CBN News first broke the news on Friday that the Trump administration is proposing a move that would allow faith-based adoption and foster care providers to receive federal money without compromising their beliefs on traditional marriage.
A senior White House Official confirmed to us that Health and Human Services would be introducing new federal rules detailing that faith-based groups only need to adhere to nondiscrimination provisions passed by Congress, not any previous agency regulations. Back in 2016, the Obama Administration added sexual orientation language to an HHS rule, forcing faith-based groups to choose between their biblical beliefs on marriage or receiving federal money to serve their communities.
"This Administration is committed to doing rule-making right, and to removing regulatory barriers that prevent non-profits from doing what they do best—serving the needy and vulnerable in their communities," according to this Senior White House Official. "The Administration is also fully committed to preserving the religious freedom rights of faith-based organizations, and we are proud to announce this proposed rule today doing just that."
Since the new rule would apply to only laws passed by Congress, that means faith-based groups would have to comply with the three main federal laws on equality: the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. All of them protect citizens against religious discrimination but none of them mention sexual orientation.
In the days before President Obama left office, HHS added the controversial regulation with language covering sexual orientation. The Trump Administration rule would make that regulation null and void. Currently, if faith-based groups want to apply for federal funds, they must request a waiver from the Obama rule. The proposal, that will be announced Friday, is the first step in the regulatory process. There will be a time for public comment before it goes into effect. It is expected to be challenged in court.
This move should not come as a shock to those who have followed President Trump's directives closely. The White House has moved to protect medical workers who, due to their religious beliefs, want to opt-out of procedures such as abortion and assisted suicide. They also took action to make sure religious businesses can choose to not enroll in health insurance plans that cover contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs.
As for protecting the rights of faith-based adoption and foster care providers, Trump has been very clear. At the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year in Washington, Trump gave a hint of things to come. "My administration is working to ensure that faith-based adoption agencies are able to help vulnerable children find their forever families while following their deeply held beliefs," the president remarked. It's a controversial issue as lawmakers, think tanks, and advocacy groups grapple over whether faith-based groups should be funded by the federal government if they choose not to place children in the homes of same-sex couples.
What isn't controversial is that there is a foster care crisis in America – 443,000 children are in foster care and about 100,000 are waiting to be adopted. For the last five years, the foster care crisis has continued to get worse. The Trump administration believes the new rule will make it easier for faith-based agencies to stay in business and with this crisis boiling over, that's vital to the well being of hundreds of thousands of children. In the past, the administration has pointed to certain cities that saw foster care problems increase substantially after prohibiting faith-based agencies from taking part in their efforts.