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Wellborn, Florida-based “constitutionalist” KrisAnne Hall appears headed to the White House for the second time in recent weeks. On the heels of an October 9 meeting with Trump administration “Faith Leaders,” Hall announced in an October 20 email that she has been invited back for a November meeting.  During her first visit Hall claimed to have met with Dr. Andrea Ramirez, Acting Executive Director for the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (CFOI) in the Department of Education.

The office loosely descends from the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives created in a 2001 executive order by President George W. Bush to “expand opportunities for faith-based and other community organizations and to strengthen their capacity to better meet social needs in America’s communities.”[i] Civil liberties groups quickly expressed concern about issues of church-state separation in the Office, particularly “charitable choice” policies that allowed federal funding for faith-based programs despite possible discrimination in hiring.[ii]

In 2009 President Barrack Obama issued an executive order renaming the office the Center for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and adding language to “strengthen the constitutional and legal footing” of the program. Obama’s order, however, failed to address possible employment discrimination, according to Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.[iii]

In May 2018 President Donald Trump revoked both Bush and Obama’s executive orders and established the White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. Trump’s executive order ended the language regarding strengthening the office’s constitutional basis.[iv]

The political space created for a relationship with the likes of Krisanne Hall likely derives from Trump Administration efforts to staff the CFOI to advance Christian Right policy goals. In November 2018 Scott Lloyd was appointed to the CFOI in the Department of Health and Human Services. Lloyd had been removed from his post at the Office of Refugee Resettlement after evidence in an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit indicated he had been blocking access to abortions for migrant teens.[v]

Andrea Ramirez, with whom Hall claims to have met, is a graduate of Pat Robertson’s Regent University. From 2015 to 2017, Ramirez hosted a program on the religious bigot’s Trinity Broadcasting Network, according to her CFOI biography.[vi]

For her part, Krisanne Hall calls for a sweeping attack on the birthright citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment and has fallaciously declared that Kamala Harris, Barrack Obama, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are not “natural born citizens” and therefore have not been eligible to run for president. Hall has been a regular at Tea Party events and her material is actively promoted by the nationalist paramilitary group Oath Keepers.

[i] The White House. President George. W. Bush. Executive Order: Establishment of White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

[ii] Glazer, Sarah. Faith Based Initiatives. CQ Press. May 4, 2001.; People United for the Separation of Church and State. The Faith-Based Initiative Through the Years.

[iii] The White House. President Barrack Obama. Amendments to Executive Order 13199 and Establishment of the President’s Advisory Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. February 5, 2009.; Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. The Faith-Based Initiative Through the Years.; Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Faith-Based Council Reports to President Amid Growing Criticism. April 2010.

[iv] The White House. Executive Order on the Establishment of a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative. May 3, 2018.

[v] Stuart, Tessa. Trump’s Anti-Abortion Refugee Program Chief Has Been Removed From His Post. Rolling Stone. November 19, 2019.

[vi] Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives. Staff.

Chuck Tanner

Author Chuck Tanner

Chuck Tanner is an Advisory Board member and researcher for the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights. He lives in Washington State where he researches and works to counter white nationalism and the anti-Indian and other far right social movements.

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