ACLU: Foster mother rejected for not serving pork

Baltimore Sun:

ACLU: Foster mother rejected for not serving pork

In July, Crudup — a practicing Muslim — contacted Contemporary Family Services, a private company authorized by the state to place foster children with families. She cleared an initial screening process and completed 50 hours of training classes for prospective parents. But after a home visit, her application was denied.
The main reason: She doesn't allow pork in her house.

Shocked, Crudup contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, which filed a complaint Wednesday with the Baltimore City Community Relations Commission, claiming religious discrimination.

"I have a hard time believing [the company] denies every vegetarian or Orthodox Jewish person a foster care license," said Ajmel Quereshi, an attorney with the ACLU. "But I do believe Mrs. Crudup was picked out here … and it has led us to believe an anti-Muslim bias is playing a role in the decision."

Crudup said she didn't realize her dietary habits were a concern for the placement company. The food she serves her children was among dozens of topics that came up during a daylong interview in August 2009.
Even though she doesn't allow pork in her house, Crudup said she told the caseworker she would have no problem with children in her care eating the meat at school outings or restaurants.

I don't know if it's discrimination at work, but don't parents have a right to decide what kids are allowed to eat? What if she said I never allow sugar in my home?

This is outrageous and blatant discrimination. Pork isn't allowed at my house either, and I would pit the intellegence, health, and well-being of my vegetarian daughter against ANYONE at CFS.

Miz

The adoption agency defends itself:

Corey Pierce, chief operating officer of CFS, said the decision to deny Crudup's license was not based on religious belief but rather the behavior she displayed during her three interviews.

"It wasn't about religion, it wasn't discrimination," Pierce said.

"It was the fact that during her interview process, she showed that she was inflexible, is the best word that I can use to describe it."

blog.beliefnet.com/news/2010/04/muslim-woman-denied-foster-car.php

WJZ spoke with Corey Pierce, the CEO of the company, Community Family Services, Thursday afternoon. He says it's not about the pork saying, "She was very obstinate and very unyielding when it came to her position about pork. We require a high level of flexibility with our foster parents. The issue is with the inflexibility, not the pork."

"If, in fact, there are other things that's the case, then that's not information we received," said Elyn Jones, Maryland Department of Human Services.

wjz.com/local/Md.ACLU.Foster.2.1635904.html

And the would be adoptive mother explains her side a bit more:

The 26-year-old mother of five said she was asked a number of questions seemingly related to her Muslim faith by the representative of Contemporary Family Services, a private agency authorized by the state to certify foster families. She said she was also asked if her husband had plans to take a second wife and how she would handle visits from a foster child's boyfriend or girlfriend.

"It didn't alarm me at first because when people learn I am Muslim they often ask about the pork and wives," Crudup said. "I said I wouldn't want teenagers having boyfriends in my home unless I was there and then I said I wouldn't allow pork in my home because we don't eat it."

hometownannapolis.com/news/reg/2010/04/15-17/Woman-says-foster-agency-rejected-pork-free-home.html

It should be noted, however, that she is not legally married to the man she identifies as her husband.

From the same story:

WJZ spoke with Corey Pierce, the CEO of the company, Community Family Services, Thursday afternoon. He says it's not about the pork saying, "She was very obstinate and very unyielding when it came to her position about pork. We require a high level of flexibility with our foster parents. The issue is with the inflexibility, not the pork."

"If, in fact, there are other things that's the case, then that's not information we received," said Elyn Jones, Maryland Department of Human Services.

I'm not sure what "inflexibility" means in this context -- "these kids are going to follow my rules?" That could go either way since you're dealing with kids who need structure but also may have been abused and need understanding.

Would the worker have made the same judgment if she said she had an inflexible curfew or limited TV time?

Yes. That sounds like a bogus, post hoc rationalization to me. Sure “inflexibility” sounds like a better excuse, but when it comes down to it, it’s inflexibility about pork.

Anyone with any sort of conviction is going to be inflexible about some minor thing like that. I’m inflexible about putting the new toilet paper roll up after you’ve finished the last one. I’m also inflexible about soda, and meat during Fridays on Lent.

People with religious and ethical convictions in particular are going to be more “inflexible” about certain things than others. The court’s not going to buy that excuse for a minute.

Why would they even ask a prospective foster parent if they would serve pork? What the heck kind of question is that??? Who cares?

[quote="mini_me640, post:6, topic:195127"]
Why would they even ask a prospective foster parent if they would serve pork? What the heck kind of question is that??? Who cares?

[/quote]

That's the point! It's like asking a Catholic: "Do you allow meat on Fridays of Lent?" And then rejecting them when they say "absolutely not" because they're inflexible. It's hard to discriminate against people outright these days, but there are always more "subtle" ways of doing so.

“It wasn’t about religion, it wasn’t discrimination,” Pierce said.

“It was the fact that during her interview process, she showed that she was inflexible, is the best word that I can use to describe it.”

Horsepucky.The inflexibility arguement is a pseudo rationalized excuse to deny anyone who is forthrightly Faithful in their religion the right to Foster.In my home we do not eat meat on Friday.Period.It is a discipline no longer required by the Church but some form of penance is and this one is easily remembered and adhered to.Ergo we would be rejected for “inflexibility” which is a secular codeword for "religious nut"
I hope she sues their pants off for zillions which she can then donate to the cause of her choosing.

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