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Obama’s Faith-Based Folly

If it isn't obvious to everyone why I'm opposed to Obama's faith-based giveaway this article from the Progressive summarizes it quite well.

Obama’s Faith-Based Folly:
“Oh, I know, Obama assures us that the money this time won’t be used to proselytize and that the churches, synagogues, and mosques won’t be able to discriminate against prospective employees on the basis of their religion. But at bottom, the faith-based initiative, no matter the clunky name Obama affixes to it (Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships), will amount to the same old government subsidy for religious groups. If you give a church a million dollar grant to cover a program it’s already running, that frees up a million bucks for that church to go find converts.”

 

Comments

and his endorsement of capital punishment, I wasn’t sure where he’d retreat to next.

His argument about capital punishment was that the court should have set parameters of applicability that would have been a legal precedent to the several states that have such laws, not made a blanket ruling. I don't agree with that argument, but it wasn't an outright 'endorsement'.

Second, as I have already explain, Obama has been talking about faith-based initiatives from months (go to the 5:20 mark on the video). This is not a flip-flop or 'a retreat'.

He even borrowed Bush-like language by downplaying the role of government.

The Bush parallel doesn't quite work. Alex Koppelman, who worked for the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and who has consistently opposed the Bush program, explains the non-trivial revisions Obama has made-- ones he endorses , and regards as making the program credible.

If you're going to criticize, get your opponents claims right.

Like Bush, Obama is relying on faith-based groups to help struggling families. But if we had a government that performed its proper function “to promote the general welfare,” this initiative would be superfluous.

It is a generality that social programs that are local and directly involved with the realities they intend to address are typically more effective than broader, more bureaucratic, less local efforts, that operate in terms of general guidelines and quotas.

As it is, it will further privatize essential government services.

Which 'government services', exactly? I'm assuming soup kitchens and the like are not what he's talking about, since those are usually funded more locally. But since most of this article is just tendentious distortions, I doubt he knows what he's talking about.

If you give a church a million dollar grant to cover a program it’s already running, that frees up a million bucks for that church to go find converts.

Yeah, I bought that argument at first, in the Digby version (which, as per usual, is pretty brilliant). But, having reading k's thought-provoking argument on another related thread, I've become persuaded otherwise. Spell out the line of reasoning in the remark quoted just above. So what if government subsidies 'free up' money for religious organizations to use their own resources for their own purposes? That would mean: A religious group spends their own money for religious purposes. And the government money--if oversight is properly exercised--is being used for exactly those very secular services that ought, according to the author, to be supplied the "government"--which is, now, still being supplied by the government, the only difference in this case is having a middle man with a lot of experience in charity and therapeutic work. But if, as Obama maintains, stringent standards of efficiency are used, that is, if religious organizations only get money if they can prove they are effective at providing some social service; and if there is strict accounting about how that government is being used, then the author's argument amounts to--just not liking the middle man. And that is a prejudice, not an argument.

Nota bene, I am still suspicious about such programs. My only claim here is that the Obama-trashing in this instance is simply unconvincing. Obama may--or may not--play by the strict guidelines that he promises to. But it's not him I'm worried about, it's his sustaining precedent that could well become the standard if he extends it. And then we'll be right back where we are now with Bush in another 4-8 years: my and your tax dollars being funneled to a select group of evangelical groups to proselytize.

OK, I get it. Obama is far from perfect in your view. He has made some compromises. But how many times do I have to say this: You only have one choice if you call yourself a liberal and a progressive. You either vote for Obama (and support him starting right about now) or you vote for McCain. The silliest part of this is that you actually think Hilary would have been any different as far as going after those creepy little pockets of Jesus freaks and people obsessed with “terrorism.” I guess you can still vote for super-douchebag Nader.

What Obama is doing can be filed under “Beating the Republicans at their own game.” What America needs is not a president who will vote against all this faith-based shit; what the country needs is someone to convince Jesus freaks that Republicans aren't religious and they have been using the God squad crowd to do their dirty work for them while they pass legislation to help the rich get richer while the poor bible-thumpers wallow in poverty, lack of health care and education, and provide the lion's share of the bodies in our misguided wars.

Your stance against Obama completely mystifies me. Perhaps if Obama had the full and unbridled support of the Clinton contingent he wouldn't need to bend over backwards to convince others to vote for him. This whole FISA and faith-based business is small potatoes in the grand scheme. Just think that every time you put up an anti-Obama post you are convincing five people to vote for McCain. I'm sure the Republicans love you for this tireless effort.

