The easing of dissent
May 9, 2003 6:42 AM   Subscribe

US quietly eases rules for faith-based groups. The Bush administration has quietly altered regulations for the nation's leading job training program to allow faith-based organizations to use ''sacred literature,'' such as Bibles, in their federally funded programs. Further, the change made by the US Labor Department last month, could allow faith-based groups to use religious books as historical texts. (via dp)
posted by four panels (30 comments total)
You mean the bible ain't literal? Jeez. On a more serious note, god help us.
posted by Busithoth at 6:46 AM on May 9, 2003

What will happen when non-Christian groups try to use their "sacred literature" in programs? Or will they just be denied funding?
posted by FiveFrozenFish at 6:48 AM on May 9, 2003

i got some sacred literature for those bastards. it's called the u.s. constitution, and someone needs to ram a few copies up dubya's memory hole.
posted by quonsar at 6:50 AM on May 9, 2003

They'll just be denied funding. Can you imagine the Koranic Kindergarten?

I say fund the charities and support faith-based missile defense!
posted by ahimsakid at 6:51 AM on May 9, 2003

So what's new is not that religious groups can run federally-funded job training programs, but that they can now discriminate on who to hire to run these programs? And now they can use religious texts, and don't have to provide secular and non-ideological services?

What the hell kind of non-secular job do churches need federal money to train people for? This is lame.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:56 AM on May 9, 2003

This kind of program, as practiced by Saudi Arabia, is exactly why there's such a widespread terrorist threat already. You don't fight that by farming your own team too.
posted by techgnollogic at 6:58 AM on May 9, 2003

Wow, after promising to keep a faith-based initiative secular in regards to the practices of participating members, Bush suddenly changed his mind and decided to make it possible for Federally-funded programs to teach the Bible. Golly! I never saw that coming!

On the plus side, wouldn't making this change be ideal grounds for having the whole system thrown out via the courts on Religious Establishment grounds?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:09 AM on May 9, 2003

Not to piss on this, but I don't really think we are going to become another Saudi Arabia, i'm much more troubled by multi-billion dollar haliburton contracts and patriot II than by some 'good ole bible reading' by some people that were probably already reading the bible in the first place.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:17 AM on May 9, 2003

Well what do people expect?

The kickbacks for corporations that sponsored the Bush Cell, are also being handed out to the religious groups that brainwashed Dubya while saving him from himself.
It's the least he could do.

Whether it's good for the American people as a whole, or not, I dare say didn't even enter his head.

He's "dancing with them what brung him."
posted by Blue Stone at 7:18 AM on May 9, 2003

''If you dip your fingers in the federal till, you can't complain if a little democracy rubs off on you.''

The reason my christian high school supported being taxed.
posted by thomcatspike at 7:18 AM on May 9, 2003

Reading The Case for Christ right now, which provides a lot of evidence to this once skeptic as to the historical accuracy of the New Testament.

Still, unless they are training a new crop of biblical scholars or pastors it sounds like a pretty useless program.

I think I get more of a kick out of that as a Christian than I would any other way.
posted by will at 7:21 AM on May 9, 2003

In a separate action, the House is expected today to approve a change allowing private groups that run job training programs to discriminate on the basis of religion when they hire people to run them. That change, part of legislation to renew the overall program, would lift a ban that has existed in federal law for two decades.

Has it resonated in anyone else's head after reading this that the House essentially passed legislation that openly endorses making it easier to practice bigotry?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:25 AM on May 9, 2003

shhhh. if this leaks out everybody   is gonna want legislation that openly endorses making it easier to practice bigotry.
posted by quonsar at 7:51 AM on May 9, 2003

No, I know we're not becoming another Saudi Arabia. I just don't understand why religious job training programs need these regulation changes to be effective.
posted by techgnollogic at 7:53 AM on May 9, 2003

not to derail or insult, but, will, if the case for christ cures your skepticism, you probably were never really skeptical in the first place. interviewing only people who already believe what he is trying to prove is not a good way for the author to make his case: isn't this similar to what fox news does?

on topic: the article makes this look pretty foul on the part of the administration. their spokespeople can't or won't explain why the language was changed to allow "sacred literature." i wouldn't be bothered by the erosion of the line between church and state if the state taxed the hell out of the church.

but the thing i often wonder about when things like this come up is who in this admin pushes for stuff like this? rove, cheney, wolfie and rummie all seem the like real powers in this admin, and none of them strike me as particularly religious, being too busy worshipping at the churches of their egos. actually, scratch that. i can see rove and cheney promoting this purely from a strategic point of view.

that makes the whole thing much worse in a way: they're doing it purely to curry favor, not out of belief which, in my mind, makes the whole thing actually an insult to the very groups they appear to be propping up by doing it.
posted by lord_wolf at 7:57 AM on May 9, 2003

lord_wolf: I must admit that yes, at one time I was a very close minded atheist. I was completely unwilling to even consider anything that had to do with the Bible. Being a new convert to Christianity based on spiritual experience, I had a lot of unanswered questions as to the validity of what I was reading.

