Bishops Applaud Trump Administration Move to End LGBTQ Protections in Healthcare, Social Services

Bishop Robert McManus of the USCCB’s Committee for Religious Liberty

Top U.S. bishops have voiced their support for the Trump administration’s latest move to vacate federal anti-LGBTQ non-discrimination regulations again, this time involving adoption and foster care services and life-saving healthcare programs.

Late last week, Secretary Alex Azar of the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a shift in that agency’s policies that would end LGBTQ protections in its grant programs. Under President Barack Obama, sexual orientation and gender identity were included in HHS regulations, but these terms would now be stripped from agency non-discrimination policies. The Washington Post reported:

“The most immediate impact would likely be on the nation’s $7 billion federally funded child-welfare system, including foster care and adoption programs . . . But the proposed rule would also apply to other HHS grants, including those for HIV and sexually transmitted disease prevention, other public health initiatives, health education, prekindergarten programs and more . . . HHS said on Friday it would begin immediate enforcement of the nondiscrimination change.”

In lockstep with the Trump administration, three chairmen at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released a joint statement applauding the HHS change. The bishops, Venice’s Frank Dewane for the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, Worcester’s Robert McMcManus for the Committee for Religious Liberty, and Lincoln’s James Conley for the Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, stated, in part:

“We commend the Administration for acting to change a 2016 regulation that threatened to shut out faith-based social service providers, namely adoption and foster care agencies that respect a child’s right to a mother and a father. To restrict faith-based organizations’ work by infringing on religious freedom – as the 2016 rule threatened to do – is unfair and serves no one, especially the children in need of these services. We are alarmed and saddened that state and local government agencies in multiple jurisdictions have already succeeded in shutting down Catholic adoption and foster care agencies as a result of their Catholic beliefs. At a time when over 400,000 children are in foster care, we need to take steps to increase – not decrease – their opportunities to be placed with safe and loving families.”

In a related development, a new HHS rule that allows healthcare providers to deny services to certain patients due to a provider’s religious beliefs goes into effect November 22nd. This rule was likewise applauded by the U.S. bishops in May, as were proposed guidelines at HHS that would prohibit “sex” from being interpreted as inclusive of “gender identity” and thereby erase transgender healthcare protections.

With this latest vacating of protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, LGBTQ advocates are warning of widespread discrimination. The Department of Health and Human Services and its programs effect, even if indirectly, the lives of every person in the U.S. This new rule, now in effect, will damage thousands and potentially millions of Americans lives. Children in need of foster or adoptive parents will be deprived of loving homes as their potential parents face discrimination. And some of society’s most vulnerable groups who already struggle, like youth experiencing homelessness, people living with HIV, and those seeking treatment for addiction, will have their sufferings compounded. In aligning themselves with the Trump administration once again, the U.S. bishops have enacted a  preferential option that is not for the poor, but harshly against them.

Robert Shine, New Ways Ministry, November 4, 2019

32 replies
  1. Thomas Ellison
    Thomas Ellison says:

    What a shameful stance. These bishops are less interested in “religious liberty” as they are in enshrining the right to discriminate. What do they care if children are shut out of adoption options ? How interesting that they do not ask whose dollars end up in the collection baskets on Sundays. If they are inclined to blatantly discriminate, they should also make a statement telling American Catholics they will no longer accept contributions from any LGBT person. They can fire us. They can refuse us permission to adopt. They can preach against us. They can even burn a rainbow flag ( remember that?) but they cannot make us disappear. Shame on these men. This is scapegoating 101.

  2. Rev Anthony Borka
    Rev Anthony Borka says:

    Once again the Bishops show their ignorance to the fact a straight person cannot be gay and a gay person cannot be straight even though they try. This in quest of a male female relationship to raise children. Meanwhile there are many children who remain in foster care who are deprived of loving homes because the adults are gay.

  3. Joyce
    Joyce says:

    Where are the brains and hearts of the Catholic Church. Trump is interested in one person’s welfare, his own. Can’t believe those bishops. Very disheartening.