I'm beginning to like this guy! Link

Syngas - I'm so glad you're becoming an Obama fan. We're all really looking forward to him becoming our President. :)

Yes, he does seem quite thoughtful on the heartbreaking choice of a late term abortion. Part of the beauty of the internet is that I never would've realized you were a woman until you revealed that women's reproductive rights was an issue of so much importance to you. I hear you sister!

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I wonder what the great American writers on freedom and liberty (Jefferson, Franklin, Paine, Frederick Douglass, Thoreau, etc.) would have to say about the Obamabot Doctrine of Keep Your Mouth Shut.

Not all that hard to guess, actually . . .

He truly is able to bridge the divide, Jill. It's really quite amazing to me!

Just think, before Obama gave this interview, you probably thought anyone who said mental mental distress should not qualify as a health exception for late-term abortion was trying to send women back to the dark ages. Now that Obama has said it, that very same opinion is 'thoughful'.

Can I get a fist-bump?

Until you asked for a fist bump, Syngas, I didn't realize you were a fellow terrorist. Qapla!

"I'm beginning to like this guy!"

This looks less and less like a move to the center and more and more like the charge of the light brigade.

I simply don't see Obama winning a larger percentage of the evangelical vote come election time. It is not as though McCain will spend more resources in this area as Bush's success revolved around appealing to the evangelical right in the first place and I fully expect him to adopt a similar strategy. He will lose far more votes from the left in doing this than he will possibly gain from the right. I do not see these as center positions. I think the center is far more concerned with the economy and the war, but mostly the economy. He can also win far more votes from Clinton supporters then he can gain from evangelicals and he seems to think he has their vote. I am not so sure - especially with this kind of language about abortion. I am not saying they will vote Republican, but maybe they will just stay home and watch TV.

Obama is looking weak right now and like he doesn't stand for anything. This is the mistake Gore and Kerry made. He is letting McCain set the agenda and all he has to do is appear to be a slightly above average candidate. Fortunately for us I don't feel he is even doing that, but he might just get there.

This whole FISA and faith-based business is small potatoes in the grand scheme. Just think that every time you put up an anti-Obama post you are convincing five people to vote for McCain.

You may consider your privacy rights small potatoes, I don't. You may consider the entanglement of Church and State small potatoes as small potatoes, I don't. Is there anything you don't consider small potatoes? As to convincing five people to vote for McCain I know you just pulled that one out of your ass. Describe the person who looks at the two candidates and on the basis of what he reads here decides to vote for McCain. The voters are fucking stupid, but what I write and post here is unlikely to change any votes. Does it follow that each time I post something negative about McCain the five switch back?

I know that there are some here that really worry that any post that doesn't paint Obama as a saint might cost him the election. I think that is an emotional reaction and one that has very little basis in reason. This blog is where I express opinions on what I find interesting and important. It is not and will not become an uncritical booster for any candidate. I've made it clear on numerous occasions that I think people should vote for Obama over McCain.

It's interesting, when I post something negative about Obama there are always a certain percentage of readers who rather than simply acknowledge the fact attempt to defend it. This post is a response to that defense.

For example some point to the fact that Obama has always been a faith-based kind of guy as if that justifies the entanglement he now advocates. Has anyone addressed the main point of this post that by providing money to religions for legitimate charity it will free money for proselytizing? They may not mind if their money is spent to expand religion, I do.

Other than raising taxes, what does Obama plan to do with the economy Durandal? I mean that honestly. I really don't know.

I've looked at his website, and it looks like a bunch of band-aids that might help a few hard hit people, but won't fix anything.

To be fair, McCain hasn't impressed me on this subject either.

Until we can find a way to fuel our cars, homes and businesses for the same price we did four years ago, all the band-aids in the world will have no positive macro-economic impact.

I heard somewhere we could burn corn?

Norm, just redirect to Obamas website already, jeez.

"This whole FISA and faith-based business is small potatoes in the grand scheme."

Happy July 4th!

and his endorsement of capital punishment, I wasn't sure where he'd retreat to next.

His argument about capital punishment was that the court should have set parameters of applicability that would have been a legal precedent to the several states that have such laws, not made a blanket ruling. I don't agree with that argument, but it wasn't an outright 'endorsement'.

Second, as I have already explain, Obama has been talking about faith-based initiatives from months (go to the 5:20 mark on the video). This is not a flip-flop or 'a retreat'.

He even borrowed Bush-like language by downplaying the role of government.

The Bush parallel doesn't quite work. Alex Koppelman, who worked for the Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, and who has consistently opposed the Bush program, explains the non-trivial revisions Obama has made-- ones he endorses , and regards as making the program credible.

If you're going to criticize, get your opponents claims right.

