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  • Obama Takes the 'Faith' Out of Faith-Based Initiative

    In his speech today on faith-based programs, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) proposed that religious groups cannot compete for government contracts unless they give up their freedom to consider religion in their hiring decisions, a radical proposal that effectively repeals Charitable Choice:

    In order to receive federal funds to provide social services, faith-based organizations … must comply with federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religious organizations that receive federal dollars cannot discriminate with respect to hiring for government-funded social service programs.

    This is a complete reversal of the Charitable Choice language that President Bill Clinton signed in 1996. Obama’s plan says that when a faith-based organization takes federal dollars, it could be forced to hire an atheist or else lose its federal funding. Since people make policy, by losing the ability to control its people, the group would lose its ability to preserve its faith-based character. In other words, it would strike at the heart of the faith-based initiative.

    At the heart of the law Clinton signed in 1996 greatly expanding the ability of faith-based organizations to receive federal contracts was a provision making sure that faith-based organizations would retain their ability to take into account a person’s religion in employment decisions.

    While the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibited discrimination based on race, sex or religion, it also allowed religious organizations to take religion into account in hiring and firing. But once a faith-based organization took federal dollars, it lost this exemption. As a result, faith-based groups that contracted with the government to provide a general service — run a drug-rehab program or a homeless shelter, for example — had to give up their special religious character, becoming just another religiously neutral service provider.

    There were two problems with this arrangement. The first was that it prohibited religious groups from competing for federal contracts, contributing to what Richard John Neuhaus has described as “the naked public square,” a public life denuded of religion. The second problem was that several of the faith-based organizations were much more effective than other groups at getting drug addicts and convicts and at-risk teenagers to change their behavior. Research suggested that it was the pervasive religiosity of the faith-based organizations that led to their successes. And so sociologists, most prominently John J. DiIulio of the University of Pennsylvania, began recommending that government contracts for social services be opened up to faith-based organizations.

    Thus was born the idea of Charitable Choice, which then-Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) proposed and Clinton signed as Section 104 of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996. That law allowed religious organizations to apply for federal welfare contracts while retaining their ability to consider religion in hiring. Similar language was included in a wide variety of laws, including those helping the homeless and the mentally ill.

    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Obama Takes the 'Faith' Out of Faith-Based Initiative

    1. COL.[retd] A.M.Khaja says:

      Dear American Voters, reporters, media. professionals, political parties, and our hon. Presidential Nominees,

      Subject: Presidential Temperament

      Please talk about and "Compare And Contrast" the " Presidential Temperament" of our Presidential presumptive nominees. I will also request and plead to the nominees themselves [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama ].

      Our nation has been applying this yard and stick tor the appointments and confirmation process of our Supreme Court Justices nominees.

      Our Greatgrand Nation Foundations are as under:

      Family, friends, fellows, faith, funds, fun, with fairness & freedom And without fear, favor, and failure.

      It will be disgrace and shameful if the nominees and media will not look into this critical and crucial aspect under current challenging times and circumstances within our country and all around the Globe.

      America wake up and the discuss the " Presidential Temperament" of our presumptive presidential nominee's [ Hon. Senator McCain and Obama].

      Yours sincerely,

      COL. A.M.Khajawall [Ret].

      Disabled American Veteran

      Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas, Nevada

    2. PJ Crepeau, Washingt says:

      Astounding. Dan Maloney actually admits that when religious groups are forced to give up their use of bigotry in their hiring practices, they lose their "special religious character."

      In other words, their bigotry against others is integral to their religion. What a stunning admission.

      By contrast, our determination to avoid bigotry is integral to the special nonreligious character of secular individuals and organizations.

    3. SWyatt,Jonesville,NC says:

      PJ, your ability to actually glean 'bigotry' out of an article that doesn't even mention the word is astounding and typically liberal. The 'Government' takes moral issues and tries to politicize them. That doesn't make the issues any less about morality than it does make them political, although that is what liberals would love to do. Right will ALWAYS be right and wrong will ALWAYS be wrong. Do people of faith make mistakes time and again? Absolutely. Does that make them slime, no, maybe to a liberal though. Faith based programs have a lower recitivism rate than any other type programs because they offer the same hope that the rest of the people of consience seek. But do you see that in faith – based programs? No, liberals like you lash out using strong words of hate against those who are truely tolerant. We are supposed to tolerate you and your immoral designs, but you won't tolerate us? Get a bible, then start your life, and live it more abundantly by recognizing that we ALL need help in some fashion, and that live is worth living by helping your neighbors instead of calling them names and disparaging them.

    4. Jim T, Jacksonville, says:

      This is but one example of why our government should not become involved in funding faith based organizations.

      It isn't a matter of the good they may do, but a matter of the control the government may exercise over them if they receive tax dollars.

      There was a fundamental reason our Founding Fathers wanted a separation of church and state – so neither could control the other.

    5. Lee, Los Angeles, CA says:

      What happened to separation of church and state … one of the basic pillars of our founding fathers … one of the basic principals which separates us from the theocracies which are threatening peace in the world. Using faith and religion in a political race is just a way of preaching platitudes, while ignoring the real issues … a favorite red herring used by Barrack Obama … and, it sounds like a cheap pandering towards religious Americans, in order to get their votes in November.

    6. Robert Hunsdorf,nort says:

      Question, who is behind the sceens of the democratic left with the money and power to

      organize the theft of a nation and dictate

      what the newspapers print ?

      If you listen to obombamamba, he doesnt say

      anything.

    7. alan larson fort wor says:

      if this is implemented the christian groups will have to hire atheists in their groups and the programs will be held hostage to government burearacracy, not helping the individual. they may also lose their exempt status with irs..another fool thing that barak obama wants to do to ruin this country..to make us dependent on the federal governemt from cradle to grave..it is liberal rhetoric as its highest level..take from the rich to give to the poor…remember seperation of church and state..where did it go..

    8. Ezra, NJ says:

      Let's promote liberty from government intervention. We should not support the expansion of the welfare state and further government encroachment into social matters by adding faith-based institutions to those who make a living off of government handouts. Likewise, we should not be so eager to have private religious schools recieve government vouchers. Any church, synagogue or mosque which accepts government handouts deserves what it gets.

      Don't fall for the argument that government gives money to everyone else, then why not us. History is replete with good institutions which were destroyed by encroaching government intervention after they started receiving government funds.

      I say. Maintain the faith of faith-based programs by not accepting government funds. The problem is not faith vs. secular … the problem is government vs. private. Let’s keep the discussion where it belongs.

    9. marlene Creitz says:

      There is no such thing as separation of "church and state" in our constitution. Why don't some people read where this came from. Our forefathers did not put that in the constitution. LOOK IT UP. If some insist on that being part of our constitution, then remember it means the government can't tell you what religion you have to be. It has nothing to due with what some are trying to make it out to be.

    10. Roy Wilson; Olathe, says:

      What a shame so many are deceived into believing that we actually do have a separation of church and state policy in our country. Thomas Jefferson wrote a private letter to a private organization assuring them of his commitment to keeping the government out of the church affairs. Now, some lead our nation's citizens to believe that this was actually a principal decided upon by our Founding Fathers. What a joke! However, it's not funny since so many are victims of an educational and media system that orchestrated a lie rather than teach the truth about this issue. The wall of separation exists simply since some judge said it existed and the citizens continue in their nice nap.

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    13. Pingback: Obama’s Faith-Based Initiative: The Devil Is in the Details | The LA Progressive

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