the faith benefits the government, and it does because, as Tim has noted before, where you have a big government, you have a small God. Where you have a big God, you have small government. And so if people are able to control themselves, and their behavior, you need less government. And the example you mentioned of faith-based prisons let me hit the stats on that real quick.
In government-run prisons, whether it’s county or state or federal or local your recidivism rate is 68%.
Recidivism is the people that are going to return after they’ve been released. So the idea of prison used to be that you rehabilitate people, you release them again to the public, and they’re not going to do bad things anymore. But statistically, we know the exact opposite is true.
Generally, people have spent time in prison after only being gone a year, or two are going to commit another crime that’s going to end them up back in prison.
The exception is with faith-based prisons.
Yeah, because the government says some 68% of prisoners within three years will commit a crime that puts them back in prison; second trip, third trip, fourth trip, fifth trip.
But for faith-based prisons, there are about a dozen states that operate faith-based prisons. You still do time, you still do everything the judge sentenced you. You’re not less guilty of the crime, but you do time is a different environment.
In those prisons, only 8 percent of prisoners returned back to prison. So it’s 85 percent more productive and ensuring that prisoners do not commit a crime that puts them back in.
It’s a Massive Saving
Now, think how much that saves the government? By promoting faith in that situation, they’re not promoting a denomination, they’re not promoting doctrines, they’re promoting faith in general.
By doing that, you have 85 percent less need for more prisons, and more prison beds, and more police officers, and more courts, and more wardens, and that’s a huge massive saving.
And it’s the same way in so many other areas. It’s the same in the family. And by the way, libertarians say hey government has no business promoting faith and morality. I’ll tell you the guys who created our government said you have to promote faith and morality; otherwise, you won’t have a small government. You cannot have limited government if you don’t have people that control themselves.
The Idea Of Promoting Faith
And the idea of promoting faith, I mean maybe that’s where we could say OK, I understand why you might have a protest because we’re saying well what faith are you going to promote?
The idea of promoting faith was leading to the foundation of morality because there is no greater moral teacher than Jesus. Even though the majority the Founding Fathers believed in Jesus, not all of them did, and even the ones who didn’t believe in Jesus thought we should still have the Bible as a foundation because it teaches us how to be moral. Unless we’re moral, freedom won’t work in this nation.
Freedom Only Works If People Are Going To Choose To Be Moral
This is where libertarians, completely promote the idea that we should have freedom, less government, more choices. We want freedom.
Freedom only works if people are going to choose to be moral because otherwise, it becomes the Wild Wild West, right? It becomes the law of the tiger, the shark, the bear. Where people, it’s just the biggest, the meanest, the strongest, the most ferocious.
So freedom really only operates within a foundation of morality.
It has to be people choosing morality, but they have to know what morality is. Which is where we now need the same equal foundation of morality, which is where the Founding Fathers argued for teaching the Bible. For having the Bible in schools, for helping kids learn the moral principles of Jesus.
And again, even the founding fathers who didn’t believe that Jesus was the son of God, still promoted the Bible because they knew it would provide a moral foundation for freedom to work in America.
Here’s a great example: if you take all the needs we currently have, and all the money the government spends on children with depression; children and gangs; children with suicides; children who have all sorts of educational disabilities; children and violence. You name all the negative things that the government spends to try to help children in a bad situation.
Statistics Drop When There Is A Father And A Mother At Home
What we know unequivocally, we know from all research; left, right, center doesn’t matter who it is: that when you have a mother and a father in the home, all of those numbers plummet.
The chances that the kids are going to be involved in gangs or end up in juvenile court, the chances they’re going to fail a grade, that the stats on negative behavior, they plummet.
Or to say it better; the stats on positive behavior, positive learning, positive mental health, positive physical health, they all go so high when you have a mother and a father in the home.
It’s significant that when you look at those communities who have the least amount of stable mother-father relationships, they are the communities and the nation whether they be demographically urban or rural, suburban. Whether they be by race or by ethnicity or whether they be by economic income, it doesn’t matter.
When you don’t have a mother and a father in the home, all the bad stats go higher, which costs the government a whole lot of money to try to deal with the consequences of that.
