Written by Don Byrd

The Trump administration today issued a waiver that affects Miracle Hill Ministries, a faith-based foster care service that receives federal funding. The exemption will allow the Greenville, South Carolina, organization to discriminate on the basis of religion.  An Obama administration regulation barred such discrimination by organizations that receive federal funds, but today’s move by the Department of Health and Human Services grants South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster’s request for a waiver.

The Baptist Joint Committee’s Executive Director Amanda Tyler quickly spoke out against this decision:

“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.”

According to the Greenville News, Miracle Hill previously rejected a Jewish woman’s bid to mentor foster children with Miracle Hill, solely because of her faith. The waiver issued today allows Miracle Hill to maintain a Christians-only policy for those who wish to participate as foster parents or otherwise work with the organization, despite receiving taxpayer funds to support the program.  Is that how government funds should be used?