Yesterday, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed a new rule that would allow federally funded adoption agencies — and every other program that receives taxpayer funding from HHS, like Head Start and services affecting the homeless and elderly — to discriminate against same-sex couples. The rule, which actually reverses an Obama-era rule that prohibited such hate, would allow Christian ministries to receive taxpayer money while discriminating against the very people they’re supposed to be helping.
It’s government-sanctioned bigotry, brought to you by the Republican Party.
Tony Perkins, the Christian hate group leader who currently runs the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, praised the decision for allowing faith-based charities to “operate according to their religious beliefs and the reality that children do best in a home with a married mom and dad.” Perkins doesn’t give a damn if children have to wait longer to find a home because gay couples are automatically out of the running.
It’s not just same-sex couples, either. Under the rules, faith-based ministries could receive HHS funding even if they refuse to work with Jews, Muslims, and atheists.
Happy National Adoption Month, everyone…
Church/state separation groups were universally critical of the change, saying that the rule would only hurt people who have already suffered enough, in addition to blocking out perfectly capable parents just because certain Christian refused to work with them.
American Atheists called the rule a “cash cow to steer billions of dollars to religious extremists.” They also put forth raw numbers:
“Affecting 40% of HHS’s budget and totaling more than $500 billion in grants, this sweeping change subverts the law and destabilizes a huge sector of the economy,” said American Atheists’ Vice President for Legal and Policy, Alison Gill. “This will affect vulnerable people who rely on HHS-funded homelessness, HIV, and trafficking prevention programs, and much more.”
“This is yet another transparent attack on atheists, religious minorities, and LGBTQ people by this administration to pander to their Christian fundamentalist backers,” said Nick Fish, President of American Atheists. “HHS has abandoned its mission to care for all Americans and is instead being used as a cash cow to steer billions of dollars to religious extremists.”
Americans United for Separation of Church and State said it was a “new low” for this administration, which at this point is really just digging up the Mariana Trench.
“This proposed rule marks a new low in the Trump administration’s efforts to license discrimination against religious minorities and LGBTQ people. The rule would directly and gravely harm some of our nation’s most vulnerable people — children in foster care, senior citizens and youth experiencing homelessness,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United. “When it comes to discrimination based on religion, the Trump administration is saying it’s OK to ignore the Constitution. It’s never OK and we will continue to fight to uphold our core American value of religious freedom.”
AU filed a lawsuit earlier this year on behalf of a Catholic woman who wanted to serve as a foster parent but was rejected by Miracle Hill Ministries, a Christian-run foster agency, for being the “wrong” religion. The Trump administration said earlier this year that South Carolina agencies that received taxpayer money would be allowed to discriminate, despite the federal rules prohibiting it. What’s going on now would change the federal rules entirely, rendering the lawsuit moot.
Ultimately, this Christian-led change would make the 123,000 kids currently in foster care have to wait even longer to find a loving home since they have a smaller pool of applicants who can adopt them.
This is what conservative Christians are celebrating: The fact that their bigotry will keep kids in foster care longer than necessary. Cruelty is their faith. They want nothing more than the chance to discriminate against LGBTQ people, even if children are pawns in their culture wars game.
For what it’s worth, Democrat Elizabeth Warren said, if she’s elected president, she would overturn the rule change via executive order, then “restore critical Obama-era protections.” Other Democratic candidates echoed the same point.
The rule isn’t technically official yet. First, there’s a 30-day period when the public can comment. But this administration won’t pay attention to what people say as long as conservative Christians keep praising Trump for allowing their hate to be rewarded.
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