Image courtesy of Creative Commons

Government allows S.C. foster care group to keep Protestants-only policy

A room in one of Miracle Hill’s three group homes for children in foster care in South Carolina. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

(RNS) — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued an exemption that allows all foster care agencies in South Carolina to disregard an Obama-era regulation barring religious discrimination in federally funded foster care programs.

The exemption will allow Miracle Hill Ministries, a Greenville-based Christian ministry, to continue to accept only Protestant, churchgoing parents to its federally funded foster care program, which recruits, supports and helps train parents to be licensed by the state to foster children.

“By granting this request to South Carolina, HHS is putting foster care capacity needs ahead of burdensome regulations that are in conflict with the law,” said Lynn Johnson, assistant secretary for the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services, in a statement issued Wednesday (Jan. 23).

A sprawling ministry that runs homeless shelters, thrift stores, drug-recovery programs and a foster care agency, Miracle Hill is the largest provider of care to the needy in the Upstate, the 10-county westernmost region of South Carolina, along the Interstate 85 corridor.

The ministry employs 352 people and has an annual budget of $17 million. That includes about $600,000 in state and federal money for  its foster care program.

While the ministry serves children of all faiths, it will only recruit, support and help train Protestant parents because it considers them to have a “spiritual influence” on children.

“We are an arm of the Protestant church,” said Reid Lehman, Miracle Hill’s CEO. “We exist to be a mission arm of Protestant churches and to proclaim Protestant faith. It’s not a judgment or an exclusion. It’s simply that we’re going to be consistent with that.”

Miracle Hill CEO Reid Lehman, left, and Brenda Parks, foster care director, announce the HHS ruling in a video. Photo courtesy of Miracle Hill


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The government exemption, or waiver, was requested by Gov. Henry McMaster after he learned that the state had informed Miracle Hill that it might be violating the new law if it continued to deny non-Protestant couples from its foster care program.

But the ministry received a raft of negative publicity after a Jewish woman named Beth Lesser complained that Miracle Hill would not allow her to mentor a child living in one of its three group foster homes.

Mentors, like foster parents and other Miracle Hill employees, must sign a doctrinal statement confessing belief in Jesus.

Under Miracle Hill's policies, not only Jews are rejected. Muslims, Hindus and atheists are also barred from fostering or mentoring children in the nonprofit's programs; so too are Catholics.

“I am greatly blessed and much relieved that after a very long wait a decision has been rendered,” Lehman said in response to Wednesday's decision.

The exemption comes as South Carolina's foster care system faces a crisis.

A chapel on the grounds of a Miracle Hill group home for children in Pickens County, S.C. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

The state has too many children in foster care and too few families to care for them. It is under a court mandate to fix chronic problems in the foster care system, including a drastic shortage of foster homes, excessive caseloads and a failure to provide basic and necessary health care to kids.

At last count, there were 4,624 children in foster care but only 2,786 licensed foster providers, according to the state Department of Social Services. Of those, about 230 families have valid licenses through Miracle Hill. The state contracts with 11 foster care agencies.

Until January 2017, foster care agencies and some other federally assisted programs falling under Title VI of the federal code could not deny parents the right to become foster parents on the basis of race, color or national origin. In his final days in office, President Obama expanded the law to include religion, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lynn Johnson speaks in September 2018. Photo by Christopher Smith/HHS/Creative Commons


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

Miracle Hill's foster care agency had been operating under a provisional license for nearly a year.

The government’s decision to now exempt religion in some cases without rescinding the regulation was couched as a religious freedom issue.

“The government should not be in the business of forcing foster care providers to close their doors because of their faith,” Johnson, the assistant secretary, said. “Religious freedom is a fundamental human right.”

In essence, the government followed the logic set out in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a professor of law and the director of the Family Law and Policy Program at the University of Illinois College of Law.

HHS found that Miracle Hill was under a substantial burden by the new regulation, which stipulates that foster care agencies cannot discriminate on the basis of religion. And it also found that there was a compelling reason why the government should want as many foster care agencies as possible placing children in homes. And finally, the government found that there was a less restrictive means of achieving that end, by referring non-Protestant parents who want to foster children to other agencies.

“Without rescinding the regulation, they’re saying RFRA pushes it to the side,” said Fretwell Wilson, referring to the government.

But she also predicted the exemption would be challenged.

Image courtesy of Creative Commons


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

"I think it will be litigated. And that’s unfortunate.”

