In the final months of his presidency, Obama’s administration enacted a policy forcing faith-based organizations – particularly adoption agencies – to apply for special permission to receive Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funding.
Now, President Trump replaced the discriminatory regulation with a more favorable ruling.
The original argument made in favor of the Obama-era adoption policy suggested there should be a separation of church and state.
In support of this argument, the defense was made that the First Amendment (“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”) is understood to imply a separation of church and state, as explained by the Founding Father and Third US President, Thomas Jefferson.
However, it’s never been a convincing argument in the case of faith-based adoption and foster-care services.
While the original reasoning was the state should not supplement organizations that turn couples away due to religious reasons, the Obama-era regulation infringed on the First Amendment by seeking to prohibit the free exercise of religion.
The type of couples most affected by the policies (old and new) are, of course, those who are part of the LGBT community. Responses to President Trump’s move (proposed October 31) from within the said community are mixed.
Some feel it will reduce the number of available foster homes by allowing organizations to reject applicants based on their sexual orientation, both legally and with federal backing:
“Religious liberty is not a license to discriminate. The needs of children in our foster care system must come first,” tweeted the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in opposition to the rollback.
Perhaps ironically, this is actually what happened when the Obama-era policy was first enacted, as Evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic establishments were the most affected once local governments and states began enforcing the (hence labeled) anti-Christian regulation.
In fact, many of these establishments suffered heavily without the ability to receive federal grants from HHS, to the point where they ultimately had to close their doors.
Others, however, recognize that fact and are not in opposition to Trump’s demolishing of the discriminatory policy.
Allowing faith-based organizations to self-regulate applicant acceptance or rejection doesn’t negatively affect anyone’s overall ability to adopt, as there remain secular alternatives.
On the contrary, in the words of Russell Moore (Wall Street Journal), it takes “a major step toward addressing the problem” of “proxy culture wars” that ignore the “welfare of children.”
Federal funding will allow faith-based foster care and adoption agencies to better facilitate the process of finding suitable homes for the children they represent.
A Daily Caller video columnist, Stephanie Hamill, agreed with Moore’s assessment when speaking with Shannon Beam of Fox News @ Night:
“Charities shouldn’t have to choose between their religious views and beliefs, in putting that before helping the needy.”
Similarly, Andrea Picciotti-Bayer, legal advisor and spokesperson for The Catholic Association Foundation, said:
“Agencies that find loving foster and adoptive homes shouldn’t be subject to ideological shakedowns by the government.”
Trump’s rollback will prevent such shakedowns by allowing these organizations to continue providing their much-needed service without having to forego their faith-based belief in the traditional view of the family unit as a married man and woman and its positive effect on children in the home.
Regardless of what the opposition might say, it’s clear President Trump is making the right move for children reliant on faith-based organizations to find a loving family.