Ep. 04: On the Regs: Faith-based regulations from the Trump administration

Mar 12, 2020

This year, the Trump administration released proposed regulations impacting faith-based organizations that partner with the government. But, the story has gone largely unnoticed by the media, and it can have huge implications for people receiving government services. On this episode of Respecting Religion, Amanda Tyler and Holly Hollman discuss the history of government partnerships with faith-based groups – including “Charitable Choice” and the faith-based initiative office under President George W. Bush (6:07). They also explore the new Trump administration proposals and three major points of concern that could undermine the religious freedom rights of those who often receive government services (21:13).  In the final segment, Holly and Amanda discuss how religion has been discussed during the Democratic presidential primary and what this means about how religion is respected in our conversations (36:45).

Show notes:

Segment 1: The history of charitable choice, the faith-based initiative, and long-standing partnerships between the government and religious institutions (starting at 1:15)

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives under the Bush administration was sometimes abbreviated “WHOFBCI,” which some pronounced as “Woof-book-ee.”


Segment 2: Comments on the proposed regulations and three major points of concern (starting at 15:30)

You can read information about the final rule issued in 2016 that extends religious liberty protections to beneficiaries at this link.

The book by Melissa Rogers that Holly recommended is Faith in American Public Life. Rogers served as the chair of the task force and later as the head of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships during the Obama administration.

For more on BJC’s comments on the proposed 2020 regulations, read this post on our website. Our comments for the various agencies are pretty similar – here is a direct link to our comments on the regulations in the Department of Veterans Affairs.

For additional resources and commentary, visit BJConline.org/resources and click on the “Government Funding of Religious Organizations” category.

Links to some of the comments discussed:

Comments from the Coalition Against Religious Discrimination (CARD):  https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=HHS-OS-2020-0001-20893

Comments from Melissa Rogers: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=HHS-OS-2020-0001-22690

Comments filed by Christian Legal Society and National Association of Evangelicals: https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=HHS-OS-2020-0001-21174


Segment 3: Where did we see religion in our world? The Democratic presidential primary campaign and religion (starting at 36:45)

Each week, Amanda and Holly talk about where they see religion in the world around us and what they are reading.

Amanda mentioned a Deseret News article by Kelsey Dallas titled “Why should the Democrats talk about faith if half of the country isn’t listening?

Amanda mentioned this clip of Elizabeth Warren from a CNN Town Hall talking about religion that often circulated on Twitter.

Amanda mentioned exit polling in New Hampshire regarding how frequency of church attendance correlated with who people voted for in the primary. Read more in this Religion News Service article by Jack Jenkins: “Klobuchar wins over New Hampshire voters who attend religious services

Amanda also mentioned Brian Kaylor, a researcher and Baptist journalist who has often written about these issues and decried the lack of polling data about religion on Super Tuesday. Read his recent Twitter thread here.

Holly mentioned a Washington Post article by Sarah Pulliam Bailey titled “Buttigieg’s candidacy made being openly gay and Christian normal, LGBT activists say.”

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