Prof­its from At­lanta-filmed movie go to anti-LGBT groups

Faith-based ‘90 Min­utes In Heaven’ stars Hay­den Christensen, Kate Bos­worth

GA Voice - - Georgia News - By PA­TRICK SAUN­DERS psaun­ders@the­gavoice.com

Prof­its from ticket sales to an At­lanta-filmed movie ben­e­fit anti-LGBT or­ga­ni­za­tions. The faith-based movie, “90 Min­utes In Heaven,” stars Hay­den Christensen (Anakin Sky­walker in the “Star Wars” pre­quels) and Kate Bos­worth (“Su­per­man Re­turns”) and opened in the­aters na­tion­wide on Sept. 11.

The movie is based on the 2004 best-selling book by Don Piper, which doc­u­ments a near-death ex­pe­ri­ence he had in 1989. It is the first movie from Giv­ing Films, founded by Rick Jack­son, chair­man and CEO of At­lanta-based Jack­son Healthcare, the na­tion’s third-largest health care staffing com­pany. Jack­son is also the owner of the Fam­ily Chris­tian re­tail chain, which has over 250 stores across the coun­try.

Giv­ing Films do­nates 100 per­cent of the prof­its from its films to seven dif­fer­ent char­i­ties. A Ge­or­gia Voice in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed two of those char­i­ties have anti-LGBT poli­cies.

World Vi­sion, an in­ter­na­tional evan­gel­i­cal Chris­tian hu­man­i­tar­ian aid or­ga­ni­za­tion, is sup­ported in part by Giv­ing Films. It gen­er­ated just short of $1 bil­lion in rev­enue in tax year 2012.

The group found it­self in the cen­ter of con­tro­versy last March af­ter chang­ing a long­stand­ing pol­icy and say­ing it would be­gin to hire peo­ple who were in same-sex mar­riages. How­ever, just 48 hours later, fac­ing a back­lash from sup­port­ers who threat­ened to pull do­na­tions, the group re­versed its de­ci­sion and went back to the pre­vi­ous pol­icy. World Vi­sion con­firmed to Ge­or­gia Voice that it con­tin­ues to deny em­ploy­ment to peo­ple in same-sex mar­riages.

Faith-based or­phan­age de­nies same-sex cou­ples the right to adopt

The Chris­tian Al­liance for Or­phans (CAFO) is, as the name im­plies, a faith-based adop­tion and foster care or­ga­ni­za­tion. It col­lected over $1 mil­lion in rev­enue in tax year 2013 and is sup­ported in part by Giv­ing Films.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from CAFO did not re- spond to re­peated re­quests for com­ment, but mul­ti­ple en­tries on the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s blog dat­ing back to 2009 show its op­po­si­tion to same-sex cou­ples hav­ing the right to adopt.

Oct. 2009: CAFO crit­i­cizes a bill that would ban gov­ern­ment part­ner­ships with adop­tion agen­cies who will not place chil­dren with same-sex cou­ples.

Jan. 2010: On a Chris­tian­ity To­day ar­ti­cle on “the politi­ciza­tion of adop­tion,” CAFO wrote, “The cur­rent Chris­tian­ity To­day car­ries an im­por­tant ar­ti­cle on the tragic grow­ing politi­ciza­tion of adop­tion, par­tic­u­larly as a re­sult of at­tempts by ac­tivists from the GLBT com­mu­nity to use laws and reg­u­la­tions to pres­sure faith-based adop­tion agen­cies to place chil­dren with gay and les­bian cou­ples. What pre­vi­ously was pre­sented by ac­tivists as an ef­fort to se­cure the le­gal right of GLBT in­di­vid­u­als to adopt is in­creas­ingly mor­ph­ing into an ef­fort to deny agen­cies the right to make place­ment de­ci­sions ac­cord­ing to their con­vic­tions on what’s best for chil­dren.”