  4. Patricia Vasilj
    Patricia Vasilj says:

    Does being a member of the LGBTQ community and a US Citizen become a non sequitur? We are all God’s children. He loves His children. He created all of us in that love. Nothing will disrupt that love, sirs. I had a pastor once who said he had to remind himself that he is not God. It is something to contemplate. Thank you, Father Jerry.

  5. Tom Bower
    Tom Bower says:

    In a church whose core value is supposed to be universal love, why do the preponderance of our leaders espouse hate? When will they bring back “perfidious Jew” or any other group of different peoples to hate. We are taught to be an evangelizing missionary people, not one that pushes away the other. Jesus must really wonder how foreign this behavior is to what He preached.

  6. Don E Siegal
    Don E Siegal says:

    Multi-Center Double Blind Studies

    The quality multi-center double blind studies have been completed; we saw them during the marriage equality trials. They found two important factors in the outcome of children raised by same-sex parents as well as opposite-sex parents. The parental relationships had to be stable, and they had to have the financial resources to support the children’s needs. If those criteria were met, there was no difference in the children’s outcome. The few studies to show that there was a poorer outcome for children raised by same sex parents were not double blind, and the funding of these studies was paid for by groups that specifically wanted poor outcomes.

    I myself was primarily raised by two mothers (neither was gay). One of course was my mother, and the other was one of my mother’s sisters—my Aunt Anna. I remember saying to my aunt on day while I was in the seventh or eighth grade, “I’m the luckiest boy in the world; I have two mothers.

    At one point in the sixth grade I realized that I was probably gay. That was a very confusing time for me. However, having two mothers involved in my growing up had nothing to do with me being gay. I had many male father figures in my life. As modern science shows, at some point in one’s life one comes to recognize their sexual orientation.

  7. John Hilgeman
    John Hilgeman says:

    Hmmm. It’s all about being able to discriminate and still get paid by taxpayer money. But wait – doesn’t some of that taxpayer money come from LGBTQ people? Is that fair to those taxpayers? Who cares about being fair, when there is money involved…it doesn’t matter from whom the money comes, so long as it fills the coffers.

    And what about LGBTQ children who need parents who understand their needs? Well, there is always reparative therapy. And if that doesn’t work, they just need to suck it up and repress their sexuality to conform with the will of God as defined by RCC doctrine.

  8. Greg
    Greg says:

    This really angers me off. These same men will talk of social justice and being prolife. Well, it is not just to exclude, or hold to a different standard. Obviously they miss the reality that jumping on the Trump bandwagon is acceptance of the anti family policies Trump promotes. Separating families, denying health care, denying food benefits, promoting racism and hate are the Trump brand.. all unjust, all reduce dignity, all cause suffering, all are anti family. Shame on these bishops.

  9. Jennifer
    Jennifer says:

    So these bishops have forgotten the RADICAL love and acceptance of the Christ!? One more example of shameful “Christianity” and the universal church. These kind of “witnesses” are making it extremely difficult to share the Good News and it is exhausting! No wonder so many followers experience burnout! Just STOP!

  10. Bob Klahn
    Bob Klahn says:

    The ONLY area in which this is or should be is in child care and adoption. Nothing should change about any other area.

    The parent/parents have the right to set some limits on child placement, but if they don’t then no agency should be able to go against their wishes.

    When my late wife and I were looking to adopt we went to the county agency. We were shown a number of children available, and some had limits of “No Catholics”. As Catholics we head to accept that.

    There were other limits, but that is the only one relevant to this discussion.

    This is why church agencies should not be doing government business. Yes, Catholic Charities has long subcontracted social services, but all religious rules had to be left out and all work had to be done by government rules.

    I do not see that they protest against any changes that do not involve children. Failing to do so condemns their entire effort. If they demanded all the rest be kept in place they would have some cover, now they have none.

    • Greg
      Greg says:

      Excellent idea!
      I would love to see their status changed, and them forced to pay taxes or lose property.
      If an organization like HRC, ACLU, or AA would pick up the cause and use their legal teams it might be possible to hurt these bishops where it hurts… money!