The book itself is pretty fair. The people interviewed are experts in their field, and so far each of them has claimed that their scientific exploration of the bible has strengthened their belief. I understand it's easy to assume that they only saw what they wanted to, but they do entertain a lot of contrary ideas and seem to have good explanations for them.

Sorry for the derail, folks. wolfie, if you want to talk further, you're more than welcome to email me.
posted by will at 8:10 AM on May 9, 2003

Next up, renaming the nation -- the United States of God-Bless-America. *sigh*
posted by serafinapekkala at 8:15 AM on May 9, 2003

The Handmaids Tale comes to life more and more every day.
posted by damnitkage at 8:29 AM on May 9, 2003

You don't think we're turning into (admittedly a different form, same end result) another Saudi Arabia?

You must have never been to the South. I've lived there most of my life.

These religious freakshows are getting the governmental approval for their heinous actions they've been seeking for a long time. It will only make them bolder.

It's going to take decades to reverse the damage the bush regime will do/has done to this country.

I just hope we don't have to wait until 2008 to start fixing it.
posted by zaack at 8:29 AM on May 9, 2003

Cool, time to open up a Taliban sweatshop!
posted by shepd at 8:57 AM on May 9, 2003

I am not so horrified by the New Testament, nor do I find Jesus particularly inconsistent with a humanistic worldview. It's the Old Testament that fucks with our heads.

I'm with lord_wolf on this issue: Use a bible, go to the IRS.
posted by divrsional at 9:17 AM on May 9, 2003

wolfie, if you want to talk further...

run wolfie, run.
posted by quonsar at 10:13 AM on May 9, 2003

On the plus side, wouldn't making this change be ideal grounds for having the whole system thrown out via the courts on Religious Establishment grounds?

Not really. You can justify an awful lot of this on free expression grounds anyway. Under the old system, if you wanted federal funds to help people, you could decorate your room however you like and hang whatever you wanted on the wall, as long as it wasn't a cross. Which isn't neutrality, it's penalizing religious expression in private organizations.

Under the old system, you could talk about anything in the whole wide world as an inspirational example, as long as it wasn't God. That's not free expression, that's penalizing religious expression, which is usually not kosher.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:30 AM on May 9, 2003

*ring ring*
"Hello? Supreme Court here..."
"Yeah, hi. This is the ACLU. Yeah, listen, what's your schedule like around 2004? We've got a doozy for ya..."
posted by kaemaril at 12:03 PM on May 9, 2003

"Fine, but make it quick, we'll be busy with the election in November." :)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:07 PM on May 9, 2003

Not to piss on this, but I don't really think we are going to become another Saudi Arabia, i'm much more troubled by multi-billion dollar haliburton contracts and patriot II than by some 'good ole bible reading' by some people that were probably already reading the bible in the first place.

I think this is just a piece that fits into an overall strategy regarding the above issues. After all, you need a rabid group of loyalist if you're going to seize more power.
posted by velacroix at 12:12 PM on May 9, 2003

Hey quons, that's not nice.

posted by will at 1:58 PM on May 9, 2003

Here's a solution.

Someone in one of these federally-funded training programs starts teaching from the Qu'ran with your tax dollars! Bill O'Reilly gets pissed off and makes it his Most Ridiculous Item of the Day, Tom Brokaw reports on The Fleecing of America", people get pissed off, then someone else reports how it is perfectly legal now that the administration has changed it. Realizing that this poses a clear and present danger to Homeland Security, we immediately go back to the old system.
posted by Hildago at 3:16 PM on May 9, 2003

Quietly? Where the hell has everyone been?
posted by bradth27 at 8:12 AM on May 10, 2003

Distracted, bradth27, distracted.

There's a lot going on here at home that just isn't making the media because, after all, there's so much happening in other countries right now.

What I wanna know is, which faith-based organizations will be accepted and which ones will be denied? And who makes the decision?
posted by FormlessOne at 9:19 PM on May 11, 2003

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