Omar Rips Trump Admin. for Granting Waiver to Christian Foster Group: Religious Freedom Means You Don’t Discriminate

• February 5, 2019 12:00 pm


Rep. Ilhan Omar (D., Minn.) criticized the Trump administration's decision to allow a Christian ministry in South Carolina that only works with Christians to participate in a federally funded foster care program, on Tuesday, saying religious freedom means "you don't use your faith to discriminate against others."

"Do you think this action was really about religious freedom?" her interviewer at the left-wing Center for American Progress asked.

"No, it's blatant discrimination," Omar said. "Within the Constitution, at least my understanding is that, religious freedom means you don’t use your faith to discriminate against others, and what this does is it allows you to live out your bigotry, and I think it’s wrong."

The Department of Health and Human Services granted a waiver in January to Miracle Hill Ministries of Greenville, which places foster children only in Christian households. It was in violation of an ordinance put in by the Obama administration, which refuses licensing and HHS funding to groups that discriminate based on religion, the Washington Post reported.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R.), who asked for the waiver, cheered the move by the Trump administration as a victory for religious freedom. Critics like the Anti-Defamation League and American Civil Liberties Union said it was an example of the government providing cover for discrimination.

Omar is one of only two Muslim women to ever serve in the U.S. Congress and the first Somali-American ever elected. She has made several controversial remarks regarding Israel and anti-Semitism in just over a month in office.

She has compared Israel to Iran and said she almost laughs at the idea of Israel being considered a democracy, due to a Jewish nation-state law it passed. She also took heat for a 2012 tweet complaining Israel was "evil" and had "hypnotized the world." While she apologized for her language, she told CNN last month she didn't understand why Jewish Americans would be offended.

"That’s a really regrettable way of expressing that," Omar said. "I don’t know how my comments would be offensive to Jewish Americans. My comments precisely are addressing what was happening during the Gaza War and I’m clearly speaking about the way the Israeli regime was conducting itself in that war."

A few days later, she admitted in response to an op-ed from Bari Weiss in the New York Times that she had been "sincerely befuddled and not simply deflecting" about the matter.