  11. Mary Thompson
    Mary Thompson says:

    How does one contact these bishops to yell obscenities in their ears??? Shirking their responsibility to love all in Jesus’s name, they discredit their positions as holy men! They leave an indelible mark of hatred upon the Catholic church, that up until more recently, has been viewed as a pillar of decency. And they wonder why their congregations are shrinking??…while their priests and stout believers all claim victimhood, when we simply don’t accept their hate and discrimination of the LGBTQ community. LGBTQ are all as God made them and are deserving of God’s love and acceptance within the flock, just as they are. The church has abandoned their mission. They are becoming no longer relevant!!!! God need show them the way out of their evil hateful mindsets. What they do is counter to true Christian doctrine and the example that Christ has shown…allow all to live and let live, while they harm no one. Shame on them who do not!!!

  12. Jesus
    Jesus says:

    Removing protections from a group extremely vulnerable to suicide, domestic violence, and drug use. This isn’t Christian. It’s killing people. It’s religious freedom and it’s not what Jesus would want. Read your Bible and practice what Jesus said.

  13. Bob Raab
    Bob Raab says:

    I think of the scripture passages in which Jesus chewed out the Pharisee and Sadducees for their arrogance and lack of willingness to understand the consequences of their actions or even the people that they burden.

  14. Karen
    Karen says:

    Well Bishop McManus, starting tomorrow I will end my weekly online contributions. You certainly don’t need money coming from a person who supports LGBTQ HUMAN BEINGS.

  15. Mary Ellen Capps
    Mary Ellen Capps says:

    These bishops are shameful. I need to know if their options are now doctrine for the Catholic Church. They may call themselves Christians but their actions are so contrary to Christ Consciousness. How could they possibly decide that children should be denied a loving family? And to deny healthcare and job protection for the LGBT community is not only unbelievable but dangerous. People will die if this happens. I am a cradle Catholic who sent my children to Catholic schools from kindergarten thru college( LMU) but I may have to make the painful decision to leave this church led by hateful men. And by the way the fact that the church had protected child abusers is beyond belief. I am ashamed of you all.

    • Dennis
      Dennis says:

      Very shameful indeed! Great comment! Of course, this is nothing new. I grew up in the 80s in Catholic school and the church was just as anti-gay then as it is now. I remember in the early 90s the Vatican issued a directive to instruct Catholics to actively discriminate against LGBT in the workforce in the fields of medicine and education. I had to leave at that point.

  16. Angie
    Angie says:

    These folks are leaving a life-long impression on the LGBTQ community, and NEWSFLASH, we aren’t cartoons, our sexuality and gender are not ‘beliefs’ and we don’t have to get over this. As the demographics remove power from these institutions, they will suddenly find what they’re peddling to be toxically unpopular.

  17. Helen Barton
    Helen Barton says:

    If your religion teaches you to hate LGBTIQ+ people, you need to find a new religion. You have the problem, not LGBTIQ+ folk.

  18. a. mcewen
    a. mcewen says:

    Here is what bothers me and folks need to address this – why should the LGBTQ community consent to our tax dollars being given to entities who will discriminate against us. It’s unfair to put us in a Catch-22 of either supporting children getting put in good homes or our dignity as American tax payers. Why can’t these bishops and their churches fund their own endeavors. I think it’s very unfair that they feel they have a right to MY gay tax dollars while discriminating against me.

  19. Adamm FERRIER
    Adamm FERRIER says:

    Given the lamentable historical track record of child abuse it seems very odd indeed that this organisation has any credibility whatsoever with respect to the provision of children’s services… but that would be stereotypical thinking and unfair to the tens of thousands of people of goodwill within the church who work towards helping others. That said, if bishops are the head of the church, this latest charitable pronouncement reveals a cancer on the episcopacy (to misquote John Dean).

  20. K Anton
    K Anton says:

    I am a resident within the Archdiocese of Boston, and am well aware of the negativity within the nearby Diocese of Worcester engendered by its ordinary Robert McManus. Therefore his support for Trump’s self-invested antigay animus does not surprise. McManus has repeatedly reproached, indeed harassed, the administration at the College of he Holy Cross for affirming its LGBTQ students and staff.


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