“I’m not saying that faith-based groups are an alternative to government or secular non-profits. And I’m not saying that they’re somehow better at lifting people up. What I’m saying is that we all have to work together – Christian and Jew, Hindu and Muslim; believer and non-believer alike – to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
Fearful of offending liberal voters devoted to the separation of church and state, the Obama campaign stressed this morning that recipients of federal grants would be barred from proselytising to the people who receive services, and would be prohibited from discrimination on religious grounds.
They would be forbidden from discrimination in hiring, as well. The federal money could only be directed to “secular” programmes, the campaign said.
“I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe this partnership will endanger that idea,” Obama will say, “so long as we follow a few basic principles.”
Obama’s measures, while much more sound than Bush’s, are still wrong. Supporting faith-based initiatives requires an extra layer of government to ensure that the religions being funded use those funds in accordance with federal law. Further, they needlessly duplicate the efforts of secular, governmental agencies which operate much more efficiently and divert money from those agencies. Faith-based intiatives are a waste of money. Period.
This is, simply, yet another example of Obama pandering to right-wing interests at the expense of liberal ideals and efficient government.