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McMaster order expands religious freedom

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued an executive order bolstering religious freedom for individuals and organizations, with emphasis on a foster care agency that requires participating families to be Christian.

Tuesday’s order clarifies licensing practices by the state Department of Social Services to allow faith-based organizations to retain full foster care licensing.

Greenville-based Miracle Hill Ministries has only allowed foster children to be placed with parents who share its Christian beliefs. The practice is under scrutiny after a new regulation took effect toward the end of the Obama administration preventing publicly licensed and funded foster care agencies from servicing specific religions.

McMaster also wrote the acting assistant secretary for Health and Human Services asking that South Carolina be exempted from the requirement.

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