January 24, 2019
The media made a big deal about the problem of family separation at the border (an issue that was largely unreported under Obama but has now been resolved). But no one ever talks about how the Trump administration has worked to bring families together. And the story of Miracle Hill Ministries is just one example of how this White House has fought to do exactly that.
Unlike Barack Obama, President Trump doesn’t think the government should put adoption agencies out of business for their beliefs. South Carolina’s Miracle Hill has placed kids with Christian parents for 30 years — and that was never a problem, until recently. Right before Obama left office, the ministry came under fire for its policy of putting children with Bible-believing couples. Although Congress is working on a more permanent solution, Obama’s regulations meant that Miracle Hill wasn’t eligible to apply for grant money under the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The government should not be in the business of forcing foster care providers to close their doors because of their faith,” argued HHS’s Lynn Johnson. “Religious freedom is a fundamental human right.” Fortunately for Miracle Hill, they have an advocate in South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster (R), who’s been fighting for a waiver for the group since last February. “The licensing and participation of faith-based entities in the state foster care system is a constitutionally-protected practice,” he pointed out. “It is important that religious organizations not be required to sacrifice the tenets of their faith in order to serve the children of South Carolina.”
This week, after 11 months of holding its breath, Miracle Hill got the news it was waiting for: the Trump administration had lifted the licensing requirement — to the cheers of Governor McMaster and pro-family advocates around the country. “By granting this waiver, President Trump and Secretary Azar have shown the entire world that, as Americans, our fundamental right to practice religion, regardless of our faith, will not be in jeopardy under this administration. With young people in need of stable foster homes throughout our state, I am determined to protect each and every one of the Child Placing Agencies that have been called to help us fill those needs.”
Congressman Mike Kelly (R-Pa.), who’s introduced a bill called the Child Welfare Inclusion Act to protect faith-based groups on a national scale, celebrated the president’s decision to put religious freedom first in foster care. But, he points out, “There is still an urgent need to fully protect all faith-based adoption and foster care agencies in every corner of our country from unfair discrimination by states and localities. In Pennsylvania, faith-based agencies are currently being told to change their sincerely-held religious beliefs or shut down.” To hear what he had to say about it, check out our conversation on today’s “Washington Watch.”
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), the House’s ranking member on Ways & Means, acknowledged that there’s “still work to do,” but promised that he and other conservatives are “committed to fighting for every foster and adoptive child and those parents seeking to grow or start a family.”
Article reproduced from FRC notice, authored by
Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.
For more from Tony and the Family Research Council, go to www.frc.org