Already, more civil rights groups quickly issued statements opposing the exemption.

“This is yet another example of the Trump administration using religion to advance a regressive political agenda that harms others. And this time, the target is not only religious minorities but also our most vulnerable children – those in need of loving homes,” said Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

The Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism also condemned the government’s decision. In a statement, it said religion has no impact on a person’s ability to love and care for a child.

South Carolina’ Catholic minority, comprising about 5 percent of the state’s population, has grudgingly accepted that Miracle Hill will not hire Catholics or allow them to enroll in its foster care program.

“Catholics in the Upstate of South Carolina learn very quickly that significant numbers of our neighbors who are deeply committed disciples of Jesus, do not think that we are,” said the Rev. Jay Scott Newman, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Greenville. “That’s just a fact of life. They are part of a Reformation tradition that still regards Catholicism as a false religion.”

An exemption to the federal rule, Newman added, might make sense, even as he would like to convince Miracle Hill it is mistaken about Catholics.

"Within their worldview, all this makes perfect sense," he said. "We do our best to live in a peaceful and productive and neighborly way with them."

The front office of Miracle Hill Ministries in Greenville, S.C. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron


 This image is available for web publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

 

Comments

  1. Special rights for certain Christians. You know, the special rights they are always claiming gay people want.
    If they are getting tax payer dollars, then we’re right back to special rights for a certain type of Christian.
    If they are not getting taxpayer dollars, it is fine with me– well, apart from the fact that there are already not enough adoptive parents for so many kids who need to be adopted and have forever families. On the other hand, I doubt there has ever been a time when “save the children” was anything more than a slogan for the Christian right, useful to raise funds and attack other people.
    It will be interesting to see how this special right to discriminate on the basis of religious belief will play out in the courts. Right now, it looks like discrimination on the basis of religious belief, which is a big no-no in the civil rights Act of 1964. But we know that that is what Christian Right actually wants: their own special version of sharia.
    Call it Chrisharia. I know I will.

  2. More correctly, putting kids first and kissing the LGBT lobby’s -ss second.

    After Obergefell v. Hodges, which actually invented a whole new definition of marriage to create special rights, this doesn’t rise to the level of a hiccup.

    And, no, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does NOT prohibit this since the agency is not a hotel, motel, restaurant, theater, or other public accommodation engaged in interstate commerce.

  3. I guess it is useful for Catholics who voted for Trumpism to find out that their new government supports those who exclude Catholics.

  4. How is “Protestants only” that different from “whites only?” More and more, both as individuals and within groups, we’re building walls around ourselves to keep other people out. I don’t understand how any person who calls his or her self a Christian can justify that kind of behavior when Jesus’ last prayer on earth was that we all be one. I just don’t.

  5. There is no better way to protect children from some of the immorality in this world, than what is being done. They may participate in it later in life, but, they will always be able to return home, from whence they came.
    Christians are all to be one, not the world

  6. I’d like to protect children from the immorality of your insufferable sanctimony, Sandimonious. I see you’ve changed your name, by the way. Following Bob Arnzen’s lead, are we?

  7. Not at all. I moved. Like it or not, children need to be protected from immorality. When you have something substantive to say, get back to me

  8. In the law govt, and govt money, cannot choose one religion over others or religion over irreligion. It also includes one religious sect over others.

    We’ll see how the new biblical supreme court sees this. very scary.

  9. If they want to engage in sectarian discrimination like that, so be it. Just not on the state government’s dime. Nobody ever should pay for their own discrimination.

  10. They can do it on their own dime. They have no right to use government funding and referrals then.

  11. Blatant violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the 1st amendment!

  12. That’s my (red) neck of the world. Trump Country. Except for the big cities we don’t see many Catholics and they don’t care much for them. Again, except for in the big cities, our Protestants tend to be Evangelical Baptists and conservative Methodists.

    “While the ministry serves children of all faiths, it will only recruit, support and help train Protestant parents because it considers them to have a “spiritual influence” on children.”

    That is one insulting, arrogant and dismissive attitude.

  13. No. Sadly our motto is now ‘Got Meth?’, which is why so many children are in foster care.

  14. They used the well known ‘burdensome regulations’ excuse to violate and circumvent Title VI. We’ll see what the courts say.

  15. So you agree that non-Protestant Christian parents should be excluded? Catholics are Christians after all – the originals for 13 centuries.

