The Biden administration has launched a “war” on “faith-based agencies” and a group of lawmakers led by Rep. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) is pushing back on what they view as outright persecution.
Norman, in an interview with Breitbart News, said that the regime is “at war with all faith-based agencies” — including foster and adoption institutions that wish to operate according to their religious beliefs but are now being penalized because of it.
The news outlet explained:
During an exclusive phone interview on Tuesday, the congressman discussed at length an effort he is leading with Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) and more than 100 other Republican lawmakers to pressure the Biden administration over its November decision to rescind waivers to faith-based adoption and foster agencies in South Carolina, Texas, and Michigan, which let them operate according to their religious beliefs by allowing them not to place children with same-sex and unmarried couples. The rescission, which has nationwide impact, means faith-based agencies will either be forced to forego their beliefs to obtain federal funding, or face closing altogether.
“This is not about the [faith-based] agencies, regardless of fact that [the Biden administration] wants do away with them. It’s about the children, and it’s about providing care. These children that are in foster care — and I’ve been on several boards that have dealt with this — are not there because they choose to be there,” Norman told the outlet.
“They’re there because of circumstances, and to take this away, to take the facilities away — because they’re strapped funding-wise, anyway — it’s just not right,” he added.
More than 100 lawmakers have sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra asking him to explain why he reversed the Trump-era waiver exemption, adding that it is going to have an impact on hundreds of thousands of kids.
“As you know, rescinding the waivers puts providers in these states in the untenable position of choosing between serving children under the Title IV-E foster care program or operating in accordance with the tenets of their faith – the same faith that drives them to serve children in the first place,” the lawmakers wrote.
“HHS should be welcoming child welfare providers, not excluding them. Children are too important to be pawns in political games,” they added in their letter.
Known as the Grants Rule, it was initially implemented during the Obama administration in 2016 mandating that no one should be excluded from HHS programs on the basis of age, disability, race, color, national origin, religion, gender, identity, or sexual orientation. Recipients were required to comply with the policy if they sought HHS funding.
The same religious-based organizations also faced losing funding under Obama’s rule, but when President Donald Trump took office, he said the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) actually entitled the agencies to receive protection from being excluded from the HHS program because of their faith.
Biden’s regime has since reverted back to the Obama interpretation.
“Today’s action supports the bedrock American principle and a core mission of our Department – to ensure Americans have access to quality health and human services. Our action ensures we are best prepared to protect every American’s right to be free of discrimination,” Becerra said in a statement released with the rule change on Nov. 18.
“With the large number of discrimination claims before us, we owe it to all who come forward to act, whether to review, investigate or take appropriate measures to protect their rights. At HHS, we treat any violation of civil rights or religious freedoms seriously,” he added.
But Norman said the rule change will affect hundreds of thousands of kids.
“This thing involves close to 410,000 children. They’ve got roughly 120 that are waiting to be adopted. It’s not like you’ve got a foster care agency on every corner that’s taking these children in,” Norman told Breitbart, in reference to an Administration for Children & Families’ annual Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) report.
“I think they’ve sold out to the extreme radical groups that don’t want any part of faith-based organizations at any level. That’s why we ask in the letter, ‘What career professionals did they talk to? How did HHS reach the decision?’ It did not just come out of the blue,” he continued.
“I would make the argument that these children are going to be persecuted without a family to go to,” he added.