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No more church AND state, from now on just Church.
October 5, 2005 4:42 AM   Subscribe

The end of church AND state..from now on just church. [click the listen button] The Salvation Army has just won a court case that says they can hire and fire people based on their religion. Even though the Salvation Army gets a large amount of money from the government. Your tax payers dollars being used to discriminate. Of course this is not the first time the Salvation Army has shown its true colors. Maybe this is a trend. This marks a victory for Bush, if they had lost this rulling his entire faith based program would have fallen apart.
posted by stilgar (88 comments total)

 
The Hare Krishnas feed a lot of people with their "Sunday Feast" programs, and have outreach programs for the addicted and the homeless in several major cities. They were among the first to provide food after the Tsunami in Asia and the hurricanes along the coast.

I assume that they will have equal access to federal money?
posted by Jatayu das at 4:49 AM on October 5, 2005


found this as well....
posted by stilgar at 4:56 AM on October 5, 2005


Apalling. A religious organisation wants to be able to use religion to screen potential employees. If this continues, next thing they'll be insisting that Christian priests have to be Christians.

Seriously, what disturbs me most about this, is that a court case was needed at all. Where's the logic in attempting to force a religious organisation to employ people that don't share the organisation's beliefs? More importantly, why the heck would someone who doesn't share the Salvation Army's beliefs, want to work for the Salvation Army?
posted by veedubya at 5:17 AM on October 5, 2005


From 2004:
The Salvation Army of Greater New York, long known for its network of thrift shops and shelters, has begun an effort to reassert its evangelical roots, stressing to lay employees that the Army's core mission is not just social services but also spreading the Gospel.
I always get the creeps when I walk by one of those places.
posted by leapingsheep at 5:21 AM on October 5, 2005


umm because they get over 300 millon dollars in federal tax pay money each year.... you know money from gays / athiest / jews / etc. people who are basicaly paying an orginization money so they WONT hire them....
posted by stilgar at 5:21 AM on October 5, 2005


Where's the logic in attempting to force a religious organisation to employ people that don't share the organisation's beliefs?

Did you miss the part about it receiving federal funds?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 5:29 AM on October 5, 2005


veedubya: Its like the Boy Scouts. If they weren't feeding at the tax dollar trough it'd be a completely different story. But they aren't. You take government money (that is: *MY* money) and you don't get to say "oh, and BTW, we hate you and won't hire people like you."

If the Salvation Army wasn't taking any government money [1] they could exclude gays and non-Christians all they want. But when they are taking my money they will bloody well play by my rules. If they don't like the horrible non-descrimination rules then there's a simple solution: stop taking my tax money.

[1] And, in for the purposes of discussion here "government" refers to any level of government. Federal, state, county, city, I don't care. And "money" refers to anything of value, tax breaks, land grants, cash grants, discounts for using government services and/or land, etc.
posted by sotonohito at 5:31 AM on October 5, 2005


It seems this isn't quite like screening because someone is, say, black. Or gay. Or female. I mean, the name of the organization is the Salvation Army.

Now, as an earlier poster suggested, this DOES mean that Hare Krishnas, or any other group, should be able to get the same kind of support for work they do. I don't have a problem with that per se -- it's a matter of screening out the Scientology-style scams from the genuine do-gooding.
posted by verb at 5:34 AM on October 5, 2005


It's a tricky issue. Baby with the bathwater sort of thing.

1. Should religious groups be able to discriminate based on beliefs?
Definitely. What makes these groups cohesive is their beliefs and prejudices.

2. Should religious groups that do public good get money from the government?
I think that anyone who does public good should be able to get aid from the government.

3. Should the government support programs that put one group or another at a disadvantage?
No, but...

On principle, I don't like the idea of the government deciding which religious groups should get money and which shouldn't and I don't like think it's appropriate for groups to proselytize to people as they're helping them; however, I know that faith-based groups (including the SA) do A LOT for people in need and their value shouldn't be dismissed outright.

In an ideal world, there would be a caring, humanist government organization that does everything faith-based groups do. Until then, Federal funding could be given to groups based on their merit, i.e. how many people are fed, sheltered, given addictions counseling, etc.

There, let me have it.
posted by thejimp at 5:35 AM on October 5, 2005


Apalling. A religious organisation wants to be able to use religion to screen potential employees. If this continues, next thing they'll be insisting that Christian priests have to be Christians.

Non sequitur veedubya. The issue is the Federal dollar.

U.S. Constitution, Ammendment 1: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion...

Nor should Congress - through their Constitutionally granted power to raise taxes and spend money - behave as though they have. This is, unarguably, the "originalist" view of the founders.

Why is it that the Christian Republicans who so feverently want an "originalist" on the Supreme Court seem to want legislative activism in the Congress when it comes to giving Federal dollars to religious organisations?
posted by three blind mice at 5:41 AM on October 5, 2005


I think that anyone who does public good should be able to get aid from the government.

Why? No, really: Why?

Suppose the KKK opened a soup kitchen in Detroit; should they get government monies? Let's say they feed all comers; so they're doing an arguably unambiguous public good. But other activities they engage in are arguably unambiguous public "bads". By providing gov't monies for their soup kitchen, we'd be funding their PR efforts, thereby enhancing their ability to do those public bads.