  16. Obviously the LGBT exclusion doesn’t bother but what about the assertion of these Christian elites that Catholics are unfit to impart a positive “spiritual influence” on kids?

  17. I suspect the “No Jews” thing is gonna bring a lawsuit and massive negative publicity for South Carolina. This isn’t 1930’s Germany anymore.

  18. Nothing says freedom like sectarian discrimination.

  19. What about it?

    Is that one of exceptions to the First Amendment?

  20. Nope.

    Racism and bigotry are immoral, indiscrimination is foolish.

  21. If the basis for attacking the permission is a legal one, cite the legal basis for your objection.

    What you appear to be pointing to is a religious belief.

  22. Actually it supports the First Amendment.

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 does NOT apply since the agency is not a
    hotel, motel, restaurant, theater, or other public accommodation engaged
    in interstate commerce.

  23. “We’ll see what the courts say.”

    Super, that about wraps up the discussion.

    We can pick it up a year or so down the road.

  24. As the fact you’re posting – and in English – demonstrates this was never 1930s Germany.

    That took place on another continent.

  25. “That is one insulting, arrogant and dismissive attitude.”

    So, given both the RNS official pundits and a large percentage of the comments on their scribblings, you’re saying the attitude fits right in?

  26. No problem with this.

    I would also expect Jewish, Catholic, Orthodox, and Muslim agencies to be free to similarly serve their own clientele.

  27. As usual, Mark/Bob, the aspiring Sublime Poobah and Grand Inquisitor, just doesn’t get it, that religious discrimination should not be subsidized by all of the taxpaying public. Mark/Bob seems unfamiliar with the First Amendment and the thinking of Jefferson, Madison and Franklin.

  28. Mark/Bob again shows his ignorance. Is he also anti-Semitic?

  29. Mark/Bob claims to be a Catholic but seems not to mind that Catholics (and Jews, Muslims, Unitarians, etc.) are discriminated against in this case.

  30. OK, Mark, you’ve made your point and spouted your opinion too many times–just shut up.

  31. They would certainly exclude Episcopalians, AKA Anglo Catholics.

  32. I wonder if there has been much research done on people who change their social media names, especially those who do so regularly. It is an interesting phenomenon. The ones I have come across – RD, BobBob, and now Sandi – all are quite conservative, and in RD’s and BobBob’s case a little paranoid. Is there a connection?

  33. Sandi cogently explains her name change below.

    It is what I suspected: she moved.

    Simple.

    I hope it was a good move for her!

  34. I don’t even see how you could have come to that conclusion

  35. Then the government should stop supporting the homosexuals with complaints and legal issues, Spud. No government money for them either.

  36. Why? The government are not beholden to your cult and their bigotry, disdain for civil liberties and opposition to rule of law.

    You don’t get to discriminate on the public dime. If the rights of others offends you, tough luck.

  37. And, the government is not beholden to those committing immorality, Spud.

  38. Of course it is. Look at our president and those who support him.

    There is nothing immoral about civil liberties. But discrimination is definitely immoral. Just because you claim God says so, doesn’t mean a thing. The government is not there to act as defender of your faith. Unless you are posting from Iran.

  39. “While the ministry serves children of all faiths, it will only recruit, support and help train Protestant parents because it considers them to have a “spiritual influence” on children.”

    So, the only way non-Protestant kids can transition out of the system is through forced exposure to Protestantism?

  40. Nope. You tried to change the subject. If Christians cannot be protected by government funding, the homosexuals and the other immoral should not be protected either. Simple as that

  41. Protecting them from the likes of you is a public duty!

  42. From someone who endorses immorality, your comment doesn’t surprise me Tater

  43. I only changed handles for 2 reasons.
    1. Once I used one close to my actual name and got doxxed
    2. When RNS switched to Disqus I had a pre-existing account

  44. You are saying my comment doesn’t surprise you, a reaction coming from someone who endorses immorality.

    Your admission is refreshing.

  45. Nope. I am saying you endorse immorality and hate civil liberties which are far from immoral.

    Nope. Protecting civil liberties is a government duty. Using government money to PROTECT the rights of its people.

    There is no right to discriminate, TO ATTACK people nor is it moral to demand government money to do so.

    Just because you think something is immoral or against God’s will, doesn’t mean I have to care. Religious freedom is like that.

