Naomi Schafer Riley—Defend the Orphan: An Age-Old Christian Lesson Gets a New Lease on Life

Posted by Kendall Harmon

If John McCain is looking for a way to shore up his support among evangelical voters, he might start talking about adoption. In 1993, the McCains adopted a daughter from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh, and the senator has co-sponsored legislation to aid adoption, including measures that would provide tax credits for expenses and would remove barriers to interracial and interethnic adoption. But his efforts are rarely mentioned on the campaign trail at a time when adoption is a hot topic in the evangelical community.

Earlier this month, Rick Warren, the best-selling author and pastor of the Saddleback megachurch in Lake Forest, Calif., asked both presidential candidates if they would consider some kind of emergency plan to help the 148 million orphans around the world, something along the lines of President Bush's AIDS efforts. Both said yes, but a number of Christians and their organizations are not waiting for the next administration to act.

Russell Moore, the dean of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., is the author of a forthcoming book called "Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches." A few years ago, Mr. Moore and his wife adopted two boys from Russia, and he notes that his church has posted a large map showing which countries member families have adopted children from. "In any given church," he notes, "you rarely see only one family who has adopted. . . . It becomes part of the culture of the congregation."

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Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilyReligion & Culture

4 Comments
Posted August 29, 2008 at 12:36 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. magnolia wrote:

i agree, every Christian for whom ‘Pro-life’ is their dominant issue should have a mandate to adopt.

August 29, 4:51 pm | [comment link]
2. Jane wrote:

Fascinating, Magnolia. So, do you think anyone with ‘gay rights’ as their dominant issue should have a mandate to marry someone of the same sex?

August 29, 6:42 pm | [comment link]
3. robroy wrote:

We are currently in China, adopting an older daughter. She is six supposedly. (They often misrepresent the true age. She can write her “hanzi” or Chinese characters much better than I, so we suspect she may be about eight.) Having been in an orphanage for the past three years, her manners are atrocious. Seeing her at the dinner table is quite a sight. Food enters her mouth at a prodigious rate by both hands. We clearly have some work to do. My sketchy Mandarin and her local dialect makes communication problematic. Fun, fun, fun!

A religion that is pure and stainless according to God the Father is this: to take care of orphans and widows who are suffering, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

August 29, 8:36 pm | [comment link]
4. Jane wrote:

My earlier comment, in case it wasn’t clear, was meant to point out that it is ridiculous to think that supporting one of God’s basic rules - even having it be your ‘dominant issue’ - shouldn’t “mandate” that you adopt.  Adopting requires things like being in good health, having a bunch of money, a good job, a spouse who also enjoys good health, and a slew of lesser things like a house with a fenced yard and the right configuration of bedrooms.  It is nuts to start claiming that everyone who has a conviction for how important being pro-life is must back it up by adopting.  Not everyone is able or called to do that.  I do think we are all called to be pro-life. 
  Robroy - congratulations on that little girl!  I’m looking forward to hearing more about her!

August 29, 8:55 pm | [comment link]
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