The SA should just not be taking federal money. They are, among other things, a church, just like any other church -- I know people who were raised attending SA churches. Giving them money is like funding, say, the United Methodist Church.
posted by lodurr at 5:50 AM on October 5, 2005


Woot. Good luck with this shit.

I worked at the salvo. They treat their employees like shit.
posted by es_de_bah at 5:51 AM on October 5, 2005


This is how the story goes: Mefi users get all bliched up over the Salvation Army, federal funding, and the seperation of church and state. Opinions are expressed, hot air is converted to posts, and at the end of the day, the SA still gets its money.

Oh man this is the best comedy website on the internet.
posted by foot at 5:56 AM on October 5, 2005


With government money comes government control. By allowing religious organizations to become dependent upon tax money, the government can control their behavior by threatening to withhold funding.

This is simply a power game, and it looks like the religious will be gullible enough to fall for it.
posted by jsonic at 6:04 AM on October 5, 2005


Foot, so far the posts haven't been in agreement. Some say "why not?" Others say "not with my money." Discussion/argument = the point of Mefi, no?
posted by es_de_bah at 6:06 AM on October 5, 2005


... hot air is converted to posts ...

At least we're doing our part to combat global warming!

Seriously, though, I think this is a bad idea, for reasons that have been pretty well explained already in this thread (federal money for religious causes, etc.). Sure, "at the end of the, the SA still gets its money," but this is something I probably wouldn't have been aware of if it weren't for this thread, and I imagine the same holds true for a lot of other people. By commenting against the ruling, I'm sure that to some extent we're hoping to 'convince' the undecided that, hey, you know, this ruling is a bad thing, and maybe from there, people will take an interest in it and maybe we'll see it changed (though this is incredibly unlikely, I admit).

This will probably get appealed up, maybe as far as the Supreme Court. I don't think it's going to stop with just the ruling of "[a] federal court in New York."
posted by Godbert at 6:10 AM on October 5, 2005


Why is it that the Christian Republicans who so feverently want an "originalist" on the Supreme Court seem to want legislative activism in the Congress when it comes to giving Federal dollars to religious organisations?

Obviously, 'originality' means something different to them then it does to other people. A lot of right-wing commentators have said that they think America was a Christian nation.

You know, one of the main reasons that the (religious of the) framers wanted government to stay out of religion is because they thought government (and politics) corrupted the church, not the other way around.

The republicans give money to churches, and churches support the republicans, so they can keep getting money. That's a big part of how republicans plan to try to win the black vote, by giving federal money to black churches, money that they'll lose if democrats win.

IMO, the federal government should not be given money to any churches, regardless of how discriminatory they are or are not.
posted by delmoi at 6:10 AM on October 5, 2005


You have a better idea, foot? We're listening.
posted by Scoo at 6:11 AM on October 5, 2005


No, no I don't. I'm just trying to have some fun on this Wednesday morning.
posted by foot at 6:13 AM on October 5, 2005


"ha ha I'm better than the rest of you oh wait I don't have a better idea"

great fun dude. Back on topic: Ugh.
posted by cavalier at 6:17 AM on October 5, 2005


three blind mice : Why is it that the Christian Republicans who so feverently want an "originalist" on the Supreme Court seem to want legislative activism in the Congress when it comes to giving Federal dollars to religious organisations?

I think that they claim they want an "originalist" on the court because they think that an originalist would vote "their" way on the issue/issues (and for a lot of Christians who support the GOP, it really comes down to one or two issues for them). The phrase "judicial activism" ends up being thrown around whenever a court makes a decision not consistent with their own beliefs, regardless of whether or not the judge/court actually is overstepping their bounds, and by the same token, a decision that does overstep their bounds, but yields the desired ruling, cannot be "judicial activism."

In effect, it's a convenient term to paint any rulings you don't like as a violation of the court's trust. This can be for any reason; while it seems to be more common among Republicans/"the right", there have been some cases of Democrats/"the left" using it in the same way, for the same reasons.
posted by Godbert at 6:18 AM on October 5, 2005


If the government stopped all aid to religious-based organizations, wouldn't it force non-denominational groups to rise? I mean, wouldn't religious groups, in the face of a lack of federal money, say, "Ohh... well, we still need to do good, so lets start a non-denominational organization and play by the rules -- as long as we can help!"
posted by VulcanMike at 6:25 AM on October 5, 2005


I think most of them would just scale back their programs.
posted by verb at 6:28 AM on October 5, 2005


The SA should just stop taking Federal funds. Period. Then they can exclude all the Hell-bound homos and infidels they want. They'll get by.

Why is it that the Christian Republicans who so feverently want an "originalist" on the Supreme Court seem to want legislative activism in the Congress when it comes to giving Federal dollars to religious organisations?

Today's Christian Republicans are neither Christian nor Republican. Discuss.
posted by mkultra at 6:44 AM on October 5, 2005


The war is over, and both Bush and the Terrorists won.
posted by signal at 6:45 AM on October 5, 2005


Nor should Congress - through their Constitutionally granted power to raise taxes and spend money - behave as though they have. This is, unarguably, the "originalist" view of the founders.

That's awfully hard to reconcile with a Congress full of founders showing up in 1789 and promptly hiring a chaplain with tax dollars.

Doesn't mean this stuff with the sallie anns is good or bad or anything, but that reasoning is specious.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:47 AM on October 5, 2005


OH NOES!!!
posted by Captaintripps at 6:52 AM on October 5, 2005


"The Salvos" do great work in Australia. Real grass-roots stuff.

