This is the hardest time for me in the presidential election cycle. One of the democratic candidates wins the primary and then waits a few weeks for party unity to start to take shape. Then he/she rushes to the political center. The week of the 4th of July was when Barack Obama decided to start that process. Last week, he indicated that he would expand Bush’s faith-based initiatives, gave his support to a FISA
capitulation compromise that grants retro-active immunity of civil rights violations, and stated his opposition to late-term abortion.
The first move to the center, his desired expansion of federal grants to religious charities isn’t all that bad, if looked at a little more closely. The government has always given money to religious organizations, as long as they meet two criteria: they don’t use the money for programs that proselytize and they don’t discriminate on the bases of religion for receipt of aid and for hiring. The Salvation Army was one such organization. What Bush’s faith-based initiative did was to turn a blind eye to discrimination in hiring by charities and aid groups.
Obama wants a restoration of the anti-discriminatory policy. He said, “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 mine). Thus Obama simultaneously appears to support faith-based initiatives while actually returning to pre-Bush policies. Furthermore, federal law is actually ambiguous about funding organizations that hire based on religion so Obama’s position is actually a liberal one.
The above image is created and licensed by dbking.