Like Bush, Obama is relying on faith-based groups to help struggling families. But if we had a government that performed its proper function "to promote the general welfare," this initiative would be superfluous.

It is a generality that social programs that are local and directly involved with the realities they intend to address are typically more effective than broader, more bureaucratic, less local efforts, that operate in terms of general guidelines and quotas.

As it is, it will further privatize essential government services.

Which 'government services', exactly? I'm assuming soup kitchens and the like are not what he's talking about, since those are usually funded more locally. But since most of this article is just tendentious distortions, I doubt he knows what he's talking about.

If you give a church a million dollar grant to cover a program it's already running, that frees up a million bucks for that church to go find converts.

Yeah, I bought that argument at first, in the Digby version (which, as per usual, is pretty brilliant). But, having reading k's thought-provoking argument on another related thread, I've become persuaded otherwise. Spell out the line of reasoning in the remark quoted just above. So what if government subsidies 'free up' money for religious organizations to use their own resources for their own purposes? That would mean: A religious group spends their own money for religious purposes. And the government money--if oversight is properly exercised--is being used for exactly those very secular services that ought, according to the author, to be supplied the "government"--which is, now, still being supplied by the government, the only difference in this case is having a middle man with a lot of experience in charity and therapeutic work. But if, as Obama maintains, stringent standards of efficiency are used, that is, if religious organizations only get money if they can prove they are effective at providing some social service; and if there is strict accounting about how that government is being used, then the author's argument amounts to--just not liking the middle man. And that is a prejudice, not an argument.

Nota bene, I am still suspicious about such programs. My only claim here is that the Obama-trashing in this instance is simply unconvincing. Obama may--or may not--play by the strict guidelines that he promises to. But it's not him I'm worried about, it's his sustaining precedent that could well become the standard if he extends it. And then we'll be right back where we are now with Bush in another 4-8 years: my and your tax dollars being funneled to a select group of evangelical groups to proselytize.

Just think, before Obama gave this interview, you probably thought anyone who said mental mental distress should not qualify as a health exception for late-term abortion was trying to send women back to the dark ages. Now that Obama has said it, that very same opinion is 'thoughful'.

Syngas - why didn't you correct me? I thought your concern with reproductive rights showed you were a woman but no woman would ever misunderstand the severity of any case that necessitated a late term abortion.

Are you saying mental distress necessitates late term abortion Jill?

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What I find surprising is that a blogger who presents himself as intelligent and thoughtful can't see that Obama is merely playing politics. Faith isn't going to mean shit to Barack if he becomes President. He's saying what he thinks he needs to say to defeat McCain. The same thing Hillary would have done. But I wonder, if Clinton were the nominee, would you be posting the same kind of negative articles? Can you possibly believe that she is not more entrenched in the system of corruption than Obama? I know you're a diehard atheist, but nobody is going to become President without "believing" in God. Get over it already and focus on some actual issues. You're as bad as the blowhard pundits these days. You're quickly losing relevance.

It's interesting that ignorant, partisan losers refer to people that state the stinking facts on Obama as blowhard pundits.

When Bush was pissing on the constitution and institutionally kissing the Evangelicals ass, you had people on the right (the so called neocons, the lunatic 25%) just sticking with their guy, because he was their man, and they had power through him. I remember some of losers here on the Democratic side being outraged by the blind support.

But now, things have changed, it's their man who's got the advantage, so it's their turn to piss on the constitution. So much for Liberties, the rule of law, opposition to unlimited executive powers etc. what really matters is whose side gets to screw the people.

You hear these pieces of worthless, amoral excuses for a civilized human being, that they "know" Obama is just playing politics, They "trust", "have faith" in him. Wow, what a sound foundation for a government, "we have faith" they will do the right thing. Welcome to Dark Ages Part II.

Tony D, most of us Obama supporters are pissed as hell as certain positions, i am pissed at FISA, big time, i don't like it and i think it is a bad move politically.I am not happy.

norm, i like the faith based stuff. I have already posted on that but i suspect i am more to the right than you, and have less concern about religious charities than you. i also have some issues with late abortion. so obama is playing to those folks that are well, a bit like me. so just stop this coolaid crap. most of the obama supporters on this blog have been pissed at his positions. i have consistently been a bit to the right, and am pretty sure i have posted on how i think the democrats have to look at abortion and the religious differently.... i do think that some of the left will go crazy about some of this, should be a really interesting election.

will obama do the faith based stuff well, with proper separation of church and state. i worry about that. i am not sure he will. is the fisa compromise a good idea. no way.

ps thanks for the nice comment adam.