  46. Read the article. Read what the Catholic priest said. Traditionally Bible fundamentalists hold that Catholicism, Judaism, etc. are false religions and their adherents will go to hell and anything adherents teach or exemplify that is in line with Catholicism rather than Bible fundamentalism is spiritually debilitating. The Bible fundamentalists only ally with Catholics, and vice versa, for political purposes, including denying basic citizenship rights to LGBT people, But that is not at issue here.

  47. I resemble that remark! But were not talking individuals arguing personal opinion. This is a Christian organization that has dismissed every non-Protestant Christian, let alone other religions. The result is that children suffer in the system when there are qualified parents waiting. Time to that millstone around your neck.

  48. Conservative Catholics are well aware of what the Bible fundamentalists teach about Catholicism, that it is a false religion and all Catholics, including their saints, go to hell. Catholics and Bible fundamentalists ally only for political reasons, including denying certain citizen rights to LGBT people and banning abortion. Interestingly Catholics do not organize politically to ban divorce, even though they think it is against Biblical teaching. Bible fundamentalists accept divorce despite what Jesus said about divorce. Both Catholics and Bible fundamentalists do not organize to kill adulterers even though that is commanded in the Bible,

  49. Yep. They violated but only the courts can stop them, if it chooses.

  50. If carried to its natural conclusion this policy could make a huge impact on how social services are delivered. The Federal, state and local governments rely heavily on religious affilated nonprofits to carry out all kinds of social services as well as research, education and medical assistance in lieu of a directly run government agency or college. Generally, under Federal grants an organization must certify it will not discriminate in who it serves or hires based on religion.

    There could be all sorts of discrimination based on religion in both employment and services offered. Many churches and other religious bodies are not ecumenical or tolerant of others even if the denominations are relatively close in theology. If the precedent set by this ruling is copied and expands, social services of all sorts will collapse or be nonexistent in many communities. Clients will need to know ahead which social service agency will serve them by religion. It can be much greater then a stereotypical Protestant /Catholic/ Jewish issue. How religious is someone? What are the fine points of a person’s own theology? Are they gay? Do they drink? Do they dance? Do they wear dresses above the calf? Do the go swimming with members of the opposite sex? How literal is their interpretation of the bible or their church leader? etc.!

  51. Not recognizing Catholics as Christians is just bad theology. But as a faith based organization, I cannot fault them for wanting to promote their faith. Just as a non-catholic student can attend a Catholic school without the school having to secularize, this isn’t an inherent problem.

  52. From their point of view an adherent of a false religion who show virtuous example is an evil influence. One of the big name Calvinist preachers of colonial Massachusetts said that the real enemy of their religion was not the non-church going sinner but the virtuous person indifferent to their religion.

  53. Are they wrong, that parents have a spiritual influence on their children?

  54. You don’t seem to disagree with what is being done. They are saying only Protestants can raise these children right.

  55. I don’t even see how you could have come to that conclusion

  56. Sure, and why not? If you think your faith is the best, you would be doing a disservice to have children be brought up in another faith.

  57. ” Protecting civil liberties is a government duty. Using government money to PROTECT the rights of its people.” Absolutely and protecting children should be a civil liberty.
    “There is no right to discriminate, TO ATTACK people nor is it moral to demand government money to do so.” Protecting children is not discrimination, or attacking people,Tater.

    As for saying that I endorse immorality, I would be surprised to think that you can see anything past your own. BTW – that’s called projection

  58. ” a reaction coming from someone who endorses immorality.” I already told you that your comment surprised me because of that reason.

  59. The reason being that you support immorality. You said it.

  60. Protecting children from you is a duty that needs to be taken seriously.

  61. Not only you Tater, the rest of those who approve of immorality, also.

  62. Drugs or not…
    This world is full of women whom a GOOD percentage of should just NEVER have children.

  63. “the rest of those who approve of immorality, also”

    Again you are saying you approve of immorality, speaking from your personal view.

  64. Right.

    Putting kids in foster care is plain mean.

    Better they sit in a holding area until folks who see things your way belly up.

    That sort of thinking strangled religious adoption agencies in the UK.

  65. First, you seem to be acting as though they are the only agency.

    Second, you seem to be saying that it is better the children NOT be placed unless and until an agency that comports with your views be found.

    Third, you seem to be unable to cite a specific statute or some other basis to censure them.

    Now, matters of taste are matters of taste, and I can certainly appreciate that you may disagree with others on matters of taste.