It Is A Fatherhood Problem
So, when you have a black civil rights activists like Candace Owen who recently said, look the problem in the black community, black crime it’s really a fatherhood problem.
I mean poverty and other stats, they go away when you have a mother and father on home, and for doing that and social media shut her down.
She was actually banned because she said, as a black woman, look our problem is not with poverty stats, it’s with fatherhood stats. And so it’s in the best interest of the government to promote situations where you raise kids with a mother and a father in the home period.
Government Is Shutting Down Faith-Based Agencies
Now, what happens is Massachusetts comes and says, you know we’ve got a lot of kids that need to be adopted, we get foster homes we need. But we don’t necessarily want those kids placed in a home with a mother and a father.
If you think that’s the best situation then we don’t want you helping place kids in our state, you go somewhere else.
Michigan others have done that too where they’re shutting down faith-based adoption places
Many do a really good job. You’re stopping people from serving the community.
(They are) doing great work.
And the government is saying no thanks we don’t want your help even though you’ve gotten incredible results and saved all these kids.
We’re talking statistical results. This is not just theoretical. We’re talking what actually works, and the government is shutting them down.
Michigan is one of those places where the government is shutting down these faith-based agencies.
We’ve got a couple of these guys; an attorney and really a victim of government targeting to discuss what’s going on in Michigan, what recently happened there.
But this is what’s going on across the nation as well.
It is a family that has saved you know kids with special needs and the particular agency that they’ve worked with, is a faith-based agency that has done this you know for so many kids, and now the government saying, not you.
Because of your faith, because of your values, we’re not going to allow you to help these families anymore, and help these kids.
The attorney general in Michigan is actually now leading that charge. So, the attorney that is representing this family to try to stop this government prevention of good things happening. That sounds weird, but that’s exactly what the case is. (They) are going to be with us when we come back from the break.
So stay with us folks. You’re listening to WallBuilders Live.
Bring A Speaker To Your Area
Hey, this is Tim Barton with WallBuilders. And, as you’ve had the opportunity to listen to WallBuilders Live, you’ve probably heard a wealth of information about our nation, about our spiritual heritage, about the religious liberties, and about all the things that make America exceptional.
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Moment From American History
This is Tim Barton from WallBuilders with another moment from American history. Alexis De Tocqueville, a political official from France, traveled to the United States in 1831 and penned his observations in the now famous book, “Democracy In America.”
Being from France, what he found in America was completely unexpected to him. He reported, “Upon my arrival in the United States, the religious aspect of the country was the first thing that struck my attention. And, the longer I stayed there, the more I perceived the great political consequences resulting from this. In France, I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But, in America, I found that they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.”
Did Tocqueville recognize that it was Biblical Christianity and the morals it produced that made America great? For more information about Alexis Tocqueville and the positive influence of Christianity in early America go to WallBuilders.com.
Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. Thanks for staying with us. With us now is Chad Buck and his attorney Nick Reeves from the Becket Fund. Guys, thanks for coming on today.
Pleasure. Happy to be here.
The Attorney-General And The ACLU
Hey, so this case out of Michigan dealing with adoption, and unfortunately the state is essentially saying to two ministries if you don’t do it our way we don’t want you involved at all. Tell us how y’ all get involved in it from the beginning. I think it happened just earlier this year, just a couple of months ago.
There was a prior lawsuit that the attorney general decided to settle on her own which overturned state law.
And she was settling with the ACLU, right? Basically, the attorney general and the ACLU got together and said we’re going to implement this policy.
Yup. So we were involved with the other case so once she decided to take those steps, we filed a lawsuit on our own to try to protect religious agencies in the state with Becket, their lawyers.
And when you say religious agencies, you mean nonprofit religious organizations that are trying to facilitate adoptions and get kids placed with families.
That’s correct. And the foster care system as well.
In the objection of the ACLU and the attorney general, I mean, what did they have against these faith-based groups?
They just say that they’re biased because of their religious views.
Biased in terms of they don’t pick the families that the attorney general and the ACLU wanted them to? I don’t understand why they would be against a view if you’re finding homes in the foster system is overwhelmed. They should be happy.
