Faith-Based Obama

In his August 18 article, Jim Towey, former director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, writes that “Obama wants to abandon President Bush’s — and President Clinton’s — efforts to protect the right to hire on a religious basis of faith-based charities that provide taxpayer-funded social services.”

What are these alleged rights? Towey thinks recipients of federal dollars should be able to “hire on a religious basis,” yet “[f]or decades, religious charities have had to knuckle under to the directives of the federal government if they wanted public money.”

Religious groups do not have any right to other people’s money redistributed by force.

Whether or not faith-based groups discriminate on the basis of religion when hiring, they should not receive a single cent of tax money. To forcibly redistribute money to religious groups from those who do not wish to fund them violates the latter group’s rights of property and conscience.

Towey writes, “Planned Parenthood receives bundles of federal money and hires only the like-minded. Why are faith groups held to a different standard?” Towey’s argument is disingenuous; there is no “different standard.” Planned Parenthood does not discriminate on the basis of religion, and the fact that opponents of abortion choose not to work there is their own choice. Regardless, the relevant standard is that government ought neither promote nor hinder religion. Spending tax dollars for faith-based purposes clearly violates this standard. I agree that it’s wrong for Planned Parenthood to receive tax dollars. But the first wrong does not justify state support of religious organizations.

One thought on “Faith-Based Obama”

  1. “It’s wrong for Planned Parenthood to receive tax dollars.” Sure – and it is also wrong for City of Hope to receive government subsidies for treatment of cancer. It is misleading to object to government funding of some medical procedures, such as abortion, outside the context of objecting to all government involvement in medicine, or any other activity that is only fully legitimate when it is completely voluntary for all involved. But it would not be legitimate for governments to pay for some medical procedures, such as surgery for cancer, while refusing – on what can only be religious grounds – to pay on an equal basis for abortion and other “religiously incorrect” medical care. Separation means that religion is NEVER by itself a good reason for funding one thing and not funding another, regardless of whether or not their shared category is or is not, as a category, a proper government function.

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