Obama says faith-based is okay if it isn't entirely based in faith

I am not sure my headline captures it but it is close. In this New York Times article, Barack Obama is shown Zanesville, OH (near my old stomping grounds) promoting a kind of faith based initiative. After all the reading, I think the issue at odds is whether faith-based groups should be able to take Federal money if they can discriminate in hiring by only hiring people who support the faith on which the group is based. John McCain and most conservatives say such groups should be able to participate if they can control the hiring and Obama says no, groups cannot exclude people of other or no faith from working in their organizations.

I think Obama is very smart. He is courting Evangelicals by speaking an Evangelical dialect. Many rank and file Evangelicals would not support his bottom line positions but his public ideological opponents of late are attacking him without lifting up the alternative in corresponding positive tones. Until Evangelicals begin to promote McCain instead of merely attack Obama, the Illinois Senator is going to scoop up interest and possibly support among moderate Evangelicals where McCain could be strong. Mr Obama is seizing the opportunity.

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  • Scott

    From the NYT article cited:

    “If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion,” Mr. Obama said. “Federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples and mosques can only be used on secular programs.”

    Yeah, I think you have got the basic message right. This is a much better application of faith based initiatives than Bush II. On the governmental side there should be a separation of church and state (by design, from our founding documents). On the church side there is an incentive to maintain the division between a federally funded program and church function because there should be no compromising the message of faith.

  • http://nojam75.blogspot.com Norm!

    Sen. Obama’s proposal makes sense to me. Taxpayer money should not go to organizations with discriminatory hiring practices or to covertly supplement religious leaders’ income (i.e. requiring taxpayer-funded ministries’ managers to be clergy).

    That said, I think this issue could be a major blunder for Obama. This issue could give McCain an opportunity to connect with evangelical/fundamentalists. McSame seems to support Bush Jr.’s view that religious fundamentalists should have the right to use taxpayer funds to discriminate against non-believing employees.

  • Nick R

    Warren,

    Why should my taxes be used to discriminate against me?

    Thank you for explaining.


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