Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Evangelicals start nonwhite adoption push?

Last year there was an AP article making the rounds on how evangelicals are trying to promote adoption, in part to answer criticism that while they oppose abortion (excuse me, I mean they're "anti-choice") they don't care about unwanted children.

Prominent evangelical Christians are urging churchgoers to strongly consider adoption or foster care, not just out of kindness or biblical calling but also to answer criticism that their movement, while condemning abortion and same-sex adoption, does not do enough for children without parents.
The article doesn't mention whether race is being discussed in this context, but perhaps it should be. On more than one occasion, I have seen a commenter named Bruce B. at VFR mention the growing trend of white evangelical couples adopting nonwhite children. This is something I have seen in my own circles as well. Usually it is done after the couple already has a few biological children of their own; that is, they "round out" their family by adopting a nonwhite child, but sometimes in the case of fertility difficulties the couple will adopt nonwhite right off the bat.

If one were being cynical, one might say that their motivations are pecuniary in nature; we all know that it is much more expensive to adopt a white baby than a nonwhite, thanks to the laws of supply and demand. One would be wrong, however, for the demand among these white evangelicals is very much for nonwhite babies. A couple in my church adopted a toddler from India, after having talked for some time about how they felt God was calling them to do so, and about their frustration with the obstacles they were encountering (to put it bluntly, India wants its orphans to be adopted by Indian parents, not white ones.) If they had had the money, they could have more easily adopted a higher-demand white baby, and they certainly could have spent less and had less bureaucracy to deal with if they had been willing to spring for a nonwhite American baby. But they really wanted an Indian child.

Evangelicals these days are quite enamored of Revelation 7:9-10, which reads:
After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb."
This is taken to be not only a picture of heaven but a picture of the one unified world we should be striving for on earth. And as I have said elsewhere, their "love for other cultures" usually involves a negative attitude toward their own culture. Another couple in my church adopted a little boy from Thailand, and one Sunday the wife gave a testimony about it. In it she expressed reservations about having brought the boy from a land of deprivation and spiritual darkness into the land of X-Boxes and other forms of material excess. This kind of statement is quite common from missionaries as well, this idea that, while they don't have Jesus, non-Western cultures overall are to be commended for their greater authenticity or down-to-earthness.

I don't know whether there is yet any formal movement within evangelicalism to advocate for adoption of nonwhite babies by white couples, but the trend is there. Just one more reason why, contrary to popular belief, evangelicals aren't reliably conservative.

4 comments:

Dr.D said...

This application of the passage from Revelation appears to me to be an attempt to force the Lord's hand, to make His final triumph come about in our time, rather than in His time. It looks like these folks are trying to take charge, rather than letting God be God. That is a dangerous route to say the least.

Vanishing American said...

The fact that the people described in that passage from Revelation are STILL organized by peoples, kindreds, and tongues actually, to my mind, argues against this 'one world' blending that so many people are forcing.

I think this is a widespread agenda among evangelicals; I've noted it's happening a lot in my town which is rather small and homogenous (so far). But we have Christians who have adopted several Haitian children, others have adopted from Africa or otherwise brought Africans here to go to school, and some have adopted Guatemalans. At our recent little town festival, these children were very visible.

Hermes, it's true that evangelicals are no longer reliably conservative in a political or social sense. Even those from churches which at one time were conservative in every sense are now caught up in the 'emergent church' movement, and although I've shied away from everything to do with that -- which makes it hard, as most churches here have gone down the Warren path -- I don't doubt they are pushing such an agenda. It would fit right in with their one-world emphasis.
-VA

Hermes said...

Good point. If everyone did what they advocate, intermarried and adopted foreign children, in the end there would only be one tribe and nation. I just don't think they think that far ahead.

Once I was at a Bible study and I mentioned an article I'd read that was critical of Brian McLaren, the "emerging" church leader. The article recounted an anecdote where McLaren was approached by a visiting couple after one service and asked what the church's stance on homosexuality was. The first think he did was to ask them why that was important to them. In other words, he was dodging the question. When I brought this up, a middle-aged woman present--not even one of the younger twentysomethings you might expect to be more liberal--said she thought that was perfectly appropriate. The overarching concern is to appear "loving" and humble, so as to reach people and lead them to Christ.

I think we've reached a point where the evangelical movement believes not just that individuals coming to personal faith in Jesus Christ on a one-by-one basis is the most important thing in life, but that it's the only thing in the world that matters at all. Consequently, we're starting to see the younger generation of evangelicals go soft on even the "core" moral issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. They say they still believe that the Bible says those things are wrong and that they believe them to be wrong, but they also say we can't impose morals from the top down through law, it doesn't work and it reinforces the stereotype that Christianity is mean and judgmental, individuals have to reach those convictions one-by-one through the Holy Spirit, and--here's what I believe most significant--they don't think having public traditional moral norms makes any sense anyway, because they can't conceive of such a thing as a Christian society, only Christian individuals.

I may have to do a separate post on that sometime.

Ana Baptist said...

Are you in favor of non-whites having abortions? How about if there was a child conceived from interracial rape in your family? Would you still love that child?