Child Adoption Across Religious Lines

45th Council
November 1959
Miami Beach, FL

In recent years, many Americans have sought to adopt children of a different religious origin than their own.

From this situation, the question has arisen whether the State may properly impose a religious test upon the adoptive parents.

In some communities, inter-religious controversy has resulted.

We, therefore, deem it appropriate to make the following declaration:

It is entirely proper from the Jewish religious viewpoint to incorporate into a Jewish family a child of non-Jewish birth.

Since, however, Jewish religious tradition regards any child born of a Jewish mother as fully Jewish, we understand why other religious groups may similarly desire to retain within their denominations children born to mothers of their respective faiths. We protest, however, against the use, officially or unofficially, of the power of the State to carry out this religious objective. Such a religious objective should be striven for through the influence of each religious group upon its own adherents. The use of the power of the State for such a religious objective is a violation of the principle of separation of Church and State.