  66. You really need to work on your syntax. You keep telling me you support immorality.

  67. “Generally, under Federal grants an organization must certify it will not
    discriminate in who it serves or hires based on religion.”

    You’re missing the legal issues altogether.

    This is not a general grant to, say, a research facility or a college.

    Nor is what it does illegal.

    So, EXACTLY what is your legal objection, citing either statute or case, one or both?

  68. So, why is it after the pow-wow in Oklahoma and the ECT treatments, you babble?

  69. No, Anglo-Catholic is NOT a synonym for Episcopalian.

  70. I hope you were looking in a mirror when you typed that so I can upvote it.

  71. If it did not provide funding for this group, but did for another religious group who did not raise the same objections, it would be choosing one religion over another.

  72. No, there are other foster placement agencies with other criterion.

    Did you get the impression this is the ONLY foster care agency in South Carolina for some reason?

  73. I used to think I was writing to a petulant, little boy, so this is quite comical. Thanks Mark

  74. As a Canadian, why do you care about issues regarding the US government?

  75. Again, David, you think you are a psychic……..lol

  76. You know, that is one of the nicest things you’ve said to me. Blessings Tater

  77. Well, the Catholics did not vote for Trumpism at anywhere near the 81% of so-called Evangelicals who did, but still too many of them were on a crazy side in 2016. They are the ones who don’t even like their own Pope Francis. And you are correct that a desire to bash the LGBT people is at the root of all this, even more than abortion ever was.

  78. Name an organization that supports LGBTQ rights that receives US government funding.

  79. You are below stupid if you think Christians are commanded to kill adulterers.

  80. Protecting children from families that are Roman Catholic? Orthodox? Jewish? Buddhist? Muslim? Etc, etc, etc?

    Children are only safe in Protestant families?

  81. check a few income tax returns. Most can be checked online but then, you should know the answer to that – you think you’re psychic, David.

  82. No, I was told by others who post here that you live in Canada and are Canadian. Are neither of those true? Are you not Canadian? Do you not live in Canada?

  83. No, I’m not a psychic and have never claimed to be.

    As far as I know there aren’t any LGBTQ NGOs that receive funding from the US government. And that is the topic of the article these comments are supposed to be about. An NGO foster care organization that will only place children in the homes of Protestant families and receives US government funding in spite of the fact that it shouldn’t based on the current code in place regard discrimination.

  84. The foster care organization in question refuses to place children in any family that is not Protestant. What are they protecting children from in families of those other faiths?

  85. No it wouldn’t. The US government funding an NGO foster care agency that places children in the home of any family regardless of their religious faith, as the code requires, wouldn’t be choosing one religion over another. The government funding an NGO foster care agency that only places children into homes of Protestants is a violation of the code and lifts up, promotes, chooses Protestant Christianity over all other faiths or lack of faith.

  86. EXACTLY what “code” do you think requires that children be placed in the home of ANY family regardless of religious faith?

    And, yes it would.

  87. Ask them – no wait, doesn’t your crystal ball tell you?

  88. You claim to be every time you have made guesses about me.
    Well good then, let’s stop funding homosexuals

  89. I give up, you’re too childishly stupid to carry on an intelligent conversation.

  90. If a “Protestants only” rule is supposed to protect children from immorality, does that imply that Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and ordinary people who have no church connection are immoral? Does that imply that Protestants are moral by definition? This definition of “morality” simply doesn’t hold water.

  91. ”Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

    and this is government making a law respecting the establishment of this particular religion…

  92. Funny, I’ve thought the same about you for a long time now but since you’re psychic you would have known that

  93. Any and all opinions based on a god must be accompanied with evidence to prove that god – Until then – All your comments are useless.
    There are no gods….

  94. Ask what?
    Are you Protestant?
    Are you Christian?
    Are you a good person?
    If you ask and they tell you the “right” answer can you guarantee that they will be telling the truth?
    If you ask and they tell you the “wrong” answer can you be sure that they are unsuitable or just honest?

  95. Sandi, you haven’t answered the questions I asked. Nor have you confronted the difficulties in simply asking people an undefined question about their faith. Your mindless one-liner simply doesn’t cut it.

  96. then put a little thought into them.
    blessings Mglass

  97. Thanks for your blessings, but I have thought about it. There are real problems with your proposal. These problems can’t be batted away with glib one-liners.

