Americans United for Separation of Church and State President and CEO Rachel Laser issued the following statement in response to the U.S. District Court in South Carolina today ruling against AU’s client Aimee Maddonna, a Catholic mother of three who was rejected by a government-contracted foster care agency in South Carolina because she’s the ‘wrong’ religion:
“Foster care agencies working on behalf of the government should not be allowed to discriminate against prospective foster parents because they don’t live according to one narrow set of conservative religious beliefs. Religious freedom can never be a license to discriminate. Americans United is fighting to ensure that good and qualified people like Aimee Maddonna and her family, who wanted to help children in need of loving homes, are never turned away because they fail to pass a taxpayer-funded agency’s religious test.
“The court’s reasoning and application of recent Supreme Court precedent is erroneous. This opinion is the latest example of lower courts struggling to make sense of the wreckage left by the U.S. Supreme Court overturning decades, even centuries of precedent in so many critical areas, including religious freedom and church-state separation. This hard-right turn forces lower-court judges to become mystic historians who must divine the conservative bloc’s next whim in their crusade to allow religiously motivated harm to others. We are reviewing today’s decision with our client to determine our next steps.”
Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.
Associate Vice President of Communications