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HHS Wants Your Pastor to Become an Informer


On May 9, the Department of Health and Human Services announced grants "to support healthy marriage and parental relationships."

By its own description, HHS is the largest source of pork and patronage in the federal government, "awarding more than $200 billion every year, more than all other federal agencies combined."

In this case, what is being billed as marriage promotion is in fact law enforcement. Federal agents who claim to be helping your marriage in reality have the power to haul you off to jail -- without trial. And now these federal agents may include the pastor who married you or the marriage counselor to whom you entrust intimate details about your private life. Marriage is being used as a smokescreen to obfuscate the process by which HHS deputizes churches and citizen groups to collect child support.

Assistant Sec. Wade Horn says, "These projects are a sensible government approach to testing and evaluating creative approaches that enhance the overall goals and effectiveness of the child support enforcement program by integrating the promotion of healthy marriage into existing child support services." How? How precisely can law enforcement agents, whose main function is locking people up, improve anyone's marriage?

This month, the liberal American Prospect magazine criticizes the administration for "promoting religion." But they are missing the point. By deputizing churches and citizen groups to collect child support, HHS is profaning religion. It is turning the clergy into informers and churches into administrative arms of the federal government.

If child support collection is a worthy and legitimate role of the federal government -- and there is no evidence that it is -- why not just say so. Why is HHS trying to disguise its law enforcement programs as family therapy?

Perhaps because the child support problem itself is a fraud. Worse, it is a process for destroying marriages, since coerced child support subsidizes divorce. So the government destroys your marriage with one hand, and claims to rebuild it with the other. And when -- inevitably -- they cannot rebuild it, they haul you off to jail.

For FCF News on Demand, this is Stephen Baskerville.