It's one of the few large charities remaining that don't reek of being a slick marketing machine with dubious *ahem* management overheads.

But the Salvos here might be totally different to the American Salvos. Plus, has this got anything to do with the FPP anyway?

Dogupyuz!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:53 AM on October 5, 2005


Taking money from the [U.S.] Government is something any non-profit should not do lightly, especially faith-based ones.

Due solely to almost deliberate ignorance (i.e. I never bothered to look it up) I had no idea the Salvation Army received so much support from the Federal Government. I'm almost saddened by the knowledge and will have to think hard about giving any money at all to them in the future - even the "kettle" donations during the holidays (or would "Christmas season" started yet-another-flamewar here?).

It's been beaten to death here but I have to concur that if they weren't receiving Fed money, they should be allowed to have any hiring practices they want.
posted by hrbrmstr at 6:57 AM on October 5, 2005


This is hard. Much of the support that organizations like the Salvation Army have provided isn't immediately linked to religion: I read several reports that stated they were better at responding to hurricane-affected areas than the Red Cross due to the rules of when/how the Red Cross could go into an area and the strategy they used to distribute resources. I actually questioned one day whether the money I donated could have been better used by a religious organization...

Still, the monetary issues with giving federal money to these organizations are tricky. In theory, all of the federal money is earmarked for non-discriminatory aid and only strengthen the public works aspects of the Salvation Army. In reality, they could then shift their money that they're currently using to fund soup kitchens to other, more religion-oriented, parts of the organizations.

It's also sad that the Salvation Army is making their employment policies more strict. Yeah, they're a religious organization and it's their prerogative. At the same time, they're one of the few organizations with a strong public presence in some communities. Individuals wanting to volunteer without buying into the religious aspect have just lost a way to help. The jobs provided by the thrift shops that may have gone to any unemployed person are now limited to people who follow their religion. People who could have been helped will not be, and this organization is receiving federal money.

The sad thing is, I doubt these organizations are receiving that much money at all. Anyone have some solid numbers?
posted by mikeh at 6:59 AM on October 5, 2005


What's awesome about this (in the ironic sense) is that it opens up a whole new avenue of possibility when it comes to government outsourcing.

Think about it, if the government can give money to organizations that actively discriminate in their hiring practices, and those discriminations just happen to fit your beliefs, why would you go anywhere else for anything?

Need some road construction done? Quick, hire that faith-based road crew.
posted by shawnj at 7:11 AM on October 5, 2005


And, in for the purposes of discussion here "government" refers to any level of government. Federal, state, county, city, I don't care. And "money" refers to anything of value, tax breaks, land grants, cash grants, discounts for using government services and/or land, etc.

The bolding is mine. By this definition there isn't a single religious organization in the country that can control their hiring on the basis of religion since they all receive tax breaks insofar as they're tax exempt.
posted by obfusciatrist at 7:16 AM on October 5, 2005


well acording to their own website (in 2001) they got 11% of there funds from the man...thats a little over 310 million dollars. thats a lot of money to be funding a orginization that wont hire you if you are gay or a jew... i would love to see the fda or FEMA or the government of chicago, or the state of florida try to justify something like this...it would never fly. but because they are some crazy right wing church and just so happen to do good things for people (see the kkk example above) its ok if they get lots of money to discriminate.
posted by stilgar at 7:24 AM on October 5, 2005


I think that anyone who does public good should be able to get aid from the government

The problem is that we have only one man in this country who is allowed to deem what exactly is "public good" and he's abusing that privelege. He's funneling millions to religious groups that actively campaign for him and the Republican party. That's called dictatorship. Our political system has devolved into a banana republic.
posted by any major dude at 7:24 AM on October 5, 2005


I take offense to this board's tendency to lump christians and conservatives into the same "Bad people for big business under a Christian God" stereotype.

I again state that most of us are not cookie cutter citizens. Most Citizens are not Cookie cutter party members. Your generalizations are a discredit to the issue at hand, and ultimately call into question your credibility.

Bleh, the point is lost on all but a few.
posted by DuffStone at 7:27 AM on October 5, 2005


Just as a side note, St. Vinnies doesn't discriminate based on religion for their employees.


Time to upgrade our thrift shop preferences.
posted by stenseng at 7:31 AM on October 5, 2005


The problem is that we have only one man in this country who is allowed to deem what exactly is "public good" and he's abusing that privelege.

Actually, what that one man deemed "public good" was challenged and there was an outlet for that challange to take place on neutral grounds. Furthermore, if you don't like what this man does, you could pass a law overriding him, provided you can get the support.

You either have no clue what a dictatorship is like, or you're just full of sour grapes.
posted by buck09 at 7:48 AM on October 5, 2005


Agreed, DuffStone. Religious institutions are a political football that gets played by both major parties. I think the policy of distributing public aid through religious organizations without separating the aid from the main body of the organization is ridiculous. If I start a Flying Spaghetti Monster shelter and religious enterprise, I think that ideally the shelter/soup kitchen would be financially separate from the religious portion. If they're in the same building that's fine, but those needing aid should be able to take advantage of the resources without hearing about his noodliness. Likewise, people of all faiths should be able to volunteer for the charity portion, regardless of their religion.
posted by mikeh at 7:49 AM on October 5, 2005


In an ideal world, there would be a caring, humanist government organization that does everything faith-based groups do.