Oct. 2011: CAFO de­cries a sit­u­a­tion in Illi­nois where the Depart­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices stripped an anti-LGBT adop­tion agency of its con­tract to pro­vide foster care ser­vices, say­ing, “Why turn the foster care ar­range­ments up­side down, dis­rupt­ing long-stand­ing con­trac­tual re­la­tion­ships and the suc­cess­ful re­cruit­ment and place­ment records of these faith-based agen­cies? Not be­cause gay per­sons or civil-union part­ners in Illi­nois oth­er­wise would be left out in the cold if they wanted to be­come qual­i­fied as foster care homes. Ev­ery­one ad­mits there are plenty of agen­cies more than happy to serve them. No, the con­tracts had to be stripped be­cause the gov­ern­ment in­sists that no pri­vate agency should be al­lowed to ex­er­cise a faith-based con­vic­tion that it is best if a foster child is placed with a mar­ried mother-fa­ther fam­ily... Such a con­vic­tion, to the gov­ern­ment, ex­presses mere in­vid­i­ous dis­crim­i­na­tion and it can­not be tol­er­ated.”

All the blog posts were still on CAFO’s web­site as of press time.

FaithBridge Foster Care is an Al­pharetta-based adop­tion and foster care or­ga­ni­za­tion sup­ported by Giv­ing Films. It col­lected over $2 mil­lion in rev­enue over­all in tax year 2013.

FaithBridge re­fused mul­ti­ple re­quests for com­ment on its adop­tion poli­cies, but on its web­site it states its “Po­si­tion on Moral­ity,” which in­cludes the line, “We be­lieve that the term ‘mar­riage’ has only one mean­ing and that mar­riage is sanc­tioned by God which joins one man and one woman in a sin­gle, ex­clu­sive union.”

‘All chil­dren de­serve safe, lov­ing par­ents’

So­ci­ol­o­gists have largely found that chil­dren raised by same-sex cou­ples fare no dif­fer­ently from those raised by op­po­site-sex cou­ples, and one study from 2014 by BMC Public Health even showed that chil­dren raised by same-sex cou­ples did slightly bet­ter “than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion on mea­sures of gen­eral health and fam­ily co­he­sion.”

A 2013 study by the Wil­liams In­sti­tute showed that more than 16,000 same-sex cou­ples are rais­ing an es­ti­mated 22,000 adopted chil­dren, and ap­prox­i­mately 2,600 same-sex cou­ples are rais­ing an es­ti­mated 3,400 foster chil­dren in the United States.

It is le­gal for same-sex cou­ples to adopt chil­dren in Ge­or­gia, although sec­ond-par­ent adop­tion laws vary by county and by judge. Sev­eral lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions, like CHRIS Kids, have adop­tion pro­grams that help place chil­dren with all cou­ples no mat­ter their gen­ders.

“We be­lieve that all chil­dren de­serve safe, lov­ing par­ents who are ded­i­cated to their wel­fare and that same-sex cou­ples can pro­vide the safe, lov­ing homes that chil­dren need and de­serve,” said CHRIS Kids CEO Kathy Col­ben­son. “We can’t imag­ine that any­one would want a child to grow up in foster care when a safe, lov­ing home with com­mit­ted par­ents is an op­tion.”

Ge­or­gia Voice reached out to rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Jack­son, Christensen and Bos­worth and did not re­ceive any re­sponses as of press time.

“What pre­vi­ously was pre­sented by ac­tivists as an ef­fort to se­cure the le­gal right of GLBT in­di­vid­u­als to adopt is in­creas­ingly mor­ph­ing into an ef­fort to deny agen­cies the right to make place­ment de­ci­sions ac­cord­ing to their con­vic­tions on what’s best for chil­dren.”

—A blog post from the Chris­tian Al­liance for Or­phans

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives for Kate Bos­worth and Hay­den Christensen did not re­turn re­quests for com­ment on their film ‘90 Min­utes In Heaven.’ (Cour­tesy photo)

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