As posted on the website over a week ago, comments were submitted to the Department of Public Welfare’s proposed policies (Regulation 14-519) which would lay groundwork to impact directly church ministries in the state. In all, over 900 congregations were represented on the document.
The document raised several objections concerning the department’s intrusion into church ministries mandating state-controlled training of adults working with children. Below are a few summary statements of the document’s content.
- Religious schools fall under state law requiring compulsory attendance.
- i.e., the law requires compulsory attendance, not compulsory education (the latter would endanger legitimate diversity and religious liberty).
- Religious schools fulfill state law requirements on this issue.
- Church ministries with children differ in principle, purpose, and procedure from public education and secular child care.
- Religious ministries are the preferred avenue for families seeking help.
- Current ministries focus on the partnership of families, individuals, churches, and religious ministries in mutual assistance.
- The state has an interest in matters of health and safety and the DPW proposes these policies on the basis of health and safety.
- The proposed rulemaking does not address or enhance health and safety
- Other state agencies do not intrude into church ministries when they administer health and safety matters.
- i.e., the Department of Transportation has bus driver training; the Department of Health has health screenings; the Department of Agriculture inspects kitchens.
- Other government functions avoid conflict with philosophy of life and religion.
- A case on this issue is already in the courts.
- Action by the DPW should not be proceeding while the case is in the courts.
- The proposed policies would govern beyond health and safety issues.
- If health and safety were all that were at stake, no objections would be raised.
- The state desires to enforce its progressive, humanistic definition of “quality care”.
- “Quality” is defined by signaling which group’s curriculum would be the standard for training, i.e. NAEYC and similar.
- No legal precedent requires government-imposed training/testing for clergy, religious school administrators/personnel.
- The DPW definition of “quality” imposes offensive, secular idea upon matters of religion.
A copy of the document will be provided only to members of the fellowship upon request. Just send an email to hapfAThapfDOTorg (replace the AT with @ and DOT with .).