Well, it hasn't happened yet. Reason: the religious element (Christian, Hare Krishna, etc) is necessary for long term, sustained, selfless, cost effective charity work. People have to, well believe.

Most non-religious people I know wouldn't be caught dead performing the work some of faith do on a regular basis. Perhaps at best they think they would, or might like to sometime, or like the idea of it, or could possibly consider that in retirement as long as they don't have to get too dirty or take any physical risks. But they never do anything at all, let alone over the extended period it takes to actually make any difference.

The heat and energy on this one derives from the idea of discriminatory hiring practices, federal dollars or no. But turn it around: who, despite their receipt of government money, would insist an abortion clinic hire a receptionist who believed they and their customers were all baby killers and declined to support the beliefs of the clinic? Sure, she can answer the phone but don't ask anything about abortion...
posted by scheptech at 7:52 AM on October 5, 2005


Need some road construction done? Quick, hire that faith-based road crew.
posted by shawnj at 10:11 AM EST

Shawnj, Florida and now Texas have faith-based prisons so it wouldn't be too far fetched to imagine faith-based prison work gangs fixing the roads.

(Gee, Florida and Texas...what do these two states have in common?)

And speaking of Bush, George really knows how to use a disaster to accomplish his goals. Under President Bush's plan to cover most of the cost of educating students displaced by Hurricane Katrina, parents could enroll their children in a private or religious school this year at federal expense, even if they had gone to public schools back home, administration officials said yesterday
So our tax dollars can go to educate little Bobby that the word of God is infallible, God created the world in 6 days, homosexuals are sinners, and anyone who doesn't believe in Jesus is going to hell.

And as far as tax dollars being given to organizations that discriminate in their hiring practices:The House of Representatives on Thursday approved bipartisan legislation to extend the popular Head Start early childhood program despite controversy over the role of faith-based groups " The controversy was not whether faith-based groups should run Head Start programs; dozens already do, and people across the political spectrum welcome them. The fight was over whether they should be able to use religious criteria for hiring, which critics said could lead to religious discrimination.
"A faith-based initiative has no place in Head Start,' said Rep. Maxine Waters, a California Democrat. 'Don't start the resegregation of America."

The White House backed the faith-based provision, saying it would protect religious group from having to "forfeit their religious hiring autonomy."
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:05 AM on October 5, 2005


I think it depends on the job, scheptech. If the receptionist can clearly answer any questions about abortion without castigating or otherwise making the patient aware of her feelings on the issue, I see no reason why her stand on abortion matters. If her stand is of so little importance to her that she'd be willing to take the job and do it properly (including good customer service) then she shouldn't be discriminated against for her beliefs.

Same with the Sally Ann. If the job is to take money from customers, give them change and smile while you do it, Christian beliefs are irrelevent. If the thrift store cashiers are expect to proselytize and expand the ministry as part of their job description, then Christian beliefs are relevent.

But the correlary to that is that if the ministry is such an ingrained part of everything they do, then the government is supporting just their good works, it is supporting the ministry. Thus, if the ministry is central, they can discriminate, but can't be funded. If the ministry is not central, they can't discriminate and can be funded.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:07 AM on October 5, 2005


buck09 writes "You either have no clue what a dictatorship is like, or you're just full of sour grapes."

What a shock the guy who has been here a whole week cuts right to the ad hominum.
posted by Mitheral at 8:09 AM on October 5, 2005


You either have no clue what a dictatorship is like, or you're just full of sour grapes.
posted by buck09 at 7:48 AM PST on October 5


The hefty fuckin' fee has been raised by four cents, apparently.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 8:16 AM on October 5, 2005


Same with the Sally Ann. If the job is to take money from customers, give them change and smile while you do it, Christian beliefs are irrelevent. If the thrift store cashiers are expect to proselytize and expand the ministry as part of their job description, then Christian beliefs are relevent.

As jacquilynne said, but why does federal funding matter? Why do religious groups have "religious hiring autonomy" for positions in which performance is clearly not a matter of religion (e.g. IT or finance)?
posted by patricio at 8:17 AM on October 5, 2005


But turn it around: who, despite their receipt of government money, would insist an abortion clinic hire a receptionist who believed they and their customers were all baby killers and declined to support the beliefs of the clinic? Sure, she can answer the phone but don't ask anything about abortion...

Interesting point.

Do any American organizations such as "The Society for the Advancement of [insert ethnic group here]" or "The [insert sex here] Rights Organisation" or "The [insert disability here] Society" receive government funds?

Do you reckon the relevant demographics of their employees might be skewed in a particular direction? Would it get your hackles up?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:25 AM on October 5, 2005


jacquilynne - ok given all your if's but organizations of any stripe are going to want people who reflect who they are, what they believe in. Even in the secular world no corporation really wants an employee who has no belief in what they're doing beyond just making a paycheck and they're quite capable of getting rid of folks they figure aren't 'on side' or 'team players' or 'pulling in the same direction'.

All organizations do more than just provide a service or product, they also spend a lot of effort marketing and selling their corporate identities both internally and to the world at large. They expect employees to do the same even if that's not in their official job description.
posted by scheptech at 8:29 AM on October 5, 2005


Do you reckon the relevant demographics of their employees might be skewed in a particular direction? Would it get your hackles up?

