Good news coming out of South Carolina for faith based organizations! The Department of Health and Human Services announced the implementation of a new waiver – the religious liberty waiver, which allows religious institutions to continue receiving federal funding and operating with faith-based missions.
Obama-era regulations put strict limits on the funding religious organizations could receive for their work in the community, simply because faith was part of the mission. At the end of 2016, the Obama Administration sought to expand the law by further limiting which philanthropic organizations could receive government funding and keep licensures. This caused many of these philanthropic groups to close their doors, taking away many resources that members of the community relied on.
The Governor of South Carolina, Henry McMaster said the motivating reason for requesting the waiver was for the 4,000 foster children in South Carolina. “We are thankful for the wonderful Child Placing Agencies that assist in recruiting foster families to serve these children. I write on behalf of South Carolina’s faith-based organizations that are called to serve and fill the crucial role of Child Placing Agencies,” he said in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services. “The Supreme Court has made clear faith-based entities can contract with the government without having to abandon their sincerely religious beliefs.”
Taking away federal funding from religious schools, foster care organizations, and welfare providers is religious discrimination. South Carolina’s example of providing these waivers ensures that faith-based organizations can continue their operations in the community to the same degree secular organizations can. We look forward to the list of states who will follow suit in cases like this!