  98. The First Amendment to the US Constitution for starters.

  99. He can understand what he reads. Something you should aspire to.

  100. Tell the religions – not us who call the religions the liars…

  101. The other reason this is bad is it increases the “balkanization” of America. Citizens shouldn’t have to go from tax-payer supported agency to agency to find one that serves “their kind”. We’re all supposed to be Americans and treated equally, especially where tax money is involved. Why should Jews and Catholics in South Carolina have tax money taken from them and given to organizations that will use that money to discriminate against them. All taxpayers should expect to be treated equally.

  102. Unless you have a court case to go with that, we appear to have nothing further to discuss.

  103. I would imagine the deity or deities see it differently.

  104. “Citizens shouldn’t have to go from tax-payer supported agency to agency to find one that serves ‘their kind’.”

    You certainly have every right to lobby your congressional representation to put that into a law or laws.

    At this point, however, no law like that exists.

  105. Generally religions call you who call religions liars fools, so it looks like a wash.

  106. Despite the fact that

    “Something you should aspire to.”

    has a capital letter at the front and a period at the end it is not a sentence.

    Your post should read:

    “He can understand what he reads, something you should aspire to.”

    Aspire to read and write English like you graduated from high school.

  107. So your position is that the government made a law?

    What law precisely is that?

    And it makes this the Established Church of South Carolina?

    When it will it begin funding its churches and ministers?

    No, it did not make a law and it did not establish a religion.

  108. Nope. What you are saying is that you believe opposing the LGBT lobby is “immoral”.

    Coming from an atheist that’s a rather amazing assertion.

    And, oddly enough, by granting this agency this permission it is protecting their civil liberties, in particular their First Amendment rights.

    And you use your personal opinion alone to assert a right TO ATTACK their civil liberties, to discriminate, and deny them monies.

  109. I find myself wondering if members of the LDS church will be allowed to become foster parents? They ARE a Christian church, as are the Catholics.

  110. Are you asking about those which receive direct funding or those who have tax exemptions (indirect funding)?

    Since “supports LGBTQ rights” describes advocacy, and advocacy cannot be federally funded, that appears to be a trick question.

  111. thanks, but I do just fine. Seems you have difficulties though

  112. If you understood my response…..well, maybe that is asking too much from you

  113. No, it was a question in response to her claim “If Christians cannot be protected by government funding, the homosexuals and the other immoral should not be protected either.” Since this is a conversation about an organization receiving federal funds to fulfill its mission/mandate I believed that she was sticking to the topic and making a claim for LGBTQ orgs receiving the same funding.

    However, I won’t be interacting with her in the future. I ask legitimate questions about her claims and she just plays games and smarts off. She’s too stupid to actually carry on an intellectually honest conversation.

  114. That was all your proof for your god??? A smart arsed remark??

  115. Yep – That is exactly what that means – it enforces a ‘state’ religion!
    Your inability to understand is just typical of the religious who insist on their fake gods ruling over others….

  116. …’imagine’… Very good – you are starting to get it finally!!!

  117. Except, of course, there is no law and there is no state religion.

    Other than that …

  118. If you composed as a question in response to her claim “If Christians cannot be protected by government funding, the homosexuals and the other immoral should not be protected either.”, you did not understand her assertion.

    In this case the Federal government has deleted an Obama-era rule to allow funding of an agency which performs a service for the state but limits its operations in accordance with its religious beliefs.

    This is consistent with Federal law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488 (November 16, 1993), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb through 42 U.S.C. § 2000bb-4.

    The law provides an exception if two conditions are both met. First, the burden must be necessary for the “furtherance of a compelling government interest.” Under strict scrutiny, a government interest is compelling when it is more than routine and does more than simply improve government efficiency. A compelling interest relates directly with core constitutional issues. The second condition is that the rule must be the least restrictive way in which to further the government interest.

    Similar laws are in place in several states.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_Religious_Freedom_Restoration_Acts

    Had you understood her comment, you would have immediately noted the many agencies which serve LGBT citizens, which is the flip side of the coin.

    The thought process of the Obama Administration was that religion did not belong in the public square but in home, synagogue, temple, church, or other religious meeting place. It wrote regulations to implement that view.

    This led to cases like Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Zubik v. Burwell, which the Obama Administration invariably lost, because American law does not hold that religion belongs only in home, synagogue, temple, church, or other religious meeting place.

