01 July 2008

Obama's Faith-Based Campaign

Senator Obama continues to hope he can exploit Evangelical distrust of Senator McCain by pandering to religious groups. His latest stunt is to promise an enhanced version of President Bush's initiative to aid faith-based charitable organizations. He's brought in some of Bush's old evangelical advisers, who had since grown disillusioned with Dubya, to lead the cheers for his own plan. Obama promises that no government money will go to groups that discriminate in hiring based on creed or attempt to proselytize in their charitable work. Bush himself made similar promises, but monitoring these groups is another story. Who, after receiving aid, is likely to run to the authorities and denounce an aid group for proselytizing? It would seem ungrateful, and in any event I suspect that Obama will be as indifferent in practice to any allegations of proselytizing as Bush has been. After all, if you feel that you can delegate the civic responsibility of mutual aid to groups whose charitable work is often an unmistakable expression of their religious creeds, how bothered will you really be if aid recipients hear a praise jesus or two.

If Obama were as serious as he claims about maintaining the separation of church and state, he would propose a system that encourages the formation of non-sectarian or ecumenical charitable organizations based on community affiliation rather than national churches. If these people want simply to do good works, they should be willing to combine their efforts with those of people with different creeds. If this is too much to ask any particular group, then they're probably not to be trusted with government funds.

I may be prejudiced on this point, but I don't like the idea of people being dependent on any sort of religious group for their survival. I don't like the impression that will form inevitably that it's God helping those poor people rather than the government that would actually be subsidizing the alleged omnipotent one. I'm reminded of James Clavell's Children's Story, the anti-communist fable that was starkly and unofficially dramatized in Ron Ormond's film If Footmen Tire You What Will Horsemen Do? The story is set in a classroom where the children are being indoctrinated against religion. The teacher asks the children to close their eyes and pray to God for candy, which predictably enough does not appear. Then the teacher asks the little dears to close their eyes and pray to "the Leader" (Fidel Castro[!] in the Ormond version). When their eyes open, there's candy on each desk, and "the Leader" is proven more powerful than God. Neither Clavell nor Ormond would have anticipated the way that "leaders" like Bush and Obama propose to split the difference. The Leader will in fact leave the candy on the desk, but when the kids open their eyes, he'll say it was actually God -- his personal friend.


Evangelicorp said...

"No government money will go to groups that discriminate in hiring based on creed..." Basically, that means all the money will go to black organizations that white people have no business being involved in. They don't discriminate, they just try to make the rest of us white folk feel uncomfortable because we're white.

Reversed racism again from Mr. Balack Oblackma.

It's tough to say leave religion out of it -- out country was founded on Christian ideals -- and NO WHERE in the constitution does it mention a separation of church and state.

I think we need to leave RACE out of it.

Evangelicorp said...

I call Balack Oblackma's campaign, "The Audacity of a Black Guy Thinkin' He Gonna Be The Next Commando in Chief."

crhymethinc said...

It's obvious that you have an inability to think in a logical or consistent manner. You are the one who keeps making Barak Obama's race and religious beliefs an issue.


You wrote: "and NO WHERE in the constitution does it mention a separation of church and state."

"That is true, the phrase "separation of church and state" does not actually appear anywhere in the Constitution. There is a problem, however, in that some people draw incorrect conclusions from this fact. The absence of this phrase does not mean that it is an invalid concept or that it cannot be used as a legal or judicial principle.

There are any number of important legal concepts which do not appear in the Constitution with the exact phrasing people tend to use. For example, nowhere in the Constitution will you find words like "right to privacy" or even "right to a fair trial." Does this mean that no American citizen has a right to privacy or a fair trial? Does this mean that no judge should ever invoke these rights when reaching a decision?

Of course not - the absence of these specific words does not mean that there is also an absence of these ideas. The right to a fair trial, for example, is necessitated by what is in the text because what we do find simply makes no moral or legal sense otherwise. What the Sixth Amendment of the Constitution actually says is:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.
There is nothing there about a "fair trial," but what should be clear is that this Amendment is setting up the conditions for fair trials: public, speedy, impartial juries, information about the crimes and laws, etc. The Constitution does not specifically say that you have a right to a fair trial, but the rights created only make sense on the premise that a right to a fair trial exists. Thus, if the government found a way to fulfill all of the above obligations while also making a trial unfair, the courts would hold those actions to be unconstitutional.

Similarly, courts have found that the principle of a "religious liberty" exists behind in the First Amendment, even if those words are not actually there:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...
The point of such an amendment is twofold. First, it ensures that religious beliefs - private or organized - are removed from attempted government control. This is the reason why the government cannot tell either you or your church what to believe or to teach. Second, it ensures that the government does not get involved with enforcing, mandating, or promoting particular religious doctrines. This is what happens when the government "establishes" a church - and because doing so created so many problems in Europe, the authors of the Constitution wanted to try and prevent the same from happening here.

Can anyone deny that the First Amendment guarantees the principle of religious liberty, even though those words do not appear there? Similarly, the First Amendment guarantees the principle of the separation of church and state - by implication, because separating church and state is what allows religious liberty to exist. "

from http://atheism.about.com

Samuel Wilson said...

Evangelicorp: please pay attention. Obama said there should be no discrimination based on CREED. That means no hiring or firing based on your religion. He did leave race out of it.

And if the constitution says that Congress shall make no law respecting religion, that pretty much separates church and state, don't you think?

And why don't you just call the Democratic candidate Blackety Black and get it over with, Whitey?

evangelicorp said...

You guys are whack. And who you callin' whitey?

The Constitution (with a capital C) implies a lot of things...

Bottom line, whenever we talk of creed, the southern black baptists are the ones we're really talking about. No one else even knows what the heck a creed is. How many times do you as a white trash redneck talk about your creed??? Only black people discuss creed.

I say it again... "no where in the Consitution (with a capital C) does it mention a separation of church and state." I did not have sexual relations....

And what the heck does Apollo Creed have to do with anyone's hiring decisions. You guys watch too much TV.

hobbyfan said...

Evangelicorp: Where in Sam's message was Apollo Creed mentioned? Answer: NOWHERE!

Friends, Archie Bunker is alive and well. Well, alive, anyway.

Samuel Wilson said...

Evangelicorp: Since you seem to want to play the role of a professional White man, I thought I'd do you the courtesy of addressing you by your job title. Your ignorance of the word "creed" suggests a need for some remedial cultural literacy work, while your association of the term with blacks is, as you might say, whack.

Evangelicorp said...

When you said "creed" Chrymethampheticon was thinkin' Apollo Creed. That's why I said that, cuz I got psychic abilities like that. I know what you thinkin before you thinkin it. See. Ooop there it is again. I know what you thinkin.

You say I'm crazy, I say thank you.