Washington, D.C. — On Monday, the Trump administration published a new regulation that removes requirements for federally funded faith-based health and social service providers to inform clients about services they don’t offer for religious reasons or refer them to alternative providers. As the Center for American Progress noted after this regulation was first proposed: “The White House alleged that the intent of this effort was to ensure that ‘religious organizations can compete on a level playing field for funding,’ but it in fact allows religious organizations competing for federal funds to opt out of requirements other social service organizations are obligated to follow.” In response, CAP experts issued the following statements:
Maggie Siddiqi, director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at CAP:
This far-reaching regulation will harm the missions of 10 different federal agencies. The government directs taxpayer funds to faith-based and other nonprofit organizations for the purpose of better serving the American people—not for the purpose of funding religious organizations. The Trump administration has repeatedly politicized religious communities by claiming to specifically direct funding toward their social service work—a clear violation of the separation of church and state—all while reducing overall funding for social services. Let it be clear: The sole objective of this regulation is to remove critical protections for the government’s intended beneficiaries and to send a message that religious organizations can discriminate against religious minorities, LGBTQ people, or women. Individuals in desperate need of housing assistance, access to health care, job training, food assistance, and other critical services may be denied the right to access those services simply because of who they are or how they choose to pray.
Sharita Gruberg, senior director of the LGBTQ Research and Communications Project at CAP:
The Center for American Progress submitted detailed public comments opposing these changes, and the Trump administration has still failed to substantively address these concerns as required under the law. This regulation prioritizes religious exemptions to the law for taxpayer-funded faith-based service organizations while eliminating requirements to ensure access to critical services. The administration alleges that no one will lose access to services as a result of the regulation and dismisses the tremendous amount of evidence that shows the negative impact on LGBTQ people and others. But it is hard to imagine any alternative consequence of this regulation. In fact, it seems likely that this is the intended outcome.
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