[from Christianity Today]
Pressure to Prove Himself
The challenges facing Joshua DuBois and the faith-based initiative.
Sarah Pulliam | posted 5/13/2009 09:38AM
When President Obama issued his executive order repurposing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, some groups on the Left predictably decried the office as blurring the line between church and state. But conservatives and others who support the office also expressed concerns.
Some groups had feared that Obama would require faith-based organizations that receive grants to hire applicants from other faiths. But the President decided not to issue a blanket rule. Instead, the White House announced that DuBois would be working with the Justice Department to consider the hiring question on a case-by-case basis.
"That strikes me as arbitrary. How do you decide on a case-by-case basis what is equitable to all?" said Amy Black, a Wheaton College political science professor. "We don't want religious discrimination to become a cloak for other forms of discrimination."
Calvin College political science professor Douglas Koopman questioned the office's more issues-driven approach. Obama set specific issues for the office to address: reducing poverty, reducing the need for abortions, encouraging responsible fatherhood, and fostering worldwide interfaith dialogue.
"[T]hat's the cart before the horse. They should be going to the faith-based groups for the agenda, not asking them to fit into the agenda that they have created," said Koopman, Black's coauthor for Of Little Faith: The Politics of George W. Bush's Faith-Based Initiatives. "For all of his flaws, Bush respected the independence, creativity, and savvy of faith-related groups more so than what I'm reading about the Obama approach."
Who will be allowed to set the agenda for the ‘faith-based’ initiatives? Will it be the ‘liberals’ (who often are not all that liberal if you disagree with them) or the conservatives (who seem to have forgotten exactly what it is they were trying to conserve)?
I understand why ‘liberals’ would be into this mess. They typically think of the government as God, or at least as an arm of God that is, in the end, difficult to distinguish in their view from God. Since they tend to worship the state, it is easier to see why they fly to the state to dip deeply into the money pillaged from others. They see that plunder as a gift from their god.
I don’t understand why those with an ounce of the historic Christian faith in their spiritual blood would be so ready and willing to suck at the teat of the state in this fashion. Shouldn’t all the true Christians be crying, “Stop, thief!” rather than, “How can we get our hands on some of that plunder?”
We should not be surprised that something as depraved as the Obama administration would want to promote ‘faith initiatives.’ Should we have been surprised when the Bush administration promoted this idiocy?
Here is a thought for those who still believe in God and anything remotely related to the Christian faith: suppose we trim government back to somewhere near its proper size and role. Then, when we have a ‘faith project’ to pursue, go to the people of the faith and ask them to contribute. (By the way, those people and everyone else will have much more to contribute when government is confined to its God-ordained role. But that’s another matter.)
It seemed right to the Apostle Paul. But we, in our infinite wisdom, know better – of course.