    “She’s too stupid to actually carry on an intellectually honest conversation.” suggests your ability to engage those who disagree with you continues a downward trajectory which I began noting when you started the “stalking” tapdance.

  119. If you look at my comments on many of the articles of Yonat Shimron:

    https://pantheon-live.religionnews.com/author/yonatshimron/

    you’ll note my many comments noting omissions and errors in her articles.

    If it happened once in ten articles it would be errors.

    When, as you point out on this article it involves clear misstatements, and it also happens more often than not, I think it would be fair to conclude that her articles:

    – are op-eds rather than news reporting;

    – reflect a pro-Muslim anti-evangelical bias;

    – and should be identified as “Opinion” or “Column” at RNS rather than “News” as is done currently.

  120. Good to hear from you. I was concerned I hadn’t been clear enough and was pleased to see that I was.
    There is no arguing an anti-Christian bias – they support homosexuality and Islam here and it is only opinion

  121. So far National Catholic Reporter is in deep financial trouble, and Religion Dispatches is no more.

    People will read RNS if it presents as a fair and accurate reporter, even if it is biased one way or the other.

    Once it becomes clear it’s a transmission belt for propaganda, its customers will be solely LGBT aficionados and atheists.

    And that these days puts them in direct competition with the wild and woolies and out of the news market.

  122. From complaints I have read elsewhere on the RNS – we Christians have overtaken the RNS and taken it away from the homosexual readership. lol
    Keep up the good work. We’ll get people saved yet, Mark

  123. Please, tell which agencies serve the LGBTQ citizens?

    They didn’t delete anything from the Obama Era, they just ignored it in this case. Are there more Black Roman Catholics in the US or more Black Protestants? It was a Black woman who made the decision to ignore, I wonder where her faith lies?

    We haven’t had a disagreement because as anyone can see in the above comments, she hasn’t said anything intelligent in response to my sincere questions requesting clarity on her statement. Talk about stalking, why do you feel the need to jump in when I’m not engaged in a dialog with you?

  124. Baloney I was told that or baloney your Canadian living in Canada?

    I truly was told that.

  125. It’s what you are full of, my friend.
    Are you still gossiping about what others do in bed, or don’t? Or were you using your psychic abilities again, David?
    “The father really screwed up that son’s life. (And a few of his other kid’s lives.) My former boyfriend is married to a woman 10 years his senior. This is her second marriage. According to his fraternal twin brother, who lives about 10 miles from me, they have a sexless marriage and only have kids from her first marriage. “

  126. Their website states emphatically that their Christianity is based on Protestantism. They look deeply at the “testimonies” of both parents. Someone other than Protestant isn’t likely going to pass that scrutiny.

    Do you Sandi, have a firm testimony in the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of Mary?

  127. I am unaware of ANY Federal agency that does not serve LGBT(Q and A-Z if you wish) citizens. Are you?

    The Obama era regulation contradicted the Federal law, a law which was on the books since 1993.

    As to “she hasn’t said anything intelligent in response to my sincere questions requesting clarity on her statement”, this again illustrates deteriorating ability to engage in discussion with those with whom you disagree.

    As to “Talk about stalking, why do you feel the need to jump in when I’m not engaged in a dialog with you?”, EVERY SINGLE COMMENT YOU MAKE is subject to comment, critique, debate, contradiction, or raspberries.

    You agreed to that when you signed into DISQUS.

  128. My reading is that the discussion are more balanced and the trolls from JoeMyGod, the former National Catholic Reporter Comments, and “Friendly” Atheist get the pushback they deserve.

    I don’t see it as a Christian forum, but a much fairer and more intelligent forum.

  129. Nope.

    This agency does NOT fall into any of the categories specifically enumerated, all in interstate commerce and commercial enterprises.

  130. “Their website states emphatically that their Christianity is based on Protestantism.”

    So what?

  131. So – no evidence here – just your standard theist excuses for not having any evidence….

    next…..

  132. This is – under legal definitipon – a ‘law’/regulation/rule etc; and yes – to objective and honest people – the establishment and protection of one bellief system.

    [you don’t make the definitions here….]

    btw – there are no gods…. [just try proving your god exists…..]

    next…..

  133. Yes, it is asking too much to find meaning in your flippant one line answers. Instead of acting the smart aleck, what about ex[plaining why you think the “Protestants only” policy is good.

