Trump administration fanatic moves to faith-based office

1scott lloyd director for office of refugee resettlementA legal disappointment that the Freedom From Religion Foundation suffered more than a decade ago continues to have repercussions today.

If FFRF had won Hein v. FFRF back in 2007 before the U.S. Supreme Court, it would have been allowed to make the case that it was blatantly unconstitutional for President George W. Bush to set up faith-based offices at the White House and at the cabinet level. Unfortunately, Sandra Day O'Connor, who was a justice when FFRF began its litigation, unexpectedly retired by the time the case, which FFRF won at the appeals court level, wended its way to the highest court. Equally unfortunate, Justice Anthony Kennedy did not "swing" in the correct direction, and the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision ruling that FFRF — and, in fact, nobody in the entire United States — had the right (standing) to sue over Bush's actions.

So now the "faith-based" offices are a fixture. And this week, all of us were treated to the news that Scott Lloyd, an official with a sullied record, will soon become senior adviser on outreach to faith-based "partners" for the Department of Health and Human Services.

At least that's good news for the Office of Refugee Resettlement and those at its mercy. As the person in charge of services for refugees and minor immigrants, Lloyd notoriously helped engineer the horrific "zero tolerance" Trump administration policy of separating families of refugees and undocumented immigrants. This former employee of the Catholic Knights of Columbus announced he had to personally sign off on any minor's request for an abortion. He thus became embroiled in litigation when he tried to stop a 17-year-old undocumented immigrant, pregnant from rape, from having an abortion. She was in federal custody at the border in Texas, and Lloyd prevented her release to have the procedure even though she had threatened to harm herself if not allowed to end her unwanted pregnancy. The ACLU had to go to court as the clock was ticking in order to free the young woman to procure a legal abortion. No public funds were allowed to pay for her care.

Also notoriously, Brett Kavanaugh was one of the judges the case went before at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He ruled that the government had the right to continue to obstruct the abortion. Ultimately, the entire D.C. appeals court overturned Kavanaugh (who issued a strong dissent).

For his part, Scott Lloyd has also been accused of violating ethics rules and is additionally working on an anti-abortion book.

"When [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Alex] Azar addressed us in January as our new secretary, he encouraged us to be bold," Lloyd said in a statement provided to news media. "I am joining the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives to help Director [Shannon] Royce and team continue to develop bold ideas on how communities and faith-based entities can play a central role in successfully achieving the secretary's priorities, which will improve the health and well-being of the American people."

The Freedom From Religion Foundation shudders to think what "bold" actions will proceed from this theocrat.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, based in Madison, Wis., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational charity, is the nation's largest association of freethinkers (atheists, agnostics), and has been working since 1978 to keep religion and government separate.

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