TYLER: Today’s action marks a “dramatic and troubling shift”

For Immediate Release: January 23, 2019
Media contact: Cherilyn Crowe / ccrowe@BJConline.org / Office:  202-544-4226 / Cell: 202-670-5877

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a waiver to South Carolina’s Title IV-E Foster Care Program, allowing a government-funded foster care agency to discriminate against potential foster care parents based on religion. The request for the waiver came after Miracle Hill Ministries denied a Jewish woman the opportunity to participate in its foster care program.

In response, Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, issued the following statement:  

“The BJC opposes government-funded religious discrimination. Today’s action signals a dramatic and troubling shift. This waiver shows more concern for the providers than children in need and willing foster parents.

While the government often partners with private religious entities in ways that meet pressing social needs, it must do so with respect for boundaries that separate church and state and protect religious liberty for everyone. Government-funded placement programs should not be allowed to exclude qualified foster parents based on religion.”

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Based in Washington, D.C., the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty is an 83-year-old religiously based organization working to defend religious freedom for all people and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition.