Thursday, July 3, 2008

Obama Proclaims Faith in Faith-Based Initiatives?

Original Link:

By Deb Cupples

Some of our Founding Fathers had a colorful way of speaking. Thomas Paine, for example, said this about the separation of church and state:

"Soon after I had published the pamphlet `Common Sense’ in America I saw the exceeding probability that a revolution in the system of government would be followed by a revolution in the system of religion.

"The adulterous connection of church and state, wherever it had taken place, whether Jewish, Christian, or Turkish, had so effectually prohibited by pains and penalties every discussion upon established creeds, and upon first principles of religion, that until the system of government should be changed those subjects could not be."

That said, I’m more than a bit surprised that Sen. Barack Obama seems to be proposing less (rather than more) separation between church and state. Yesterday, the God-O-Meter blog reported:

"Faith without works, they say, is dead–and that faith without
conservative social positions shouldn’t be enough to win the hearts of values voters.

"That’s why Obama’s announcement today about wanting to expand President Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives into what he’s calling a President’s Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is so significant. Not only is Obama showing how faith would shape policy in his administration, he’s being so bold as to criticize Bush’s faith-based program for not going far enough in opening the federal social services spigot to
churches and other faith-based groups.

"In effect, he’s out-Bushing George W. Bush in one of the President’s specialty areas–connecting faith and public policy." (God-O-Meter)

Well, Sen. Obama did promise "change," and outspending President Bush on faith-based initiatives technically would constitute a change.

But is this the type of change that most Obama supporters can truly get behind and believe in — especially on the heels of Sen. Obama’s reversal on NAFTA and FISA?

Claims that Sen. Obama has taken a sudden leap to the faith-based-initiative path would be too bizarre for me to believe, if the Associated Press hadn’t run a similar story. But the AP did run such a story yesterday.

I’m not quoting it or linking to it, because the AP has publicly stated that it doesn’t like being quoted by bloggers who don’t pay for the privilege. Fine. The AP will, as a result of my respecting its preferences, get less traffic.

Back to my point: for years, Sen. Obama has taught constitutional law. Presumably, he understands our Constitution’s First Amendment, which is where our Founding Fathers inserted the “The Establishment Clause” — what we now shorthand as "The Separation of Church and State."

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