That's totally irrelevant. This isn't an issue of what kind of people tend to work at certain places/for certain causes. It's an issue of federally funded discrimination.
posted by Jon-o at 8:33 AM on October 5, 2005


scheptech/uncany hengeman- That's a bit of a straw man. It all depends on whether the potential employee is capable of separating his/her beliefs from his/her job duties.

In the abstract, if a die-hard anti-choice advocate could bring it upon his-/herself to answer a phone and effectively communicate the required info, then yeah, there shouldn't be a problem. Back in reality, that's just not going to happen, and anti-choice folks just self-select themselves out of that job.
posted by mkultra at 8:35 AM on October 5, 2005


I just see it as a very big grey area and I would be so confident of drawing a line in the sand and saying what are acceptable and unacceptable hiring practices. My analogies weren't perfect, but I don't think they were totally irrelevant either.

Look, I'll even agree with you that The Salvo's hiring practices are totally untenable.

It's just that I reckon it could get very messy if this thinking was "morally consistently" applied to all employers who receive government funding.

I think the main problem is that The Salvos suddenly find themselves on record as wanting this power, whereas the smart organizations just keep mum about it but everyone knows what's going on anyway.


(I don't believe in God, BTW. Just in case any of you thought I was some happy clapper or something!)
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:53 AM on October 5, 2005


"...wouldn't be so confident..."

Sorry and damn.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 8:54 AM on October 5, 2005


What a shock the guy who has been here a whole week cuts right to the ad hominum.

Pot.. Kettle..
posted by buck09 at 8:57 AM on October 5, 2005


That's totally irrelevant.

You're suggesting other special interest groups don't discriminate in favor of hiring their own 'people' while receiving government funding one way or another?

It all depends on whether the potential employee is capable of separating his/her beliefs from his/her job duties.

Well again that's an if. What about the case where they're not and in fact are encouraged to consider themselves part of something bigger which is the situation in just about any organization. Economists used to think people worked just for money but managers now well understand that, to be their best, people need other things such as a sense of belonging, faith in the future, belief in larger corporate goals beyond their own immediate responsibilities. And so, they want people who'll fit in and will want to weed out those who don't. It's just human nature and good management in any type of organization. The "I'm just in it for a buck" person is doing things the hard way personally and is not generally considered a good hiring risk by anyone.
posted by scheptech at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2005


buck09 writes "Pot.. Kettle.."

You might want to check the year in my profile.
posted by Mitheral at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2005


Bowen v. Kendrick.

Mitchell v. Helms
.

These issues have already been addressed by the Supremes, and this sort of thing is just fine.
posted by dios at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2005


OK then I take back that bit about it being totally untenable.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 9:11 AM on October 5, 2005


happy clapper he he he.

Preferential hiring happens. It will always happen. Sometimes it's outright personal or systematic discrimination, sometimes it's a manager's gut feeling on whether the individual will "fit in."

I think that it's crazy to insist on equal opportunity hiring for faith-based or advocacy-based groups--it ain't going to happen. It doesn't make sense.

If we accept that fact, then the question remains: do we (the government) give them money? Is more good done by giving or not giving?
posted by thejimp at 9:14 AM on October 5, 2005


These issues have already been addressed by the Supremes, and this sort of thing is just fine.

Damn judicial activists! Gotta get people up there who'll honor the Constitution and won't legislate from the bench!

Oh, wait....
posted by lodurr at 9:22 AM on October 5, 2005


"Is more good done by giving or not giving?"
Not giving.

Sometimes adhering to rights causes pain. Sorry. Get a helmet folks. That tree of liberty being watered with blood isn’t hyperbole. You want religion? Fine. But I don’t have to subsidize it no matter how many people go hungry.

Is it me or do people not notice the church & state separation is there to protect the church as well?
Because if they’re taking my money they better damn well work under the laws and regulations commonly agreed to. Otherwise it is privilege and it does violate the first amendment.

“I take offense to this board's tendency to lump christians and conservatives into the same "Bad people for big business under a Christian God" stereotype.”
I’m with you there DuffStone. (Although I am a bastard, I’m not neo-Christian and I favor small biz)


“Well, it hasn't happened yet. Reason: the religious element (Christian, Hare Krishna, etc) is necessary for long term, sustained, selfless, cost effective charity work.”

Yeah, that American Red Cross doesn’t do shit. Secular bastards. UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, America's Second Harvest, Oxfam International, etc. could really uses some churchin’ up. And really, those local food pantries should be run by religious folks if anyone expects them to last another hundred years.
/sarcasm
posted by Smedleyman at 9:24 AM on October 5, 2005


You might want to check the year in my profile.

Pull rank! Yeah, pull it! pull it!
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2005


now that the SA has said they will only hire their own kind, is it a stretch to think that they will only want to help their own kind as well?
posted by ronenosity at 9:31 AM on October 5, 2005


who, despite their receipt of government money, would insist an abortion clinic hire a receptionist who believed they and their customers were all baby killers

I don't think this is a fair comparison, because you're saying this receptionist is directly involved in a business he/she disagrees with. This would be similar to saying that the Salvation Army would hire a soup cook that hates feeding the homeless. You're right about the group morale point and having better job performance if you like your employer. It doesn't have to be universal, though: the Salvation Army is doing two distinct things in that they're helping people AND spreading religion. It's when they believe they can't separate the two that I think we need to question why they're being given money.
posted by mikeh at 9:34 AM on October 5, 2005


Furthermore:

“...Despite their receipt of government money, would insist an abortion clinic hire a receptionist who believed they and their customers were all baby killers and declined to support the beliefs of the clinic?”

