In Maryland, a Muslim woman applied to become a foster parent. During her youth, 26-year-old Tashima Crudup grew up in the foster care system. Having a positive experience with her foster family, she wished to become a foster parent so she too could provide a stable home like the one she had been given.
Like all foster parent applicants, Crudup was fingerprinted, given a background check, credit check, and completed 50 hours of training classes conducted by the state-authorized foster agency, Contemporary Family Services (CFS). She passed all these tests with flying colors, yet, her application to be a foster parent was denied after her in-home interview. Why was she not allowed to provide a home to one of the many children waiting for that opportunity? Crudup does not serve pork in her home.
In an interview with the Daily Show correspondent Wyatt Cenac, Crudup reads the letter she received from the foster care agency denying her application. In the letter, the agency writes, “We are denying your application because of your explicit request to prohibit pork products within your home environment.” In the letter, the agency also states that they “must above all ensure that the religious, cultural and personal rights of each foster child placed in our care are upheld.”
In her interview with the Daily Show, Crudup states, “I just wanted to be able to help children because I would be able to relate because I was in the same situation as the child. There are other religions like Christians and Jews who also do not allow pork and they get foster kids all the time.” She believes she was denied not just because she does not serve pork, but because she is a Muslim who does not serve pork.
In her interview, Crudpup also expressed that “As a foster parent, I will respect any child’s religious preference or choice. If they want to go to church, they can go to church. If they want to go to a synagogue, they can go to a synagogue.”
The show mocked the CFS’s decision by creating a segment called “Pork or Parents?” where they asked four foster children if they would prefer pork, or parents. Of course, all the children choose to have parents. While the Daily Show denounced the CFS’s decision with comedy, the state of Maryland and the ACLU are taking the issue very seriously and is embarking on further steps to change the attitude of the CFS.
According to the ACLU website, the state of Maryland documented the incident with a citation. In the citation, the state of Maryland noted “Contemporary Family Services’ ultimate documented decision to deny Ms. Crudup foster parent certification based on her religious belief to prohibit pork products within the home is a violation of … COMAR 07.01.03.03.”
In addition to the state of Maryland’s citation, the ACLU has filed a complaint with the Baltimore City Community Relations Commissions, calling the CFS denial of Crudup discrimination based on her Muslim-faith. The ACLU is now demanding that the CFS “acknowledge its error in denying Tashima Crudup a foster care license based solely on a religiously-based prohibition on pork and to pledge not to discriminate in future decisions.”
According to Voices for Children, a foster parent agency in San Diego, there are approximately 7500 children in the foster care system in San Diego alone. There is little doubt that these San Diego foster children would gladly give up bacon in return for a stable family.