FBI's continued popularity: 11-24-09
November 24, 2009
When former President George W. Bush elected to create what he called his faith-based initiative (or FBI, as I call it), I had mixed feelings.
I'm all for groups rooted in religion being part of the solution to our many social problems. Most of them bring a lot of positive things to the table.
But I worried then -- and expressed such worries in columns and editorials I wrote for The Kansas City Star -- about the possibility that constitutional lines would be crossed, providing money that in effect would promote one religion or another. I don't worry so much about religious groups trying to influence government. Indeed, they have every right to do that. Rather, I worry about government compromising religion.
Given President Barack Obama's commitment to faith, I was not shocked to learn that he would continue -- in an adapted way -- the faith-based initiative that Bush had created. But, yes, I still think we must be vigilant about not providing taxpayer money to fund religion. (For a report on what Obama's program has been up to since its creation, click here.)
What intrigues me about the Obama approach is that it's not been quite as prominent as the program was under Bush. Still, a new survey has found that it remains quite popular with the public.
The survey, done for the Pew Forum on Religion & Public LIfe, finds that nearly 70 percent of Americans favor allowing religious groups to apply for government money to run social service programs. Well, you can read the rest of the findings at the link I've given you in the previous paragraph. I'm just wondering what you think about the continuation of the faith-based initiative under Obama.
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IRAN'S APPROACH TO RELIGIOUS LIBERTY
For another example of how distressing it would be to live in a country that did not protect religious liberty, today let's ponder Iran, which just ordered a newspaper shut down because it published a photo of a Baha'i temple. Iran has been denigrating and limiting Baha'ism for a long time. What a country.