Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Obama's God Problem, Part II

Apparently Senator Barack Obama did not heed my advice. Instead of shelving all his talk about "God" in politics, he's actively courting this outrageous affront to the separation clause. How does supporting and enhancing the role of "faith-based initiatives" represent "change"?

We have been force-fed religion in the political sphere by the Bush Administration, and faith-based initiatives were one of the staples of this unwholesome diet. And from appointees high and low to matters of policy large and small, this administration favored religious dogma, ideology, and patronage over science, reason, and experience. It really is time for something different.

Faith-based initiatives should stay where they belong: in the churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. Let's recall that these organizations are already tax-exempt. At least let's keep tax dollars from flowing back to these groups! Please?!? I for one would like to re-boot American politics, and Obama's rhetoric about change resonated with me. But in my eyes, coming out in favor of these initiatives is the first major blemish on the Obama Campaign.

3 comments:

Andrea said...

Without addressing the merits of your concerns, I would just note that I think that this is rooted in Obama's community organizing past. In that context, churches working with community organizations is pretty status quo, and doesn't carry the baggage of homeless captive audiences waiting through a proselytizing speech before they can get food.

Knight of Nothing said...

Point taken. My mom (as well as the source article I cited) echoed your sentiment. But I have become quite iconoclastic on this issue! In the 21st century, I'd like to believe that there are better sources for public policy, morality, and collectivity than religion.

J G-W said...

Ugh. I admit, I am deeply disappointed by Obama's stance on this.

I agree 100% in keeping government and church disentangled (which is why I disagree with you on the tax-exempt status issue).

To me it makes no difference that Obama is allied with more liberal churches, and churches that have historically done a better job at combating or alleviating homelessness and poverty than the churches Bush is allied with. Making seemingly good exceptions to the rule is the way terrible precedents are always set.

Of course, it was not Obama who created this particular precedent. But I agree with you that I wish his goal had been to roll this back and shut it down, not sustain and/or expand it.