I would. I doubt such a person would want to work there. I also doubt they’d be there without an ulterior motive. But if that person needs a job, they must hire them whatever either side feels about it. Belly first then politics or religion (to misquote Brecht).

I’d also demand a pharmacist distribute birth control no matter what his beliefs. For sake of analogy - Christians taking the Eucharist are eating the body of Christ. Were this practice to go beyond the symbolic - that is actual cannibalism which some folks did practice ritually - I would also oppose it.
There are certain realities we all must conform to whatever our belief structure.
Where that belief structure interferes with the rights to my wealth, property and liberty and how I comport my life I oppose it. Particularly when endorsed by the US government which is supposed to be there to protect me from such irritations. Believing abortion is wrong does not affect whether I have one or my property or liberty. Not getting a job because I do, does. And vice versa.
Simple enough.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:38 AM on October 5, 2005


uncanny hengeman: I reckon it could get very messy if this thinking was "morally consistently" applied to all employers who receive government funding.

Certain non-discriminatory hiring practices are already required of most employers who don't receive government funding. How messy would it be, really, if this were extended to include government-funded charities?

thejimp: Preferential hiring happens. It will always happen... I think that it's crazy to insist on equal opportunity hiring for faith-based or advocacy-based groups--it ain't going to happen.

Hey, gang rapes happen. They will always happen. I think it's crazy to insist on manners and decorum from a bunch of violent-tempered, homocidal, hormone-addled primates -- it ain't going to happen.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:19 AM on October 5, 2005


buck09 wrote:

if you don't like what this man does, you could pass a law overriding him, provided you can get the support.

You've got it the wrong way around. Bush didn't like the way our government worked - tried to make a law - was rebuffed by Congress but decided to go ahead with his plan to funnel billions of dollars of federal funds to his pro Republican fundamental Christian organizations through the use of "executive order". What right does he have to spend billions of dollars of our money without consent of Congress on what in effect has become a not so subtle form of bribery? Any democracy in the world this would be seen as a blatant money for votes scandal but then again, I did say democracy didn't I?
posted by any major dude at 10:36 AM on October 5, 2005


You might want to check the year in my profile.

Whoosh!

The irony of attacking one ad-hominem argument with another made me chortle. That's all. Don't bother addressing the first half of my original post - it's more fun to snipe the newbies instead.
posted by buck09 at 10:41 AM on October 5, 2005


For everyone's information...

Here is a sample of the white houses rule changes (this one for D of HHS) to allow funding to faith-based organizations.

Things to note:

1. Funds are not to be used for "inherently religious activities" like "worship, religious instruction, or proselytization."

2. Employment exemption for discriminatory hiring is retained (like the judge said)

3. Nondiscrimination in providing assistance (this answers your question, ronenosity)

Western Infidels, I think you missed my point. A faith-based group is, by definition, based on faith. I don't know what gang rape has to do with it, but I think we aren't going to get the tail to wag the dog here. Do you really think they would sacrifice their sovereignty to the extent that they can't choose their own agents?
posted by thejimp at 10:41 AM on October 5, 2005


Bowen v. Kendrick.

Mitchell v. Helms.

These issues have already been addressed by the Supremes, and this sort of thing is just fine.
posted by dios at 9:06 AM PST on October 5


Maybe you weren't aware of this, dios, but sometimes the Supreme Court overturns earlier Supreme Court decisions. This should be one of those times.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 10:42 AM on October 5, 2005


Shredding the Constitution. Death of a thousand cuts.

Activist judges and troglodyte presidents.

Out of the boardroom and into the bedroom!

It's all state and individual rights federalism until someone does something that may be enjoyable to them then, BAM!!
posted by nofundy at 11:17 AM on October 5, 2005


buck09 writes "it's more fun to snipe the newbies instead."

Let's take this to email buck, I'd start but you haven't listed an address in your profile.
posted by Mitheral at 11:23 AM on October 5, 2005


I want to start a religion. Seems like a good financial move.
posted by bardic at 12:04 PM on October 5, 2005


Dude wrote:
You've got it the wrong way around. Bush didn't like the way our government worked - tried to make a law - was rebuffed by Congress but decided to go ahead with his plan to funnel billions of dollars of federal funds to his pro Republican fundamental Christian organizations through the use of "executive order".

I agree with you about the abuse of the executive order - it's been a problem with presidents for quite some time. However, since the executive oversees the policy of federal agencies, it's within the power given to him to do so. (Regardless of what the voters think of it.) Clinton made huge policy shifts using EO's as well - don't ask, don't tell comes to mind. Neither are justified, IMHO.

I still think "dictator" is really overstating the scope of his power, though. First, congress has the authority to override executive orders, though it's quite a hurdle (2/3rd majority). Second, we have a court system where these actions can be challenged and heard. This is what happened and the court ruled in SA's favor. That's one out of about a dozen federal courts. If it gets challenged in another federal court and there is disagreement between them in their rulings, it becomes a ripe case for the Supreme Court to take up. When I think of dictators, guys like Pol Pot or Charles Taylor come to mind, not our segway-crashing snickerpuss.

Finally, your characterization of faith-based organizations as being 1. conservative and 2. evangelical christian is a broad generalization. Many of the largest of faith-based organizations - mainline churches for example - can hardly be counted to vote for republicans. Anti-republican Unitarians can now have funds funneled into them as well. Perhaps 10th Satanist church of Iowa could even get fund for their charitable works. As far as I know, the Bush order does not discriminate between faith-based organizations, does it?

Your concerns about the influence of money is justified, but within 10 years, faith-based organizations will still be sucking at the federal teet. As long as democrats don't threaten to pull the funding away, the original influence the money may have garnered will wane.
posted by buck09 at 12:32 PM on October 5, 2005


thejimp: ...I think you missed my point. I don't know what gang rape has to do with it...

Does that line of reasoning - "We can't prevent X perfectly, so we should give up and allow X instead" - make sense where X = gang-rapes? Or where X is anything else at all?

This line of "reasoning" actually isn't.

thejimp: A faith-based group is, by definition, based on faith. ...I think we aren't going to get the tail to wag the dog here. Do you really think they would sacrifice their sovereignty to the extent that they can't choose their own agents?

Isn't this really just more of the same?

Anyhow, if I were King, I would ask faith-based groups to exercise their sovereignty by choosing between discriminatory hiring practices and receiving government funds.

And I imagine that faith-based groups would be best served by working towards their overall organizational goals, and the effectiveness of their employees, rather than worrying about the personal lives of their employees, anyway.
posted by Western Infidels at 1:03 PM on October 5, 2005


Yeah, that American Red Cross doesn’t do shit. Secular bastards. UNICEF, Doctors Without Borders, America's Second Harvest, Oxfam International, etc. could really uses some churchin’ up

Good point of course, I should've thought of them too. Although no one is calling them bastards or suggesting any of 'em need changing. Why this spin on things? The concern is Dubya is going to re-invent the entire country? Personally, I can hardly wait till he's no longer in office but then I couldn't believe the Republicans nominated a former presidents son in old-school aristocratic fashion in the first place. A man whose most significant qualification is his families rarified position in American politics and whose most apparent shortcoming is an inability to form complete sentences. The world is still reaping the bitter harvest of that cynical decision.

Many of the largest of faith-based organizations - mainline churches for example - can hardly be counted to vote for republicans.


I know a few people of faith, and trust me, no one I know is happy with Mr. Bush's warmongering. Here's what's going to happen: he'll have his influence on the supreme court, that will be his most long-lasting legacy, and social conservatives will take that as an acceptable consolation prize coming out of the whole mess, and will vote out the Republicans next time if the Democrats field a credible centrist alternative. I think a lot of people are praying the Dems eventually come up with a platform and candidate they can support.
posted by scheptech at 1:05 PM on October 5, 2005


The NYCLU has a somewhat more sanguine press release about the decision. The Related Stories articles have links to the NYCLU's amended complaint and the response to the Department of Justice brief (both PDF).
posted by skoosh at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2005


Finally, your characterization of faith-based organizations as being 1. conservative and 2. evangelical christian is a broad generalization.

Broad, but is it wrong? 2 is probably wrong, because "evangelical" is a specific subset. But not 1. It's in their nature.

The SA, for example, is clearly socially conservative by any useful definition of the term "socially conservative".
posted by lodurr at 1:09 PM on October 5, 2005


Well, I can't say much about the law, but if the Salvation Army thinks that I'm going to spend my hard-earned dollars at their overpriced thrift stores so they can evangelize and discriminate, they've got another thing coming.
posted by maxsparber at 1:51 PM on October 5, 2005


Broad, but is it wrong? 2 is probably wrong, because "evangelical" is a specific subset. But not 1. It's in their nature.

I guess I'd need a better idea of what the practical implication of being "socially conservative" entails. When I look at the SA, I don't see mass-prostelytizing going on. Perhaps it would be more productive to look at discrimination not on the way in, but on the way out. Does the SA discriminate against non-christians when giving aid? Not the last time I checked.

Don't you think a more reasonable standard would be based on the ultimate recipients of the federal benefit?

Furthermore, I know "discrimination" is a dirty word, but at some level, it's necessary in society. I think drawing the boundary line between acceptable and unacceptable should be somewhere along the lines of genetics. (As soon as we figure out if teh gay is contagious or hereditary ;-) Socially conservative groups aren't the only ones who get to pick and choose their employees based on ideology.

Before you get enough people together to make sure that the salvation army hires jewish lesbians, you better be comfortable with the prospect of Ralph Reed mini-me's demanding employment at the International Jewish Lesbians association...
posted by buck09 at 2:06 PM on October 5, 2005


you better be comfortable with the prospect of Ralph Reed mini-me's demanding employment at the International Jewish Lesbians association.

If they are qualified for the position, why wouldn't we be comfortable with it?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 2:29 PM on October 5, 2005


If they are qualified for the position, why wouldn't we be comfortable with it?

Sounds fuzzy I know, but practical group management issues at least? Getting the troops onside. Peace and cooperation in the workplace. How about attracting people to your cause, can't afford to pay 'em much but at least they get to work with like-minded people, oops.
posted by scheptech at 2:43 PM on October 5, 2005


buck09 writes "When I look at the SA, I don't see mass-prostelytizing going on."

I've seen it, lots[1], but then again I've had a few meals provided me by the SA.

buck09 writes "When I think of dictators, guys like Pol Pot or Charles Taylor come to mind,"

A person doesn't have to be a mass murdering pychopath to be a dictator. Not to say Bush is a dictator, he isn't and that's unlikely to be the brand of facsism the US ends up with. To paraphrase RAH, the worst tyranies are those imposed for the people's own good.

Thing that got me was not her list of things she hated, since she was obviously crazy as a Cyborg, but fact that always somebody agreed with her prohibitions. Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please. Rules, laws always for other fellow. A murky part of us, something we had before we came down out of trees, and failed to shuck when we stood up. Because not one of those people said: "Please pass this so that I won't be able to do something I know I should stop." Nyet, tovarishchee, was always something they hated to see neighbors doing. Stop them "for their own good" not because speaker claimed to be harmed by it.

[1] In Canada not the US but I can't imagine the Canadians being more evangelical than their southern brother.
posted by Mitheral at 2:46 PM on October 5, 2005


You might want to check the year in my profile.

I did, and it's fucking HUGE. How do you walk without falling over?
posted by Sparx at 2:48 PM on October 5, 2005


Sounds fuzzy I know, but practical group management issues at least?

If someone can't work well with others because of his or her beliefs, that may be grounds for termination; however, preemptively excluding a whole class of people from employment based on religion, sex, race, or whatever is vile and unAmerican.

How about attracting people to your cause, can't afford to pay 'em much but at least they get to work with like-minded people, oops.

That's a decision for the potential employee to make. If a Christian wants to be the receptionist for the Greater Duluth Satanists' Association, I don't think his or her faith should be an issue, until it interferes with work.

I really am interested in the legal justification for this discrimination. Can the Salvation Army choose to not hire blacks?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 6:27 PM on October 5, 2005


Last try to help you understand, Infidels. What I'm trying to say is that it is absurd to think that faith-based groups will ever be effective if they aren't exempt from equal opportunity restrictions. There's a reason that exemption exists. If you accept that premise, then the issue becomes...to fund or not to fund. We are not going to change faith-based groups into non-faith based groups. They are, what they are. Getting faith-based groups to change is NOT like getting gang rapists to change. I can't buy your logic there.

And I imagine that faith-based groups would be best served by working towards their overall organizational goals, and the effectiveness of their employees, rather than worrying about the personal lives of their employees, anyway.

You're absolutely correct. If the catholic church wanted to get more bums in seats for mass, they should get rid of those boring, egghead priests and hire Dave Chappell instead.

BTW, sovereignty has multiple meanings including:

"freedom from external control: autonomy"

If I vote for you for King, do you promise to convert the dungeon to a soup kitchen and work there at least twice a week?
posted by thejimp at 10:01 PM on October 5, 2005


buck09, he gives the bulk of this money to the most conservative evangelical groups that politically support the administration. I remember watching NOW a couple of months ago when an administration official was questioned about this disparity and the official said that he was the president and he has the right to support the religion that he believes in. This President has repeatedly ignored the issues and ideals of those that do not support him. That's not a president, that's a dictator. I truly cannot think of a decision he has made since the one to invade Afghanistan that I supported him on. Not one.
posted by any major dude at 11:12 PM on October 5, 2005


3. Nondiscrimination in providing assistance (this answers your question, ronenosity)

thejimp, just because it says a couple of words about Nondiscrimination in providing assistance does not mean there won't be plenty of it. And if not discrimination then for sure proselytizing and indoctrination. This is the preferred method of assistance for many faith based organizations working overseas. Why should we expect anything different from them here at home?
posted by ronenosity at 11:19 PM on October 5, 2005


And if not discrimination then for sure proselytizing and indoctrination.

Read my post again. The rules prohibit funds being used for "inherently religious activities" like "worship, religious instruction, or proselytization." This kind of rule seems easy to audit and enforce since it's out in the open. Will the groups involved derive ancillary benefits like increased publicity and name recognition? Sure, but so does any company contracted by the government. If the funding proposals are evaluated on their merit, and not on the religious preference of the executive, there shouldn't be a problem.

I agree with you that those receiving aid should not be discriminated against in any way and that they shouldn't be subject to any indoctrination or proselytizing.
posted by thejimp at 6:41 AM on October 6, 2005


Dude said:
he gives the bulk of this money to the most conservative evangelical groups that politically support the administration. I remember watching NOW a couple of months ago when an administration official was questioned about this disparity and the official said that he was the president and he has the right to support the religion that he believes in

Did Bill Moyers point out that the majority of federal funding for FBO's does not come directly from federal agancies? As far as I know, most of that money goes to the states first, who then decide which group gets funding and which one doesn't.
I would expect that in the south, evangelicals would tend to get more funding than, say, in new hampshire...
posted by buck09 at 9:16 AM on October 6, 2005


thejimp: Getting faith-based groups to change is NOT like getting gang rapists to change.

My gang-rape analogy wasn't about faith-based groups; it was about your reasoning.

thejimp: BTW, sovereignty has multiple meanings including: "freedom from external control: autonomy"

I know what sovereignty means. And I realize that if someone else is holding one's purse-strings, one simply doesn't have "freedom from external control" anymore.

I can understand the point of view that charities should be exempt from standard hiring requirements.

I cannot understand how it's even slightly controversial to suppose that they should give up that exemption if they accept government funding. If they don't want the money to dictate terms, they can simply not take the money. Isn't this generally the way things work in the rest of human endeavor?
posted by Western Infidels at 9:53 AM on October 6, 2005


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