A civil rights group is asking the federal government to deny a Greenville foster care agency which is seeking to only provide children to Christian couples.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) sent a letter Tuesday to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The department is considering a waiver requested by Gov. Henry McMaster on behalf of Miracle Hill Ministries, which works with the state of South Carolina. McMaster signed an executive order in March protecting the nonprofit’s ability to limit its families due to religious beliefs.
McMaster’s administration requested an exemption for Miracle Hill from an Obama-era regulation which bans publicly-funded foster care agencies from only serving certain religions.
ADL religious freedom counsel Dave Barkey argues that is unconstitutionally discriminatory. “The people who want to foster those children are qualified, but they’re not meeting some religious test,” he told South Carolina Radio Network. “That’s wrong and particularly egregious because it’s taxpayer money that’s supporting it.”
But McMaster’s spokesman said the governor is simply trying to protect Miracle Hill’s religious freedom. “The governor would fight just as hard on behalf of Miracle Hill if they were a Jewish organization, a Muslim organization or an organization of any other faith,” he said in a statement. “We need more organizations engaged in finding foster care home for children, not less.”
McMaster’s Democratic opponent in next month’s election has hit him for supporting Miracle Hill, saying in last week’s debate the government should not encourage discrimination against non-Christians or same-sex couples by organizations spending tax dollars,