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Christian parents fight for the right to adopt some foster kids to spank: ‘Whoever spares the rod hates his son’

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A Massachusetts couple claim they’re victims of religious discrimination because the state won’t allow them to adopt foster children because they spank their own kids.

Gregory and Melanie Magazu sued the Department of Children and Families after their application was rejected because they admitted to using corporal punishment.

“It’s been hard because (being a foster parent) is something that’s been in my heart, that I’ve wanted to do for a long time,” said Melanie Magazu — who grew up in the foster care system herself.

She and her husband, who are members of Grace Reformation Bible Church, were turned down in 2013 because the state does not allow foster parents to use corporal punishment, as the Magazus do with their own three children.

“Because of the significant trauma children in DCF care may have experienced, Department policy requires that foster parents agree not to use physical punishment as discipline,” said department spokeswoman Andrea Grossman. “This couple was denied as foster parents based on their use of corporal punishment on their biological children and the negative effect that could have on foster children.”

The state argues that many foster children come from abusive homes, so exposure to spanking and other corporal punishment could be traumatizing — but Gregory Magazu said that’s how he shows his Christian love.

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“I could see a child coming in our home, seeing discipline handled in a loving and correct way, could actually be beneficial to a child who’s been abused,” Gregory Magazu said.

The couple agreed not to spank children in their care as foster parents, but they could not make the same promise if they choose to adopt the children.

“We don’t even spank our kids if we’re angry, so there’s no anger involved,” Melanie Magazu said. “These kids are coming from homes where there’s a lot of anger.”

Their lawsuit claims the state has violated their religious beliefs.

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“The Hebrew and Christian scriptures tell us whoever spares the rod hates his son, but whoever loves him is diligent to discipline him,” said the couple’s attorney, David Bodanza. “DCF is saying that Christians and Jews need not apply.”

Their case is under consideration by the Supreme Judicial Court, and a ruling isn’t expected for at least three months.

“Our hopes are the justices will see that just because a family believes that spanking is (a) legit form of child discipline doesn’t preclude them from fostering and adopting children,” Gregory Magazu said.

He said the ban on corporal punishment isn’t fair.

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“Just deciding, well, because you spank, that’s it, you’re out, just automatically disqualifies a lot of families that could be fully appropriate to help with this huge burden we have here in Massachusetts,” Gregory Magazu said.

Watch this video report posted online by WCVB-TV:

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Trump’s first term: hits and misses

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"Promises made, promises kept," goes one of President Donald Trump's main 2020 reelection slogans. Is that true?

Here are some of the key policy hits and misses -- comparing his accomplishments to his promises -- from a tumultuous first term.

- HITS -

Economy:

The economy will be Trump's major selling point.

GDP grew 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019 and the last recession was a decade ago. Unemployment is at a 50-year low of 3.6 percent.

Trump's frequent claim that the economy is probably "the best" in US history is an exaggeration, though.

Economists see growing dangers, including exploding government debt and growing backlash from Trump's aggressive trade policies, especially with China.

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The racist roots of American policing

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Outrage over racial profiling and the killing of African Americans by police officers and vigilantes in recent years helped give rise to the Black Lives Matter movement.

But tensions between the police and black communities are nothing new.

There are many precedents to the Ferguson, Missouri protests that ushered in the Black Lives Matter movement. Those protests erupted in 2014 after a police officer shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown; the officer was subsequently not indicted.

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Ocasio-Cortez: ‘We’re going to fight to repeal the Hyde Amendment’

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) started a petition Saturday seeking to repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars the use of federal funds for abortions, arguing the restriction overwhelmingly harms low-income Americans and women of color. AOC emailed her supporters:

“Since 1976, our government has banned federal funding for abortion care — specifically, for Medicaid recipients. Countless studies have shown that due to this amendment, millions of women have been forced to go through with pregnancies that, given the funding, they would have otherwise terminated. "

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