Sunday, February 8, 2009

Faith-Based Initiatives

My feelings are torn about President Obama’s decision to establish a new White House office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership.

In other words, his choice to continue “faith based” initiatives.

The cynical heathen in me is seething at the continual disregard of the separation of church and state by the government. While another part, albeit a lot smaller, can see the appeal of funding faith based groups.

Because there are people out there who are doing good without any political agendas and President Obama does seem to have a much better grasp on the knowledge that we’re not all Christian (unlike so many others).

I’m just not sure how I feel about it.

All the articles I’ve read about this have quoted President Obama as saying that any money given will only go towards secular programs as if this somehow makes a difference.
Now, make no mistake, as someone who used to teach constitutional law, I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe this partnership will endanger that idea – so long as we follow a few basic principles. First, if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them – or against the people you hire – on the basis of their religion. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs. And we’ll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.
This isn’t really the issue though and has already been taken care of by the Supreme Court (otherwise it would violate the separation of church and state). The issue is whether religious institutions are allowed to discriminate against hiring people of different ideologies if they receive money from tax payers.

As of now, they are and that is NOT okay with me.

Obama says he wants to look into the issue, but I just don't know if it's gonna be enough.

(wow...people are freaking out about this on youtube.)


  1. to take tax payers money is to become part of the system and thus you have to follow the rules of that system.

    Religious groups should not discriminate. That would be very unreligious of them.

    That video had terrible music.

  2. People on Youtube freak out about everything.

    Anyhow, churches make their own money, and should use THAT to feed the poor, not buy expensive suits.

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