|Roger Severino (first picture) is pushing anti-LGBTQ, religiously biased regulations at DHHS. His wife, Carrie (second picture) is attempt to get judges appointed, via dishonest means, who will uphold those regulations.|
A recent post by People for American Way underscores just how deep the Trump Administration is in exploiting the concept of "religious liberty" as an avenue to foster discrimination, specifically anti-LGBTQ discrimination, and right-wing religious bias.
In a move that brought a startling clarity to the end game for “religious liberty” claims made by Religious Right political and legal groups, the Department of Health and Human Services last week granted a waiver from federal non-discrimination rules to South Carolina, allowing the state to continue funneling tax dollars to Miracle Hill, a child welfare agency that refuses to place foster children with Jewish or Catholic families—or anyone who doesn’t share Miracle Hill’s conservative evangelical religious doctrine. The waiver also applies to all other South Carolina faith-based foster care agencies.
“Under Miracle Hill’s policies, not only Jews are rejected” as potential mentors and foster parents, reported the Religion News Service. “Muslims, Hindus and atheists are also barred from fostering or mentoring children in the nonprofit’s programs; so too are Catholics.” Don’t even ask about same-sex couples, even if they’re Protestant. Miracle Hill has reportedly received millions of dollars from the state and federal governments.
Those watching the Department of Health and Human Services are not surprised that it came to this. There has been huge cause of alarm since last year that several religious right activists were being appointed to positions in the agency and were using their positions to further their personal religious agendas. Most specifically, a man named Roger Severino.
According to a Politico article from last year:
A small cadre of politically prominent religious activists inside the Department of Health and Human Services have spent months quietly planning how to weaken federal protections for abortion and transgender care — a strategy that's taking shape in a series of policy moves that took even their own staff by surprise. Those officials include Roger Severino, an anti-abortion Catholic lawyer who now runs the Office of Civil Rights and last week laid out new protections allowing health care workers with religious or moral objections to abortion and other procedures to opt out. Shannon Royce, the agency's key liaison with religious and grass-roots organizations, has also emerged as a pivotal player.
Severino has been called out by several LGBTQ groups and activists for his actions since being appointed, including attempting to define transgender people “out of existence”