On Monday, the Trump administration moved to loosen restrictions on religious organizations that receive federal funds to provide social services.
According to CBN News, the administration removed the Obama-era rule that placed limitations on religious groups partaking in federal programs and replaced it with new guidelines that were organized across nine federal agencies.
The new policy applies to funding from the nine agencies including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Education Department and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Collectively, the agencies grant billions of dollars a year in grants and contracts.
Amongst the changes was the removal of a rule requiring faith-groups to disclose their religious affiliation to clients.
The administration also removed a mandate requiring religious groups to provide clients with a written notice asserting that they are not required to participate in religious services.
According to Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie, the changes will "remove unfair obstacles" for groups wishing to work with the agency so that they can help veterans.
"VA partners with hundreds of groups across the country that are looking to support our Veterans. Making it harder for faith-based groups to deliver this support never made sense," Wilkie asserted, according to CBN News.
Betsy DeVos, the current U.S. secretary of education, stated that the policy guarantees that faith-based organizations “do not give up their First Amendment rights as a condition of participating in taxpayer programs."
Several civil rights groups are criticizing the changes, arguing that the previous rules protected the LGBTQ community and religious minorities, among others.
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) of the House Education and Labor Committee, however, contended that the rule protects groups from religious discrimination.
"Too often religious organizations are targeted by leftist politicians and organizations who seek to strip them of their Constitutional rights. The Trump administration has worked diligently to push back against policies that would diminish the faith of any American,” she said.
The new policy is expected to take effect on Jan. 16.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Joshua Roberts/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.