Well, yes the attorney, I can’t speak for what her point of view is but that’s their take is that the agencies are biased, so they’ve decided on their own to try to overturn state law i
And of course, we’ve seen this. You know, Nick, you’ve probably even had other clients in this situation around the country where there’s just this movement if you’re not going to place kids with anyone and everyone.
You’re not gonna do you know things that violate your conscience and that your faith is against. Frankly, government officials with leftist philosophies are doing what they can to prevent you from doing the good that you’ve been doing.
In many cases some of these Catholic organizations and others for I mean decades and decades, they’ve done a lot of good. We’re literally taking them out of the game moving them off of the table when we need them the most.
Lawsuits Pop Up In Multiple Jurisdictions
Yeah, that’s exactly right. I mean we’re seeing lawsuits pop up in multiple jurisdictions as you’ve mentioned.
We represent an agency in Philadelphia that’s been doing this work for over 100 years, and St. Vincent in Michigan that Chad and Melissa have worked with have been operating for over 70 years.
We’ve also seen a lawsuit in Texas, in New York. I think a new lawsuit was just filed the other day in South Carolina. So this, unfortunately, is become a pretty big issue.
St. Vincent’s. So Chad, for you and Melissa I mean you have five children now with special needs that St. Vincent’s has been the one to help facilitate that, and connect you guys right?
Yes, that’s correct and even in our area, St. Vincent’s is known as an agency that is in places that are hard to place kids.
Kids who’ve been abused, kids who like they would consider too old to adopt. They’re known for being able to find homes for those kids.
They’re doing the hardest work.
Yes, and they’re also the only agency in our area that runs a group home for kids that need counseling before they’re able to be placed in a forever home.
You know, it seems like we would champion that. We would be giving awards, we’d be saying we want more of this. We want other organizations and faith-based groups to do this.
Instead of denying their ability to do so or making it so difficult that they can’t do it. Just from a public policy perspective, regardless of your faith, you would want folks like St. Vincent to be doing this if you want your community to fare better.
Tell me what’s happening back at home, Chad. How are people in the community responding to this? I would think they would want more St. Vincent-type charities.
Ageing Out Statistics
You know, it’s hard. I don’t think that a lot of people really understand the gravity of the situation. I just have a few statistics for you.
There are nearly four hundred thousand kids in the foster care system nationwide, and there’s 13,000 in Michigan. Every year, 23,000 kids, 600 in Michigan age out of the system. The system’s already overburdened.
If you look at the statistics of kids who age out of the system, 20% of them become instantly homeless and aging out of the system is when a kid turns 18. They’re no longer wards of the state, so they’re just basically put out on their own. Half of the kids will actually be employed by the time that they reach 24.
Less than 3 percent of them will finish college. Seven out of 10 of the girls will be pregnant before they’re 21 and 60% of the boys who age out of the system will be convicted of a crime.
So I mean not having a family to support you, and now with the opioid crisis going on, the system just gonna become more overburdened. Right now is not the time to try to shut down agencies especially ones that are doing clearly great work like St. Vincent’s
The System Is Overburdened
Yeah, and I would think in Michigan you’re probably facing the same thing. I’ve followed a little bit here in my home state of Texas. But just how overburdened the foster care system is, how overburdened the state agencies are.
How many cases each of those parents and the social workers are dealing with. It is a system that is near breaking point. And so to take agencies like St. Vincent’s off the table seems like exactly the opposite of what we should be doing.
Is the attorney general there that made this deal, is that an elected position in Michigan?
Yes, it is. This is her first term, and so she just started in January when she was sworn in.
Yeah, I hope the people of Michigan let her know what they think about this particular issue.
Nick, tell me about the legal side of this. What do you think in terms of the chances of victory on the challenge?
There Is Multiple Protection For These Agencies
Sure. Well, we had that it could feel very good about this case and our companion case in Philadelphia right now.
These faith-based religious agencies have First Amendment rights that are being impinged by the state. As Chad mentioned earlier, there’s actually a state law that was specifically passed intended to help these agencies too.
So we think there are multiple protections for these organizations in terms of what we think the courts will think about this in our Philadelphia case.
We saw it an extraordinary form of relief really early on because the city of Philadelphia was trying to close down one of the agencies we work with. And that was back before there were nine Justices on the court it was an eight-member court.
And at the time three justices that we had a clear right to release on the merits of our case, and that’s a very high standard.
