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More Evidence The Obama Administration Is Pro-Religion

More Evidence The Obama Administration Is Pro-Religion

Recently the Obama administration announced guidance on public/private partnerships between the government and faith-based groups is unlikely to please those looking for assurances that religious groups will be required to abide by civil rights protections in hiring and firing.

The 50-page report comes 18 months after President Obama issued an executive order calling for more transparency as faith-based groups work with the government to meet social needs and amidst never-ending controversy surrounding the Catholic Church’s refusal to abide by non-discrimination policies in administering social services.

The report breaks little new ground, but reaffirms that a faith-based organization can provide federally funded social services without removing religious art, scriptures and symbols from their facilities. It also makes clear that explicitly religious activities can’t be supported by federal funds but are permitted if they are funded privately and occur at a separate time and location from programs that receive government money. Finally, beneficiaries who object to the religious character of a provider must be referred promptly to an alternative.

Separation of church/state watchdog Americans United gave the guidance a mixed score. Said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, “This guidance makes some significant improvements to the Bush faith-based initiative, but it falls far short of what it ought to do. This fails to fully protect the interests of Americans who need help from their government or the rights of taxpayers who don’t want their money subsidizing religion.

“And worst of all, this leaves in place Bush rules allowing overt bigotry in government-funded employment,” Lynn continued. “A fundamentalist Christian church can still run a publicly funded social service program and hang out a sign that says, “Government job opening: No Catholics, Jews, Muslims or Atheists need apply.”
Lynn, who served with a White House working group that offered advice on the church-state implications of the faith-based initiative, said he is also concerned that some of the language in the new guidance seems overly focused on giving religious agencies too much leeway in how they operate public social services.
Said Lynn, “There are a lot of loopholes in this guidance, and I fear that some of them are big enough to drive a church bus through.”

He noted, for example, that the guidance forbids the use of public funds to buy or distribute devotional materials but also says that staff in federally funded programs may teach about religion and make use of the Bible and other scripture if it’s “consistent with the purposes of the program.”

The guidance also shows the deep hypocrisy of the religious right’s attack on Planned Parenthood since the heart of that argument is the fact that any funding that goes to the health care provider necessarily supports, in some fashion, abortion services since those dollars can’t truly be segregated out from other sources of funding.

Most troubling of all though, is the fact that the presumption remains that faith-based organizations can simultaneously receive federal funding and engage in activities that violate the federal constitutional guarantees of other Americans.

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Photo from jjjj56cp via flickr.

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67 comments

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11:28AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

I'm a devoted non-believer. I care about the welfare of animals, nature and I work hard to make sure that people are protected from abuse by Governments, religion and fascists. I do not believe for a second that any believer of any religious fashion could be more empathatic than me and my fellow non-believers just because they have an imaginary friend!

11:18AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Nimue P., Alan L.., Heather M., Arild W.: When the fundamentalist xtian right have taken over the whole country and demand that everyone conform into their world view, than do not come complaining to me and the rest of us that didn't want Government and religion mixed together!
Sharon R. If you mean the funding of Planned Parenthood, they do a lot of other services besides abortions. But I guess you rather see them de-funded so women with low incomes die of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and that newborn children don't get the shots they need. How very christian of you!

11:16AM PDT on Aug 27, 2012

Nimue P., Alan L.., Heather M., Arild W.: When the fundamentalist xtian right have

5:15PM PDT on May 24, 2012

Politics and religion is a big NO-NO!

5:14PM PDT on May 24, 2012

Politics and religion is a big NO-NO!

4:03PM PDT on May 9, 2012

The GOPTP is all for freedom of religion...as long as it's their fundamentalist version of Christianity!

8:22AM PDT on May 8, 2012

"If OUMMER has a religion, uh.I don't think it's Christian. Religion doesn't matter anyway......Religion was devised to divide us .you know...like politics and the PHONY war on women."

D. for Duh? It obviously works for you. Seems you bought the it, hook line and sinker. You might get it once your country becomes a right-wing dictatorship, but then again, maybe you won't.

3:36AM PDT on May 8, 2012

Obama has a good Christian God, but the extremists, brazen liars, racists, bigots, greedy, selfish, destructive UnAmericans are totally dedicated and beholden to the teabagger republi-"kkklan" party - and has the Devil in their corner to prove it!
Extremists twist every word and action by Obama and lie with poker faces to make it seem like it was "Rmoney" who said and did it. Amazing gall!

They think the American people are stupid - but they're WRONG. Americans will not forget their SELECTIVE "Voter Suppression," and their "Wars against Everyone and Everything," and will vote to reelect President Obama and a Democrat majority in the House and Senate.
Then, without the obstructionists in power, watch Obama turn this country around to a much much better place. VOTE SMART. Remember: (D) for Drive Forward vs. (R) for Drive in Reverse. That says it all!

3:30AM PDT on May 8, 2012

Obama has a good Christian God, but the extremists, brazen liars, racists, bigots, greedy, selfish, destructive UnAmericans are totally dedicated and beholden to the teabagger republi-"kkklan" party - and has the Devil in their corner to prove it!
Extremists twist every word and action by Obama and lie with poker faces to make it seem like it was "Rmoney" who said and did it. Amazing.

They think the American people are stupid - but they're WRONG. Americans will not forget their SELECTIVE "Voter Suppression," and their "Wars against Everyone and Everything," and will vote to reelect President Obama and a Democrat majority in the House and Senate.
Then, without the obstructionists in power, watch Obama turn this country around to a much much better place. VOTE SMART. Remember: (D) for Drive Forward vs. (R) for Drive in Reverse. That says it all!

8:11PM PDT on May 7, 2012

Obama has a good Christian God. All the lunatic, arrogant, lying, racist, bigoted, greedy, selfish, destructive, UnAmericans totally devoted to, and beholden to the teabagger/repubikkklan party have the Devil in their corner! Watch carefully where you tread.

Teabagger/republikkklans are twisting EVERYTHING GOOD about Obama and lying through their teeth to make Rmoney look good. They think the American people are stupid???? WRONG. AMERICAN'S ARE SMART and will vote to reelect President Obama and give the House back to the Democrats, and add more Democrats in the Senate, and cannot be stopped from doing all good things for the American people. VOTE SMART. (D)=Drive Forward -- (R)=Drive in Reverse. That says it all.

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