Miracle Hill Ministries, Social Services Agency in South Carolina, Denies Turning Away Jewish Woman Because of Its Christians-Only Foster Care Policy

Miracle Hill Ministries, a Christian social services agency that runs South Carolina’s largest and most respected state-funded foster care program, denied a report that they turned away a Jewish woman as they await an exemption from the Trump administration to keep accessing government funds while having a Christians-only policy.

Beth Lesser, a Jewish woman in her 50s, told the Forward, a Jewish-centered publication, in October that she and her husband were turned away by Miracle Hill while participating in a child mentorship program for prospective foster parents.

“Miracle Hill won’t even let a Jewish person take a kid out for ice cream while they wait for a home,” Lesser, who has no children of her own, told the publication. “What did they think I was going to do, force feed them latkes?”

In an interview with The Christian Post this week, Sandy Furnell, Miracle Hill’s, communications director, said her agency does not prevent anyone from becoming a foster parent and did not specifically turn Lesser away.

“The reality is, Miracle Hill’s existence does not prevent anyone from fostering. Anyone who wants to foster can do so through their local department of social services that is available to anyone regardless of religion, sexual orientation, whatever the case may be. No religion, whatever.

“We are not preventing anyone from becoming a foster family in this state. We are simply adding to the pool. It’s our special mission that we have,” she said. “It’s because of who we are and this is what we choose to do according to our faith.”

Furnell explained that Lesser was trying to become a mentor with a local organization called Fostering Great Ideas which is a Miracle Hill partner. Fostering Great Ideas works to improve the experience for every child in foster care.

She said Lesser was trying to mentor, not foster, through Fostering Great Ideas. When she went to the mentoring training at one point the leader of the training divided the participants into different religious groups to assign them to organizations that were in line with their religious values.

Lesser said, however, that she felt discriminated against in the program.

“I was the only Jewish person,” she told the Forward. “It was humiliating to be told essentially, Christians over here, Jews over there.”

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair