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January 29, 2001
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Christian States of America according to President Dubya. Government should not fund international family-planning groups, but should fund faith-based programs. Someone please pinch me so I can wake up and discover this is just a bad dream.
posted by quirked (69 comments total)

 
Not to be too offtopic, but I just can't stand the euphimism "faith-based." I never heard it until W's campaign. Why can't they say "church-based?"

Is he betting that most people won't have a problem with making a connection between "faith and state" because that's not at all anything like "church and state," which is separated legally?

"President Bush thinks God and government shouldn't be afraid to work hand-in-hand."

What about the constitution?
posted by mathowie at 8:30 AM on January 29, 2001


See, this is the problem with having a president who thinks that I'm going to be tortured for eternity for the way I currently live my life. Why did we elect a born-again?
posted by Doug at 8:41 AM on January 29, 2001


What about those of us who don't believe in god? Will W be giving government money to any atheist organizations? I'd think that they would have just as much a claim to the money as any religious organization.. Of course, daddy George Bush seemed to think atheists should not be considered citizens, so I guess it probably won't happen.
posted by zempf at 8:43 AM on January 29, 2001


I'm pretty sure that Bush wouldn't support things I have faith in. He's only talking about HIS faith.

I'm interpreting his first few actions as president this way - "Only groups who support my personal religious beliefs get federal money."

When people asked him about the apparent conflict between church and state here, he basically said that faith was what we needed most in these troubling times.

Thanks for the advice. I'll start praying now.

posted by y6y6y6 at 8:43 AM on January 29, 2001


In addition to alienating any agnostics or atheists, I noticed he's quoted as saying "God." God, not Allah, Budda, or any other great unknown.

He's a uniter, not a divider?
posted by mathowie at 9:02 AM on January 29, 2001


::cringe::
I fear that the creation of a new office (aren't Repubs. against bureaucracy?) centered around faith-based organizations will do more harm than good for religious groups that are already providing services to their communities (besides the fact that I think that it is unconstitutional).

Churches and other religious groups already receive govt. funding (both cash and in-kind) for a wide array of services ranging from soup-kitchens to the development of housing for those with low incomes. The success of these programs largely comes from their connections with the communities in which they are based rather than from their religious bent; this connection to the community is sorely lacking in programs that are specifically run by government entities.

In my opinion, services provided by religious organizations (not the churches, synagogues, or mosques themselves) should be able to apply and receive the same funding that other non-profit agencies receive; what Bush has done is create a lightning-rod that could result in the opposite of his intent (providing funding to organizations that do their work effectively).
posted by Avogadro at 9:08 AM on January 29, 2001


Now I wish I hadn't defended him when he took away funding for overseas family-planning. Well, he just lost another customer. Er, so to speak.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:11 AM on January 29, 2001


Oh hooray, more political topics.
posted by Dark Messiah at 9:13 AM on January 29, 2001


In addition to alienating any agnostics or atheists...

Matt, he also left out devil worshippers. I mean does anyone have any idea how many devil worshippers there are out there who'd just love a check from Uncle Sam to continue their charitable practices? And what about the people who believe in Free Love -- it's religion to them -- hopefully Washington'll throw a couple bucks their way too.
posted by leo at 9:15 AM on January 29, 2001


Dark Messiah, political topics are important. And this thread is not just GWbashing (though it may be rather redundant redundant).
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:22 AM on January 29, 2001


I think this action shows what Mr. Bush means when he says he's a uniter. The tool he sees as the uniting force is based in religion and faith, and on the surface there's nothing wrong with that and it would be okay. In general terms, a belief system and set of doctrines concerning how to live one's life backed up with a reward and punishment system dolled out by a more powerful force than us usually works to do just that. It also, unfortunately, breeds zealotry and religious bigotry, but maybe that's also human.

The problem is that it appears, at this very early stage, that he sees the acceptance of Christian religion (and I think to be more accurate, Protestant Christian religion) as the uniter as opposed to religions in general. The example they provided was a Texas prison program in which inmates were retrained but also "encouraged" to attend Bible classes and evangelical tent revivals.

I have no religious affiliation at all, but I also have no problem with those that do. I think that Bush believes "in his heart" (to quote another very religious President who now builds housing for the poor and somehow managed to remain faithful to his own beliefs without compromising the Constitution) that he is going to unite the country. But I'm afraid he thinks we'll all be kneeling in front of a cross, and that just isn't going to happen.

Will the Bush presidency become known as the "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" years?
posted by honkzilla at 9:22 AM on January 29, 2001


This exact topic was discussed on WPR(wisconsin public radio) this morning on the way to work. Personal feelings aside, a good website for more information on the serperation of church(good call on the faith comment up there btw) and state - or the lack thereof - is the freedom from religion foundation.
posted by djc at 9:28 AM on January 29, 2001


now come on you're missing the point, i hate the guy as much as the rest of you -- but he's not advocating faith as much as he is abdicating the government's responsibility to the poor [this is what we're talking about, soup kitchens and homeless shelters] if he relies on "faith-based organizations" to provide public services, he doesn't have to instate ACTUAL PROGRAMS.

it's reprehensible.
posted by palegirl at 9:30 AM on January 29, 2001


Woah, there, Nelly! If that's the stance bush is taking, then I'm with him. It's not the fed's place to take care of our dinner. I donate time and money to local organizations who do that.
But, I think the original point was dead-on. He's being biased about who gets how much of my tax dollars.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:33 AM on January 29, 2001


palegirl, as much as I disagree with and dislike Bush, there is a need for community-based efforts to combat poverty, and to some extent, faith-based organizations (a term that has been around for years and is meant to include all faiths and religions) are integral parts of communities. I find that the best government programs that deal with social inequties are ones that use local programs to connect with neighborhoods.
posted by Avogadro at 9:41 AM on January 29, 2001


Not to be too offtopic, but I just can't stand the euphimism "faith-based." I never heard it until W's campaign. Why can't they say "church-based?"

Because it's not just churches, it's synagogues, mosques, temples and wards. It's all organizations run by people of all faiths of all styles and stripes which already have an excellent track record of doing a great deal for a great number of people -- with little bureaucracy, little red tape and little overhead.

So long as there is no discrimination based upon the belief structure of an organization applying for funding, then there's no reason why this should cause Constitutional conflict. The money is not going to further the cause of the religion but to underwrite the programs that faith-based groups have been running solely on private contributor dollars and will be able to expand if they can get a broader funding base.

The end result -- more homeless and hungry people can be fed and given shelter, more addicts can become drug and alcohol free, more children can have safe and educational daycare and more families can have a better foundation because of a better availability of job training.

The Bush proposal marks the first recognition that the work done by religious-based organizations makes up a huge part of the social safety net of this country, and proposes that we finally reward those good deeds financially so that their reach may be extended. To cynically kneejerk this as "Churches get my money to proselytise" is misguided at best.
posted by Dreama at 9:42 AM on January 29, 2001


Any tax specialist want to explain the difference between 501c3 and being a "church" and therefore non-taxable? Which is harder to attain? Which is audited more regularly and more stringently?

posted by mimi at 9:46 AM on January 29, 2001


"specialists," D'oh.
posted by mimi at 9:46 AM on January 29, 2001


While the religious organizations in my community do excellent work, I don't think they need or want a federal mandate to do so. Their mandate comes from their faith, which is just fine.

However, I know a lot of religious groups who do so in order to "minister the word of Jesus to heathens that haven't accepted Christ as their savior." These are the ones that frighten me. Religion and faith are deeply personal choices. The last thing you want to hear when you're going through a difficult time is that your personal choices are wrong and that if you only accept Jesus, your <insert social ill here> wouldn't be a problem.
posted by kat at 9:50 AM on January 29, 2001


Dreama, I agree with everything you say except this:
To cynically kneejerk this as "Churches get my money to proselytise" is misguided at best.


When folks read this statement about a program that Bush would advocate:
The program tries to improve inmates' work prospects by providing computer training and remedial education. But it also includes a steady dose of religion in Bible classes and tent-revival-type meetings.
then the reaction is based on some very real fears, and I think that funding these kinds of programs will bring about negative perceptions of other programs that are run by faith organizations but manage to keep religion out of the programs.
posted by Avogadro at 9:54 AM on January 29, 2001


I'm interpreting his first few actions as president this way - "Only groups who support my personal religious beliefs get federal money."

Is there any other interpretation? Can anyone not see the arrogance of the Bushs, older and younger? To me it is and always has been their dominant character trait. "I know the right way to live; just trust and emulate me and you'll be just fine. If not, you are highly suspect." No thanks, Georgie. I find you intellectually shallow, morally reprehensible, and almost entirely anti-democratic.

Organized religion is always waiting for the opportunity to seethe out and overwhelm the secular. Some bide their time more patiently than others, but virtually all view it as their moral responsibility. For this is serious stuff, folks! Good vs. evil! The godly vs. sinners! Forgive them (poor, confused rationalists), for they know not what they do...we must save them all, whether they want it or not (and swell our coffers in the process), for they are sheep and must be led to the path of righteousness and the Lord (even if kicking and screaming the whole way--they'll thank us in the end). If God himself gives us our mandate, what can we not do?

Bleech.
posted by rushmc at 9:56 AM on January 29, 2001


Organized religion is always waiting for the opportunity to seethe out and overwhelm the secular.
Yes, folks, actual paranoid rantings!
Not every chruch wants to eat you.
posted by sonofsamiam at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2001


This is all the result of a ten-year intellectual think-tank campaign that's finally reached the White House. The guru is Olasky and his works on the poverty fighting of the 19th-century.

Yes, it's the 21st century, and they're recommending a return to the 19th. There was a terrific article on this in the Canadian press, who've been snookered down this path somewhat already. I was certain I'd blogged it but I can't find where.
posted by dhartung at 9:58 AM on January 29, 2001


The last thing you want to hear when you're going through a difficult time is that your personal choices are wrong and that if you only accept Jesus, your wouldn't be a problem.

Unless you're as weak of character and resolve as, hmmm, George W. Bush, then it's EXACTLY what you want to hear (by his own admission), so that you can abrogate responsibility for conducting (or redeeming) your life responsibly, shifting it to some hypothetical entity and thus avoiding the apparently overwhelming and odious burden of thought and reason.
posted by rushmc at 10:01 AM on January 29, 2001


Not every chruch wants to eat you.

I suggest you look again, more closely.
posted by rushmc at 10:01 AM on January 29, 2001


As I first heard the report of this program on the radio this morning, the only thing that came to mind was A Handmaid's Tale - and all the chilly associations.

However.

If this program, this office, alleviates any of the misery that I see on a daily basis as I walk the streets of Chicago, then I say good on 'em. Better my money go to fund faith-based work than to put up a missile defense system.

I have a hard time imagining homeless or otherwise struggling families/individuals standing up and saying no to the money, because they are concerned about the separation of church and state. People who need and want help should damn well get that help and I'm all about supporting that.
posted by gsh at 10:06 AM on January 29, 2001


How could anyone doubt for a minute that these groups use community outreach efforts as an opportunity to proselytise? I can't believe Bush wants to allocate $24 billion over the next 10 years for this purpose.

Even if this is constitutional, do religious groups really want the meddling that always accompanies federal funding?
posted by rcade at 10:07 AM on January 29, 2001


Isn't that article about George Bush's stand on athiesm referring to George Bush Senior?
posted by waxpancake at 10:07 AM on January 29, 2001


I suggest you look again, more closely.
How very ominous. For someone so thoughtful and reasonable, you're making some rather broad generalizations.
Some folks will use religion as a justification for everything they do, and if you don't agree, well, you must be a heathen. Some others will approach the ideas of god and morality as honestly as they can and apply them as effectively as they can. Most will probably be somewhere inbetween, but, let me assure you, there is no "The Man" trying to get your, uh, remind me again what it is that the "Church" has to gain from your patronage?
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:09 AM on January 29, 2001


Yes, the quote on atheists not being worthy of citizenship was by Bush the elder (as I did note in my post), but from what he's done so far as president, W seems to be proving that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
posted by zempf at 10:13 AM on January 29, 2001


I need to see specifics. Who gets what money and on what grounds? And how is the money sent to faith based places to be checked by the govt? And what of "administrative overhead"? And will one in need have to go to a faith based place in order to get help? (Salvation Army required some attendance at services.)
I work at a soup kitchen a few times a montyh. Thiws is funded by the city. Religious places use their facilities for the soup kitchen. Fine.
But does faith based mean no govt money or jhust another way of handing it our to help those in need? Or is this a way to use lewss tax money etc. thus far, the specifics are no there to discuss. My long-time cynical view of the GOP is that less is better when it comes to those not with a great deal to begin with. Thus I don't want to knock the idea but I want to see what it really is saying.
posted by Postroad at 10:28 AM on January 29, 2001


"The Bush proposal marks the first recognition....."

No it doesn't. This has been recognized and discussed all over the place.

What the proposal does is encourage the idea that "faith based" charities are preferred. They are better for us. They encourage the idea that with religious faith we'll have an easier time pulling the poor and down-trodden out of the moral wasteland that we've sunk into.

What crap. People aren't poor because they lack religious faith. And religious charities aren't any better than non-religious charities. Our government is just doing everything it can to make us think lack of religion is the problem.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:33 AM on January 29, 2001


Amazing how many people here talk as if GWB were planning and implementing this stuff ex nihilo and off his own bat - he's just the frontman, after all.

Props to dhartung and palegirl - it's very transparently an attempt to let the state drop its responsibility towards the disadvantaged - a return to 19th century private charity (as well as 18th century economics).
posted by Mocata at 10:35 AM on January 29, 2001


How could anyone doubt for a minute that these groups use community outreach efforts as an opportunity to proselytise?

Because there are thousands of groups around the country who do not proselytise. They offer the social service that they are designed for, and make the recepients aware of opportunities to partake in religious teaching/services at other times or in addition to the program.

There are clearly evangelistic programs, and there are secular alternatives run by sectarian and non-sectarian groups alike. The Bush plan clearly states that there should always be a secular equivalent alternative available whenever this new funding program is used by a faith-based organisation.
posted by Dreama at 10:42 AM on January 29, 2001


They offer the social service that they are designed for, and make the recepients aware of opportunities to partake in religious teaching/services at other times or in addition to the program.

Give me a break. Making someone aware of religious opportunities is proselytizing.

Take a look at the Web site for Inner Change, one of the groups that will be feeding at this new federal trough. If the focus of that group is computer training and remedial education, you wouldn't know it from looking at the site.

The program is described as "a 24-hour a day prison for inmates near release that promotes transformation from the inside-out through the miraculous power of God's love. We use the words 'inner' and 'change' because they so clearly evoke the transformational process of turning away from a sinful past and turning toward a life of following Christ. The word InnerChange Freedom Initiative also suggests a crossroads of a highway, a place where it is necessary to choose a new and better direction. The choice confronting prisoners in this program is to be born-again, to transform into a new and better person through the power of God."

Words can't express how happy I am that George W. Bush is finding a way for me to support someone else's religion with my tax dollars.
posted by rcade at 11:02 AM on January 29, 2001


It is the hypocrisy that gets me. There is no funding of family-planning groups because they might discuss abortion. Tax dollars can't be used that way because it is against a religious viewpoint. Then W goes and allocates money for religious groups. No matter how noble he makes it sound, I don't want my tax dollars used that way.
posted by quirked at 11:05 AM on January 29, 2001


Couldn't resist returning because I remembered that very recently I saw a study/poll which pointed o0ut that those who were believers (relion) were very much for Bush . this then would help to keep this group faithful (so to speak) to W's vision. For those opposing this vission, try this:
http://www.bartcop.com/
posted by Postroad at 11:13 AM on January 29, 2001


Bloody hell. Pour me another shot of tequila, will you?
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:20 AM on January 29, 2001


Washington Post, May 24, 1999:

"ATLANTA, May 24 – In a speech laced with references to his own religious beliefs, Vice President Gore today proposed expanding the role of faith-based organizations to solve a host of social problems.

Opening the federal grant process to churches, synagogues and other private groups will create a "new era of civil society collaboration" while still ensuring the separation of church and state in America today, Gore said.

(snip)
"Today I give you this pledge: If you elect me your president the voices of faith-based organizations will be integral to the policies set forth in my administration," Gore declared.

Full article - including Gore & Bradley's support of Sen. Ashcroft's original proposal - can be found at here.]

posted by lileks at 11:21 AM on January 29, 2001


lileks - bwaa-ha! Yeah, I could see how this post isn't at all about W bashing.
posted by tiaka at 11:31 AM on January 29, 2001


Even if this is constitutional, do religious groups really want the meddling that always accompanies federal funding?

The more appropriate question to ask really is, what religious group wouldn't be willing to put up with federal bureaucracy if it meant FREE MONEY?

But I think using the term "faith-based" is silly. Any charity should be supported. Most around here would be considered "faith-based," but I would oppose any higher priority being placed on "faith-based" organizations as opposed to "goodwill-based" groups. I think the term is probably used as a way to distinguish those programs from government-based programs, but it's obviously struck a nerve with Metafiltrates.

It's certainly worth watching and being vocal about GW's probable propensity to promote protestant-preaching programs. But on the surface, the idea isn't all bad.
posted by daveadams at 11:43 AM on January 29, 2001


ear Tiaka: the posts are mostly about the message. You view it as the messenger being attacked. But since the message is what the messanger wants and hopes to deliver, they are one and the same. If your president had not raised the issue so early in his term, then no one would be posting objections, no? But you seem to have a need to defend your guy. Ok, fair enough. But how do you feel about the suggested program?
I had thought you to be some sort of Libertarian and thus the idea of your tax money going to a church to help out those in need sounds very un-Libertarian to me. But I might be wrong.
posted by Postroad at 11:48 AM on January 29, 2001


So you're saying that the people here are not interested in the issue of separation of church & state or anything, but are only doing it because it's a W program? And if Gore had been elected & proposed the same program, all would be good? I don't propse to speak for the rest of the MeFi-ers, but my religious beliefs (or non-beliefs, as it were) are still the same no matter who is in office, and I would take offense to this program no matter who was proposing it.
posted by zempf at 11:49 AM on January 29, 2001


I am all for more community-based social programs, but unfortunately any Federally-funded program, even if ostensibly "community-based," ends up essentially being run by the Feds because little by little they attach more and more strings to the money. If you're a community service organization, you do it that way or you don't get Federal money. And of course, since everybody knows that whatever social problem the program is intended to address has already been "taken care of" by their paying taxes, they are reluctant to contribute privately to local organizations or even to volunteer. After all, they pay their taxes, what more could be expected of them? So once Federal funding makes up a significant proportion of your budget, you'll have a harder and harder time replacing it with something else, which means the "qualifications" for Federal funding take on the force of regulation. What were formerly private organizations become defacto agencies of the Federal government.

On the one hand, I hate to see the tendrils of the Federal bureaucracy extend further and further into private life. On the other hand, over the next few decades, this idea has the potential to almost completely destroy organized religion, or at least make it so dependent on the Federal government for funding that it's not permitted to say or do anything remotely offensive, thereby effectively neutralizing it. So, as you can see, I'm torn between supporting this program and railing against it.
posted by kindall at 11:56 AM on January 29, 2001


To cynically kneejerk this as "Churches get my money to proselytise" is misguided at best.

You missed something, Dreama. There are people who don't believe in any faith, and such people are equally citizens and tax payers of this country. If Bush wants to give more money to small community based programs, regardless of whether they are run by religious organizations, then that would be fine. But giving money solely to religious groups, regardless of which ones, is proselytizing for religion. Because that is part of what those groups do with the people they help, in addition to providing food and shelter. And it is simply wrong for the government to take an action that favors religious folk over non-religious folk.

posted by dnash at 12:18 PM on January 29, 2001


lileks: From the first presidential debate:

"LEHRER: Governor Bush, if elected president, would you try to overturn the FDA's approval last week of the abortion pill RU-486?"

BUSH: I don't think a president can do that.


From today's newspapers:

"Bush aides also said the new administration will revisit the federal government's recent approval of the abortion-inducing drug RU-486."



I think we all can agree that campaign promises and Presidential acts are seldom one and the same.

(Sorry for the clumsy post. I couldn't find a tidy way to link to 2 links in a MeFi thread. All thanks a praise to rcade for originally pointing out the discrepancy.)
posted by jpoulos at 12:21 PM on January 29, 2001


This looks like "block grants," but in another form. He's robbing the power of Federal Government and grossly violating the Constitution in one brilliant stroke!

He's like a super Republican...perhaps a new super hero. Dumber than the average door-stop, able to crush the hopes of poor Americas with just one blow, and circumvent the Constitution in a single bound!! It's a crazy Jesus person! No, it's a racist, no its Super W!!!
posted by Bag Man at 1:36 PM on January 29, 2001


maybe now we can see a difference between gore and bush?
posted by bliss322 at 1:41 PM on January 29, 2001


I realize I am in the minority here, big time, although I do not support Bush. I'm concerned about the principles underlying these comments. I'm tempted to abstain, but I feel compelled to write.

People use 'faith-based' instead of 'church-based' because the idea is to include non-Christian faiths as well.

I think part of the problem in the gulf between opinions on this issue is conception of separation of church and state. My understanding of the framers' intention is not to keep church and state from ever working together so much as to make sure that they are not too closely linked.

Part of my concern here is the assumption that we can somehow do policy without values. Impossible.

Therefore, what some people end up arguing for is the values of secularism (or pick a term more germane, I'm open). And frankly, it ends up being an argument for the conjunction of secular church and state - forbidding a role for the church and its values in policy.

Additionally, and I've said this before, rhetoric comparing policies based on church values (a broad construction; define 'church' in the context of this post) to 'The Handmaid's Tale' is unreal invective of the worst kind.

If we want to be a pluralistic culture, which I think is the goal, then we should work harder to skip the rhetoric and the 'secularly righteous indignation' and try harder to understand one another. A large number of people in this country voted for Bush, for what they thought were good reasons, and not based on any kind of conspiracy to take over the government (generally speaking). Do you think people want 'The Handmaid's Tale', barring a few crazies? These kinds of statements can only separate us further from one another.
posted by Sean Meade at 2:08 PM on January 29, 2001


the values of secularism (or pick a term more germane, I'm open)

"Secular humanism" is the complete term. I heard lots of sermons against it when I was a kid.
posted by kindall at 2:15 PM on January 29, 2001


Faith-based charities deliver social services at an incredible economy: less bureaucracy, a far higher preponderance of volunteer and low-paid clerical/missionary labor to administer what bureaucracy is required.

Just think about the difference in cost structure between a typical church soup kitchen / food bank and the Food Stamp program.

Faith-based charities also have the roots and structure in the community necessary to add a supportive and rehabilitative structure around basic nutrition, housing, and health support. For better or worse, few non-religious charitable organizations seem to want to be in this particular line of charitable services.
posted by MattD at 2:43 PM on January 29, 2001


I think the assumption is that you can do values without God. The fear is that God-based values will trump humanist values, as they already have in funding family-planning programs. This is not how U.S. government is supposed to operate, according to the Constitution.
posted by sudama at 2:57 PM on January 29, 2001


If the government is giving my tax money to a charity, I want the right to take a tax deduction for it.

Not too likely, tho, is it?

Maybe a nice card then? "A Gift has been been sent in your name to Holy Rollers Health and Beauty Fund"

Probably not.

You know...

...even the church doesn't MAKE you put money on the offering plate...
posted by Perigee at 3:02 PM on January 29, 2001


My marriage was faith based. My divorce was governmental.
posted by Postroad at 5:25 PM on January 29, 2001


"My understanding of the framers is not to keep church and state from ever working together so much as to make sure that they are not too closely linked."

The original intent was to keep the state out of religion. This will fly in the face of that valid concern and allow the government to audit church based programs.

I think this belief that we will pay taxes, and also lessen program accountability (because they are religious they won't mis-manage money, yeah RIGHT) to ourselves as taxpayers is patently insane. If we fund it, we have the right to know if the program is effective and well managed.

Imagine a bank that doesn't audit and requires minimal paperwork. They would be popular at first and knee deep in debt in less than a decade.

Bush senior promised tax cuts, and delivered the debt we are paying off today. We don't need to shuffle where and how we deliver social services, we need better accounting, not more of the sanctimonious and delayed billpaying of the previous bush administration.
posted by Sqwerty at 7:09 PM on January 29, 2001


"...Bush said tax dollars "will never fund religion" and added that he will seek to ensure that there is "a secular alternative available" for any government service provided by a religious group."

Your reaction should not be "Why should I give those damn Christians my money? I don't believe in their god." It should be "Is this unconstitutional? Is it erasing the line that separates church and state?"

"...left out devil worshippers. I mean does anyone have any idea how many devil worshippers there are out there who'd just love a check from Uncle Sam to continue their charitable practices?

I wasn't aware that devil worshippers were offering homeless shelters and criminal rehabilitation. Are they? If so then yes, those would fall under the term "faith-based."

"I noticed he's quoted as saying "God." God, not Allah, Budda, or any other great unknown.

God is a loose term. Even Zeus could fall under the heading of "god". Most faiths feature something or someone that would be considered either a deity or a god.

BTW, Is Bush eliminating funding for American-based family-planning centers as well? Or just the ones in other nations?
posted by crushed at 11:46 PM on January 29, 2001


remind me again what it is that the "Church" has to gain from your patronage?

Money. Power. More money=more power.
posted by rushmc at 3:54 AM on January 30, 2001


Your reaction should not be "Why should I give those damn Christians my money? I don't believe in their god." It should be "Is this unconstitutional? Is it erasing the line that separates church and state?"

On what basis have you determined what my reaction should be? In fact, it is both of the above.
posted by rushmc at 3:55 AM on January 30, 2001


Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, a Dutch minister takes a first step to replace the disappearing US funding for family planning by EU money.



posted by thijsk at 7:29 AM on January 30, 2001


Give me a break. Making someone aware of religious opportunities is proselytizing

So if I say "We'll have prayer service in the morning at 10." that's proselytising? By that narrow definition, every religious organisation that has a signboard on its building listing the times of events and services is proselytising every passerby.

Though I hate falling back on dictionary definitions, the word clearly requires something more than just giving information.
posted by Dreama at 9:46 AM on January 30, 2001


I see no reason to believe that the faith-based groups running these charities are going to pass up the opportunity to proselytize. Inner Change is being held up as an example of the kind of program that will get this money, and I think it's deeply offensive to the principles of this country to spend tax dollars promoting one religious viewpoint under the guise of community charity.

If the Scientologists establish a prison job skills program, will you be eager to see the U.S. support it with federal funding?
posted by rcade at 10:09 AM on January 30, 2001


By that narrow definition, every religious organisation that has a signboard on its building listing the times of events and services is proselytising every passerby.

