Church banned from providing free meals under US poverty scheme

A church in California has launched legal action after its childcare centre was blocked from providing free meals to low-income families over its biblical stance on sexual ethics.

The Church of Compassion, which runs Dayspring Christian Learning Center, used the US Government’s Child and Adult Food Care Program for nearly 20 years until it refused to implement new “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” anti-discrimination requirements, which violated its statement of faith.

The Church argued that implementing the policies would force staff to affirm a child’s gender-confusion, allow boys to use female-only spaces and prohibit the church from only employing staff who adhere to the Bible’s teaching on marriage, sex and gender.


The church’s legal papers stated: “The government does not have the authority to force religious institutions to compromise their deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs and practices about human sexuality”, which were “uncontroversial for more than 2,000 years and continue to be held by most major world religions”.

It said the new requirements “send the message to houses of worship and other religious entities, that organizations that maintain traditional and/or biblical beliefs about human sexuality are second-class institutions, outsiders, and not full members of the community”.

The government does not have the authority to force religious institutions to compromise their deeply and sincerely held religious beliefs

Jeremiah Galus, Senior Counsel at US religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom, which is supporting the case, added: “Ironically, in the name of combatting discrimination, government officials have excluded the church and preschool from serving the El Cajon community based solely on their religious beliefs and exercise.

“This is antithetical to the First Amendment’s promise of religious freedom and only hurts needy families and children.”


Last month, a US Christian adoption agency was awarded $25,000 after New York State officials made another attempt to penalise it for only placing children with a married mother and father.

In 2021, officials investigated New Hope Family Services after a homosexual man complained that it would not allow him to adopt after it responded to him with general information, including its policy that it cannot place children with unmarried or same-sex couples because of its religious beliefs.

New Hope Family Services agreed to settle the case, only one month after it was awarded $250,000 in separate legal action against the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, which had threatened to close its adoption programme if it refused to place children with cohabitees or same-sex couples.

Also see:

Pro-life US churches awarded $1.4m after refusing to fund abortions

Teacher sacked after sharing marriage beliefs during staff training

Religious literacy among civil servants ‘woefully inadequate’, report says

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