read obamas speech on this issue http://tpmelectioncentral.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/07/obama_speech_we_can_expand_fai.php

excerpt mine."You see, while these groups are often made up of folks who've come together around a common faith, they're usually working to help people of all faiths or of no faith at all. And they're particularly well-placed to offer help. As I've said many times, I believe that change comes not from the top-down, but from the bottom-up, and few are closer to the people than our churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques. That's why Washington needs to draw on them. The fact is, the challenges we face today - from saving our planet to ending poverty - are simply too big for government to solve alone. We need all hands on deck. I'm not saying that faith-based groups are an alternative to government or secular nonprofits. And I'm not saying that they're somehow better at lifting people up. What I'm saying is that we all have to work together - Christian and Jew, Hindu and Muslim; believer and non-believer alike - to meet the challenges of the 21st century. "

Are you saying mental distress necessitates late term abortion Jill?

Actually, my comment had nothing to do with my personal feeling on the subject(and your other comment telling me what I was probably thinking was also off base.)

But, I'm assuming this comment means you would like me to express my opinion so I'll try. This isn't an easy topic. From what I know about it, the time a woman goes through "mental distress" that would be relevant is when a woman has a baby inside her who is in trouble: there is some form of fetal anomaly where the baby now has no chance of survival - "incompatible with life" is the term I've heard. So, although there is no real danger to the mother's life, we are not talking about a normal pregnancy -- the baby will deliver and, if it is still alive, it will die a couple of hours later - even a couple of days. I can't fathom how a mother would feel under those circumstances. I do know there have been studies done of women who have had to deliver babies that died in the womb and there is less long term mental damage if they induce the pregnancy within the first six hours. Could the "mental distress" they are in be shown to be longer lasting one way or another? I don't know. From personal observation of tragedy, I've got to assume it varies person to person. The thought of partial birth abortion is so horrific to us all - and the thought of carrying a baby around inside you that you know will not live is so tragic. You know - I don't think I do have a good opinion on that.

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Excessive entaglment between government and churches is part of the three Lemon Test tests. Obama's FBI fails.

Fetal viability and mental distress are different reasons for getting an abortion. Nice try though.

Witchita's cottage industry

I'm unclear about one thing. Does mental distress include rape and incest or is that a separate issue?

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I personally don't like the idea of abortion and would feel better about the world if people stopped getting them; however, I also believe that an somebody else's personal medical decisions should be their decisions and not mine. From a political standpoint, since Obama seems to be so obsessed with "positioning" at this point, the smart answer to this question would have been something similar: that he is uncomfortable with late-term abortions, but that they are actually quite rare, and that medical issues concerning the mother's health, physical or mental, are things that need to be evaluated by the family and the doctors involved. But, then, maybe he really thinks that he can garner a few pro-life religious nut votes with a statement like this.

I do find it odd that can take a clearly stated, principled stand on issues like abortion and capital punishment, and yet on something like the Fourth Amendment the Constitutional scholar stammers around, equivocates, and can't make a coherent defense of his position. Strange.

Going back to the original issue that Norm posted on. I am trying to fully understand what is most troubling to some of you about the recent speech (see my post for a link to entire speech) where Obama spoke about community and faith based initiatives? Is is just because George Bush clearly used the office as a payback tool to his supporters? Is it because you feel that NO charity that is religious should get federal funding due to Norm's concern that that makes them have more money. Do you feel that only seclular organizations should be given money? Do you feel that non profits should not be involved with social programs and these should directly be administered by goverment? I am particularily interested in Norm's opinion.

My concerns are more in the realm of

  1. do they work, and is there evidence these programs actually deliver on what they promise.

My experience with both secular and religious NPO's is that sometimes beliefs get in the way of data and outcome evidence. I want no one funded that does not have good data to support efficacy, and to make sure that there is no innapropriate influence into who gets contracts.

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Is it because you feel that NO charity that is religious should get federal funding due to Norm's concern that that makes them have more money.

