Oh, so, this was a segment on the Daily Show on Monday night. The video is here if you want to watch it to get the whole story. But, basically, this Muslim woman applied to be a foster mom. And the agency she applied to turned her down, and in the letter they sent back, told her that she was being rejected as a foster mom because she refused to serve pork in her home.
Wait, wait, let that sink in. Take a moment. I'll wait.
Now, of course, this is only a short segment, and we don't get every little bit of information. However, let's assume that there's nothing else that would make this woman a bad candidate for being a foster parent. Let's just give her the benefit of the doubt, okay? So...because she will not serve pork, which is not a requirement for life or anything, she is denied. Any children that she might have taken in and given a loving, supportive environment are just s.o.l. because she won't serve them pork. What about alcohol? I'm certain that she also explicitly stated in her application (since she had to say something about the pork) that there would be no alcohol in her home. Why not mention that? Oh, because it's a *good thing*. No alcohol is good, for kids who are perhaps coming from places where they've been removed due to a parents alcohol/drug abuse issues. But pork! Pork is a god given right! Pork never did anybody any harm! (Tell that to the people who ate bad and undercooked pork and got brain worms.)
The woman says that she was a foster child herself, and all she wants to do is give kids like her a good place to be! Assuming, as we are, that there is nothing *wrong* with the situation, why in the hell is the lack of pork a disqualifying position? What if it was an allergy? A refusal to serve sea food because she (or someone in the house) is allergic to it? Would that be disqualifying? I doubt it. So...that means it's about religion. And that's just not right.
I've been thinking about this for a couple days, so bear with me. A good home is, I think the most important factor here for the kids. Why should it matter what faith the foster parents subscribe to? This woman, specifically stated that she would make sure the kids got to go to whatever church or synagogue or what have you that they wanted to. She doesn't appear to be attempting to convert children through osmosis in her home.
Let's say, theoretically, that I have married, had children, and then my husband and I have both died, somehow not leaving a guardian for our children, and they are sent into the foster system. I say (from the peanut gallery I realize), that I would rather have my children in a good home, regardless of the faith of the people taking care of them, than lost in the foster system, maybe going to people who will murder them and then hide their bodies and have the crime not be discovered for *decades* because the system is so over worked. But I get that that's a worst case scenario.
What about if I had assigned a guardian? Assume that my husband has no siblings, the grandparents are deceased, or incapable of taking in the children, and BabySis and her Hubby (theoretical) are chosen as guardians should something happen. Years go by, and they convert to Islam. I've thought about this, really - would I change the guardianship based solely on that fact? Assume that nothing else has changed. They've not left the country, we're still friends, they're still the same people I know. Only now they're Muslims. Would I still want them, more than anyone else I know, more than complete strangers, raising my children? Would I trust them to honor my wishes for my children's religious education? And I can say that I would trust them, still. If I trusted them enough in the first place, I don't see that their being Muslim would change that. I've considered the problem of faith by osmosis. Depending on how old the kids are and other factors, would they be drawn to Islam just because they're living in home where it is practiced? Maybe. But I'd still rather Muslims that I know and trust than people of whatever faith I don't.
I think my ending conclusion is that the religion (and the possible strictures thereof - fasting, no pork, no wine, no working on Saturday, etc.) of foster parents shouldn't be a deciding factor. There are so many other concerns! Assuming that they are not crazy people who will do actual harm to the child they can be Jewish, Muslim, Amish, Hindu, Pastafarian (the worship of the Great Spaghetti Monster in the Sky - may the blessings of his noodly appendages be upon you), Baptist, Anglican, Evangelical, non-denominational, Orthodox, Catholic, *whatever*.