  134. A;a, B;b…… Trying to teach you how to read m, instead of arguing with me.

  135. Read what? Your mindless, smart aleck responses tell me nothing, except that you are rude and arrogant.

  136. thank you….had you acknowledged the response I gave you twice, you wouldn’t have felt free to try to insult me all this time, and in reality, that was your intent. Blessings.

  137. I stated: “If a “Protestants only” rule is supposed to protect children from immorality, does that imply that Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and ordinary people who have no church connection are immoral? Does that imply that Protestants are moral by definition? This definition of “morality” simply doesn’t hold water.”

    You replied, “Ask them.”

    My question is directed to you, not “them.”

    You have never responded to the question I posed to you.

    Why?

  138. I asked you a question and you fobbed me off, telling me to ask “Them.”

    I accept that you cannot or will not answer my question.

    Now I will ask a simpler question: “Who are the “Them” that you fobbed me off to?

    Over to you, Sunshine.

  139. Going to hell of course. They are in the business of proselytizing first and foremost. They’d rather keep these kids in group homes, children from all backgrounds who are wards of the state, then place them in loving Jewish, Catholic, Atheist, etc homes.

  140. Sandi, you asked me to “Ask them,” but you haven’t told me who they are.

    Again, who are they?

  141. Two days have gone by without an answer. For the third time, who are you asking me to ask?

  142. Something I’ve talked about for many years are sectarian differences within Christianity and how they erupt from time to time. I could cite numerous historical examples of sectarian conflict, e.g. the Thirty Years War and the Troubles in Ireland, but that hardly seems necessary, because they’re so brazenly obvious. 

    Still, I find I have to cite them, because they’re often ignored. 

    Christians, you see, often do a good job of making “common cause” and talk about “Christianity” as though it’s a single entity. But it’s not, and it never has been. As far as can be determined, based on the records available to us, Christianity has always been a collection of different movements

    This facade is effective with regard to relations with non-Christians, especially in the political realm. In particular, the Religious Right movement (which was launched by the Southern Baptist Convention) has done a good job of embracing members of other Christian sects. The idea that “it’s we downtrodden Christians against the wicked secularist world” has been a successful propaganda technique. For example, America’s R.C. bishops have joined with them in their relentless march toward a Christocracy — even though there are stark differences between them (not including the fact that there’s a centuries-old schism separating them). 

    This has led me to warn Christians I know who think “the Religious Right” is a righteous movement, especially those who’re Catholic, to be extremely careful. In the end, they all have much less in common than they think. If they can somehow establish the Christocracy they want, the sectarian holy wars will inevitably erupt. It will cease being “Christians vs. non-Christians,” and become “So which of us are real Christians?” The R.R. is a child of evangelical Protestantism and remains its toy; once it has total power, non-Christians will be their first targets, but soon after, Catholics and Orthodox Christians will end up in their crosshairs. And the results of that will be a bloodbath. 

    But wait … there’s more! 

    Once the US is a Protestant paradise, it’ll no longer be enough just to be a Protestant. Various sects will be targeted, for whatever reason can be dreamed up. One by one … or perhaps, group by group … they’ll be persecuted relentlessly as the Christocracy works its way toward a kind of “Christian theological purity.” It will, essentially, never stop, because Christianity is a wide enough field that one can always come up with differences of practice or belief to argue over. 

    We see, in Miracle Hill, one group of Protestants that threw away the facade of “‘common cause’ Christianity” and has already made clear that some Christians are more “Christian” than others. This is the actual truth of how most Christian sects operate: Each views itself as “the ‘Real’ Christianity” and all others as “false,” to one degree or another. Miracle Hill has blown off the facade and exposed this harsh reality. 

    It’s a lesson all Christians should learn, even if most will refuse to do so. More’s the pity. 

  143. And so the Roman Catholic Christians are forcing there one world agenda on the world.

  144. Who in the F#%K is ‘Them’?
    Or is THAT asking to much from YOU?

  145. There’s a reason he’s your ex. Honor that reason & spare us the details. Nobody cares.

  146. I think it is rather commendable on their part to stand by their conviction; especially given the depravity of trafficking and abuse that seems on going in other major religions.

    Then there is the baker decree from SCOTUS which essentially says the organization has the right to practice the tenants of it’s religion without infringing on yours – i.e. if you want to be a practicing Protestant, great, if not, that is fine; but don’t expect us to celebrate your lifestyle choices. And what greater celebration of life than raising a child?

    Bravo South Carolina.

Leave a Comment