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Lambda Legal Condemns 400-Page, Nine-Agency “Monstrosity” of a Federal Rule Change

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“From Day One non-stop through to its final moments, the Trump/Pence administration has been taking a sledgehammer to the wall of separation between church and state.”
December 14, 2020

(Washington, DC, December 14, 2020) – The Trump/Pence administration today released yet another rule change that further expands the ability of federal contractors to inject religion and religious practice into the public sphere. The new rule governs grants provided by nine federal agencies and instructs states and federal contractors that grants and sub-grants must be dispersed to churches and religious organizations as well as secular groups. Jennifer C. Pizer, Director of Law and Policy at Lambda Legal, issued the following statement:

“From Day One non-stop through to its final moments, the Trump/Pence administration has been taking a sledgehammer to the wall of separation between church and state. This nearly 400-page monstrosity of a federal rule change sweeps away safeguards designed to alert members of the public that none of us is required to get our publicly funded, often-critical services in religious settings or with religious content mixed in. 

“The Trump/Pence administration justifies this massive rule change with a series of erroneous and alarming premises and repeats the common claim that giving discriminatory agencies federal funding increases the number of service providers. But a dollar can only be spent once, whether it is public or private money. The same is true for public contracts. When discriminatory agencies obtain those contracts, welcoming agencies – and the people they serve well – lose out. 

“In these final days of this administration, as we enter the winter months in the grip of an unchecked devastating pandemic, the Trump/Pence team is accelerating its commitment to elevating ultra-conservative religious interests above everyone else’s basic rights. Equal treatment and protection from discrimination are among these rights, especially when we, the general public, are paying to provide essential services to alleviate urgent human needs.”

The nine agencies involved in today’s rule are: U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Education, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, and Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

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Contact Info

Contact: Tom Warnke; (c): 213-841-4503; Email twarnke@lambdalegal.org

 

Related Issues: Religious Exemptions

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