Wednesday, July 2, 2008

gov't funding of faith-based programs

I was against it under Bush but can support it under Obama. It's not just democratic bias. Obama's plan is different.

First of all I applaud Obama taking up an issue that makes it clear that not all religious people are conservatives. Much of the news analysis has portrayed this idea as part of a larger play on Obama's part to attract the evangelicals. I hope he does win over some conservative religious folks. But it's also important to me as a religious liberal to have my religion affirmed as influential on good, liberal, policies, like care for the poor, care for the enviornment, civil rights protection, and so on.

The Bush plan mingled church and state in a way that the Obama plan avoids. It is possible for the government to provide assistance to social service organizations, including those operated by religious entities, in a way that does not support one religion over another. Funding can easily be reviewed for fairness. However, Bush's plan allowed the funded charities to operate in ways that would not be allowed in secular organizations. Bush in effect was funding religious principles that had nothing to do with the effective providing of services. A Christian organization that will only hire Christians, and won't hire gays, should not qualify for government funding because regardless of the social service they provide the government would clearly be supporting a religious view.

But Obama would require the religious organizations to operate in the same religiously-neutral manner that secular organizations operate. And using their existing structures to provide needed services rather than duplicating a structure just so the government can run it makes perfect sense to me.

1 comment:

Bill Baar said...

Religiously neutral maybe, but not politically... it'll be political patronage the way it's been practiced with Churches and Clergy for a long time in Chicago...

The Gay basher, Obama Super Delgate, Mega Church Pastor, and Illinois State Sen., Rev Meeks will lead the pack with hands out for sure.

Prepare for more Halloween Parties at Salem depicting Gay Boys roasting in Hell...that UU's can't call out Obama on this one is really sad.