The Trump administration is taking yet another step towards making it easier for taxpayer-funded organizations to use religion to discriminate. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a formal request for information to help it figure out how to remove “barriers” it claims faith-based organizations face when seeking taxpayer funding from HHS. It also asks how to “affirmatively accommodate” the religious exercise of faith-based organizations.
When President George W. Bush took office, his administration set about to change the rules for how the federal government funds faith-based organizations to perform social services, like running soup kitchens, job training programs and homeless shelters. He established the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which worked with agencies across the federal government to weaken the longstanding church-state protections that had applied to these programs.
President Barack Obama’s White House website stresses that he is a civil rights president who is “leading the fight to protect everyone – no matter who you are, where you’re from, what you look like, or who you love.” Yet, the president continues to enforce a policy that allows taxpayer-funded religious discrimination.
Proposed regulations released today by nine federal agencies will bring about necessary reforms to the rules that apply to partnerships between the government and faith-based social-services providers, Americans United for Separation of Church and State says.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) died early this morning, and with his death, the last of a generation has passed from the U.S. Senate. At 89, he had been the oldest member of the upper chamber and the last to have served in the Second World War.
The end of the year is a time for lists. You’re probably seeing a lot of them – “25 Best Books of 2012,” “10 Overlooked Movies,” “What’s Hot and What’s Not” or whatever.
Along those lines, here’s a list of the Top Ten Church-State Stories from 2012 (listed in no particular order):
With all of the talk about the U.S. debt ceiling, it’s sometimes easy to forget that other issues are out there. Even as he attempts to strike a deal to keep America solvent, President Barack Obama continues to address other topics.