Umm...why, exactly, do you think they post those signs? Not for those who already attend their services, who surely know when they are held...
posted by rushmc at 10:20 AM on January 30, 2001


People use 'faith-based' instead of 'church-based' because the idea is to include non-Christian faiths as well.

Actually, people use 'faith-based' to avoid saying 'religious'. There hasn't been one use of 'faith-based' on this entire thread, where you couldn't substitute the more commonly-used 'religious'. When the Republicans go about doing something, first they change the name. Remember the job done on 'Social Programs'? Next thing we knew they were 'entitlements'.

I wasn't aware that devil worshippers were offering homeless shelters and criminal rehabilitation. Are they? If so then yes, those would fall under the term "faith-based."

I'd love to see that. Wonder how the Right-wing media would play it.
posted by leo at 10:49 AM on January 30, 2001


Your reaction should not be "Why should I give those damn Christians my money? I don't believe in their god." It should be "Is this unconstitutional? Is it erasing the line that separates church and state?"

What I meant by this, and what I thought I made clear by the quote I posted from the article, was that Christians, at least in theory, are not going to be the only ones who are given the money. Therefore you shouldn't get angry that they get part of it. If you do then you are just as biased as those who would refuse to pay for secular or athiest or Buddhist community programs.

I'd love to see that. Wonder how the Right-wing media would play it.

Keep in mind I said it would fall under the term, I didn't say it would happen. :)

Religions basically refuse to work together. The Nation of Islam won't be getting money because of things Farrakhan said about the Jewish. Therefore someone will yell about how not all faiths are being represented. However, if they were to get money, someone would yell about giving money to people "whose leader...has made disparaging comments about Jews". As for the quirked's contrast between the family-planning centers and this, I would rather my money go to American-based faiths that I do not agree with that are helping people in our country than for my money to go to activities and centers in other countries. I realize a need for family-planning centers in other nations. It would be nice to be able to financially support both of these things, but I think we should get our own sh*t together before attempting to fix the world.

I also realize that Bush isn't the brightest guy. However, he's is our President. So let's at least give him a chance, and see if all of this is going to work before completely getting up in arms over everything he does in office.
posted by crushed at 6:53 PM on January 30, 2001


Here's an undiscussed problem about the 'faith based' services issue: the fact that secular organizations by accepting federal money have to abide by federal non discrimination statutes and executive orders. Currently, religious organizations do not have to abide by those laws, and in some cases would find it very offensive to follow the laws. For instance, in Kentucky, a religious organization getting state funding fired a lesbian staffer after learning she had an 'alternative lifestyle.'

Shouldn't these religious organizations have to play by the same rules as secular ones? In the case of the Bush initiative, he will apparently get around this problem by exempting the religious organizations from said non discrimination statutes. Bring on the lawsuits. . .
posted by norm at 8:55 PM on January 30, 2001


The latest from Dubya at the annual National Prayer Breakfast.
posted by quirked at 12:19 PM on February 1, 2001


"Today I give you this pledge: if you elect me President, the voices of faith-based organizations will be integral to the policies set forth in my administration." -- Al Gore, May 1999

""The men and women who run faith-based missions for the homeless . . . recognize, as do the large majority of homeless people themselves, that missions inspired by religious conviction are able to do a better job providing for those who have no home. Government cannot solve the problem of homelessness on its own." -- Joseph Lieberman, 1996

posted by aaron at 5:06 PM on February 6, 2001


That's fine, Aaron, just don't make me pay for it.
posted by norm at 1:27 PM on February 7, 2001


Golly, there is so much lampshade that inhibits my harmonic disembodiment. Larry and I took that fuzzy car out of the pencil and then it wasn't so hard any longer. Do you think that if no one went where the place was happening at the same time, that there might not take another step down that high underwear? Jealousy, then, probably, cause?
posted by honkzilla at 8:22 PM on July 11, 2001


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