So we think that now that we’re going to present this to the court, in the normal process with a nine-member court we think that there is a much better chance, a really good chance the court will be interested in taking up this issue.
That’s great to hear. Sound like this is one of those that is both from a policy perspective, and just the common sense average Joe on the street.
Once they understand this, once they’re told these things, will come down on the right side of it.
But also on the legal side, and certainly the constitutional perspective that the rights of St. Vincent and frankly the families, like the Bucks, that need these outlets and need these organizations to help find these children and are willing to give them well.
You know Chad, that’s part of what I guess bothers me the most. You and Melissa and other parents like you (are) willing to give so much of your life for these kids and to bring them into your home, and to raise them, and to make you know make them your own.
We should be supporting you in finding ways to make that more and more possible. I hate hearing that it’s happening, but I love hearing that there’s a really good chance of winning the case.
Time wise, do you think this is later this year? How long do you think before you get a resolution?
Philadelphia & Michigan Cases
So, we think that the court is likely to consider our Philadelphia case the Supreme Court’s likely to consider a Philadelphia case in the fall. And this case is moving a little bit slower. It’s a little bit earlier on in the process.
We think they’ll likely be a hearing before the judge in Michigan perhaps in July or August and a decision may be a month or two after that.
Well, we would love to be updated if you guys would just let us know how it goes.
We look forward to hopefully having you back later in the year to celebrate a victory with you.
Yes. Thank you. We’d love to do that.
That’s Nick Reeves with the Becket Fund. Chad Buck, thank you. Tell Melissa, thank you.
We appreciate what you all are doing. Not only what you’re doing in your own home with those kiddos but the fact that you’re willing to take a stand like this so that more kids can be helped. We really appreciate you, man. Thanks for your time today.
Thank you. No problem. Thanks for having us.
Stay with us folks, we’ll be right back with David and Tim Barton.
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Welcome back to WallBuilders Live. We’re back with David and Tim Barton.
Well, guys, it’s gonna be interesting to see what happens in this case, but this is one of many. We see this all the time that’s why it’s so important to have these Christian attorneys out there, and frankly, just constitutional attorneys out there that fight these cases us because these are real people that are being harmed. These are real children that end up not getting a home, not getting a forever home because of government’s bad left-wing philosophy in these cases.
Michigan Had A Law Protecting Faith-based Folks
Yeah, but I’ve got to point out that what’s significant here is Michigan had a law protecting faith-based folks. They wanted results. They wanted what works.
The new attorney general that came in progressive, left Democrat, says well I disagree with that law, so I’m going to make a settlement the ACLU where that my settlement says that law goes by the way.
We’re not going to let the courts rule on this. We’re not gonna let anybody else deal with it. I just disagree with having faith-based groups in here. And so my settlement is that that law goes by the way.
You can’t do that. Well, they did that, and that’s not unusual for what they do.
But notice Michigan actually was protecting these faith-based groups because they get the right results.
The government should be looking at what works not what the philosophy is that they agree or disagree with, but that’s what’s actually happening here.
So we’ll see what happens with this because there’s a lot of states trying to protect faith-based agencies that really do have the best statistical results.
There Is A Movement Trying To Shut Them Down
But there is a movement out there trying to shut them down, and that is literally what we see going on in Michigan. This Attorney-General saying, I don’t care if this helps kids or not. I don’t like them being exposed to faith-based things and being exposed to families with a mother and a father.
I don’t like that, so I’m going to set aside the law. That’s the kind of stuff that really should cause Americans to stand up and say hey wait a minute. That’s not what you’re supposed to do as an Attorney-General. You’re supposed to uphold the law not substitute your own personal opinions for it.
This Is Why We Like to Bring Issues Like This To Our Listeners
And that’s why we love bringing these programs to the notice of our listeners because we know what’s going to happen.
People in Michigan that are listening to our program, they’re going to make the calls they’re going to call legislators, they’re going to call the AG’s office. They’re going to give the support where it’s needed in the right places. We like highlighting this, and we like teaching the truth of what actually works in a culture.
It’s interesting there. There are things you put in place in a culture, certain principles that you put in place, and they produce good results. There are other principles you can put in place that actually destroy the culture.
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