Democrats wage war on religious institutions in time for the holidays
As families across the country come together for important religious holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah, Democrats continue to attack religious freedom. By forcing all faiths to uphold the progressives’ new “awakened” religion, lawmakers find themselves out of step with the courts and the millions of families who depend on faith groups for critically important services.
The week before Thanksgiving, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it had revoked waivers the Trump administration had given to three states. Because of the waivers, faith-based organizations could continue to receive federal dollars to provide adoption services, while respecting non-discrimination provisions in a manner consistent with their religious beliefs. But with the revocation of the waivers by the Biden administration, residents of South Carolina, Texas and Michigan may now have fewer agencies available to meet their needs.
At the same time, lawmakers on Capitol Hill have worked to force religious organizations to choose between participating in new federal child care programs or violating their religious beliefs. The bill passed by House Democrats on Nov. 19 would apply a host of federal laws to “any program or activity” receiving funds under the new child care regime.
These requirements would impose significant philosophical and other conflicts on religious organizations participating in the child care program. They could change course content, ban hiring preferences for instructors of the same religion, and force groups to undertake costly renovations to dilapidated buildings. In addition, a separate ban on the use of funds “for buildings or facilities that are primarily used for sectarian education or religious worship” could prevent arrangements such as daycare in a church basement.
Democrats take hard line despite court ruling
While some Democrats, like West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, seem understandably sympathetic to the plight of religious organizations, others have taken a harder line. The New York Times reported that ahead of the House vote on the bill, a group of lawmakers led by Speaker of the House of Education and Labor Representatives Bobby Scott, D-Va., Had wrote to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi asking her to “oppose any effort to withdraw or amend” the provisions in question.
Democrats’ actions in the legislative and executive branches come about six months after the judiciary delivered a unanimous verdict in favor of religious freedom. Last June, the Supreme Court overturned the City of Philadelphia’s refusal to contract with Catholic Social Services because the latter only provide adoption services to heterosexual couples, in accordance with its religious beliefs.
Chief Justice John Roberts then noted that the First Amendment prohibits Congress from legislating to prohibit the free exercise of religion: “It is clear that [Philadelphia’s] actions hurt [Catholic Social Services’] religious exercise by choosing to restrict its mission or to approve relationships incompatible with its beliefs.
Sabotage their own wellness expansion
Democrats’ insistence on forcing faith-based organizations to conform to the progressive belief structure not only undermines the Supreme Court’s recent heartfelt cry for religious freedom; it can effectively sabotage their plans to expand the welfare state. A recent survey by the Bipartisan Policy Center found that more than half (53%) of households that purchase child care daycare services used a faith-based organization. If these claimants feel that they cannot participate in the new federal program in a manner consistent with their beliefs, working parents may be entitled to benefits in theory but not in practice.
Religious organizations have also strongly signaled that they cannot respect the language of the House as it is currently written. A spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said the demands “will be detrimental to our ability to participate,” and the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America agreed: “There are details that will deter, if not make impossible, faith based providers to participate.
In recent years, Democrats have shown an overwhelming desire to expand the welfare state, amid equally strong pressure to undermine religious freedom, forcing faith groups to conform to secular values. The fact that these two movements now find themselves in direct conflict is testament to the authoritarian nature of progressivism on both fronts and the need for the courts to curb the increasingly strong encroachments on individual values and beliefs that define the left. modern.
Mary Vought resides in Virginia with her husband and two children. You can follow her on @MaryVought.