A Rare Kudos to Obama Moment [UPDATE - Kudos Withdrawn]
If this is true (and, more importantly, if he follows through on it if elected), then kudos to Sen. Obama:
An AP article reports that Senator Obama will expand President Bush’s faith-based program initiative, and allow religious organizations receiving federal monies to consider religion when hiring and firing ...
Kudos withdrawn. Well, that didn't take long. Stephen Braunlich provides the details in comments:
It's amazing that the AP articles haven't been corrected yet. The actual text of the speech says the following:So, it appears that Obama may be doing just the opposite of what the AP article is claiming. Kudos withdrawn until there is some additional clarification of Obama's position on faith-based initiatives."First, if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money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."(emphasis added)
Seems to me that if a Catholic organization refuses to hire a practicing homosexual Anglican they are liable to have their grant money pulled on the grounds that the refusal to hire is motivated by a conflict of religious beliefs.
The Catholic League's Bill Donohue offers his take on Obama's faith-based approach:
OBAMA’S FAITH-BASED GAMBIT IS A FRAUD(emphasis added)
July 2, 2008
Catholic League president Bill Donohue urged Catholics to reject Sen. Barack Obama’s faith-based initiative:
“If a customer walked into a New York deli and said, ‘Let me have a hot dog on a roll—hold the frankfurter’—he’d likely be thrown out. That’s what the public should do to Obama’s faith-based initiative: since he wants to gut the faith from his faith-based programs, he should be told to junk it.
“Any church or religious agency that agrees to take federal money on the condition that it must operate in a secular fashion—in hiring and in disseminating its values—is selling out. If Orthodox Jews running a day care center are not allowed to exclusively hire Orthodox Jews, there is nothing kosher about it. If a Catholic foster care program cannot place Catholic children with Catholic parents, it is doing a disservice to the children. If an evangelical drug rehab program can’t deliver a Christian message to its clients, it may as well close up shop. But that’s what Obama wants—he wants to secularize the religious workplace.
“No wonder Obama said yesterday that ‘I’m not saying that faith-based groups are an alternative to government or secular nonprofits, and I’m not saying that they’re somehow better at lifting people up.’ Indeed, if he really believes this then he might as well withdraw his initiative.
“The whole purpose behind funding faith-based programs is that they are, in fact, superior to secular programs. And the reason they are has everything to do with the inculcation of religious values disseminated by people of faith. No matter, Obama wants to gut the religious values and bar religious agencies from hiring people who share their religion. Hence, his initiative is a fraud.”
Kudos permanently withdrawn.
And here's Gerard Bradley:
Barack Obama's speech in Zanesville, Ohio, yesterday will probably do for him what he designed it to do: attract some more "values" voters his way without his giving an inch on the most important "values" issues: abortion, marriage, and judges. Left-leaning evangelical Jim Wallis sang his praises on cue. Far-gone secularist Barry Lynn recited his lines just right, denouncing the looming gap in the wall of separation. The whole production went off as planned.I should've known better than to think Obama would seriously entertain a TRUE faith-based initiative program. The guy's got secularization written all over him.
Except for its Achilles Heel: faith-based hiring. Obama will have none of it. Unless they hire for mission, the identity of these charities precisely as Catholic or Mormon or Pentacostal (or as whatever) will soon disappear. It is this identity, too, which is key to why they work so well, often better than any secular counterpart charity. But if they hire for mission, these charities will (as an Obama supporter bluntly put it) just have to leave the public money to others. And note well: there is no question in any of this about serving clients without regard for their religion (or lack of it).
John McCain has an opening here, and he ought to seize it now. He should begin right now making the case that this is a bellwether issue of religious freedom. He should also begin making the case right now that Obama, despite his siren song about faith and charity, is (here, at least) a secularizing wolf in lamb's clothing.
How long before Prof. Kmiec tries to spin this in Obama's favor?
Looks like Kmiec's on the ball. Before I even asked the question, he was already out there spinning like mad trying to turn this sow's ear into a silk purse.
UPDATE # 5
At least I wasn't alone in being hoodwinked. It looks like Deacon Fournier fell for this phony initiative as well.