Just my opinion but I don't think religions should get any federal funding. The reasons primarily come down to a separation of Church and State. It's been my experience that as a practical matter, the churches just can't leave their religion out of the mix. Most I suspect would not want to participate with such rules anyway. And regardless of whether you have rules prohibiting for example discrimination in hiring based on religion it happens anyway. How do you, without wasting valuable resources in monitoring, enforce such a policy. And why mix them in the first place? Religions can certainly continue to do their good works without government support. What is the advantage of providing federal funds to religious organizations over providing them through government programs. If a religion is already providing charity and you provide additional funds why would anyone think at least some of those additional funds wouldn't indirectly support other church functions through the freeing of funds. And if any of the funds are used for other purposes wouldn't you be better off using government programs to distribute them. It's the entanglement of religion and government that is the problem it is not the solution. The Bush faith-based plan like the Obama faith-based plan pander to the religions. They are both offensive. There is a reason there is no religious test for office. Isn't providing government money to religions a way to buy their votes, and a de facto religious test. Many say you have to pander to religion to get elected. I don't believe that is true and further maintaining a democracy free of religious entanglement ought to be something everyone who values their freedom supports in principle and just doesn't dismiss with a wave of the hand and the tired old line about it not being a big deal in the scheme of things. It doesn't take many of such compromises and you no longer have the country you believed you had. Not speaking out on such issues is simply not an option for me.

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"make sure that there is no innapropriate influence into who gets contracts."

Clearly Pagan, Wiccan, Satanist, and other organizations will get the same consideration as Judeo-Christian churches.

And if they don't, they can always challenge it in the judiciary. I'm sure the right-wing Catholics who dominate the Supreme Court will give them a fair hearing.

Fetal viability and mental distress are different reasons for getting an abortion. Nice try though.

Nice try on what? My opinion? First you tell me what I'm thinking and now you don't think I succeeded in giving my opinion.

And, I'm not sure what your information is supposed to tell me, Randall Terry. I couldn't find mental distress anywhere so I don't know if the two are mutually exclusive or what. The main thing I found interesting is most of the abortions were from out-of-state going back to why abortions needed to be legalized - yes, women with money can always get a safe one - whether it's in Wichita or, if outlawed there - Sweden or somewhere else. (I wonder where Bush's ex-girlfriend had hers.) But, poor women could not get a safe one. If you think that means they won't try to get one at all, you are truly naive (not even to go to dumpster babies which I can't bear to think about.) What I really love about conservatives (aka, non-realists) is first they teach abstinence for birth control - doesn't work, then they want to ban abortions AND cut the social programs that might help a single mother. And then, all these fine upstanding conservative politicians and religious figures end up getting caught in some strange sex scandal. They have no useful solutions for human beings as they really are. Aspirational is great and what we strive for but you also have to deal with the world as it is.

BTW, I think Hillary had the smartest comment on abortions - they should be safe and rare.

But, I actually have an alternative solution to abortion that I would like to float. Automatic child and mother support for 18 years for any female who has a baby. Now that we have DNA testing to determine who the father is, it makes it a possibility. If the father doesn't have the money, it will be taken from his family. Guys so want to be a part of the discussion - I think this is a fair way to include them in a way that gives both sexes a more equal stake.

Durandal - I don't know about the mental distress from rape and incest - that's something I wasn't thinking about. I would think the woman would have had an abortion sooner if that was the case but who knows what a violent act like that does to a woman - I wouldn't presume to make that call.

Corporatism - I think your comment for Obama was a good one but, I also think there is such a gut-level, emotional response from everyone on partial birth abortions that maybe this was really his own feelings on the matter to give. I like yours better.

k --- BACK TO THE TOPIC, thank you - You did not mention what bothers me which is I don't want to break the wall between church and state. I don't think the government should have any stake in religious activities and I don't think the religious should have any stake in governmental activities. That doesn't mean they shouldn't get governmental non-profit status advantages, of course.

But, I actually have an alternative solution to abortion that I would like to float. Automatic child and mother support for 18 years for any female who has a baby. Now that we have DNA testing to determine who the father is, it makes it a possibility. If the father doesn't have the money, it will be taken from his family.

I don't see why we need alternatives when there is nothing wrong with abortion to begin with, and so we don't need to find 'alternative solutions' to a problem we don't have--that is my own view. But how much agreement can I rationally expect?

I think the abortion issue is not about whether abortion is right or wrong--strange as that may sound, I know--but about who has the authority to determine it's moral salience: the government, or the individual who must herself make the choice. The left wing position is not either that abortion is right, or that it is wrong, but that the individual, her family, and her physician alone have decide that issue.

I insist on this simple point, about what the right question is, because it seems to me the radical right has won the rhetorical terms of the debate once, in public political conversation, we starting debating whether abortion is right or wrong. The correct question is about who has the authority to settle that question, not an answer we could settle in political debate.

The reason the religious right doesn't want to put the problem in just those terms is that for them the 'ultimate' authority in human life, in any given instance, is neither the government, nor the individual conscience, but God. And that is not a publically acceptable reason for a law or policy.

PS. Jill I really like your idea about getting the father more involved, because I think it would involve compromises from both men and woman, which I take is (perhaps?) your larger point. (Officially though, we couldn't, as a matter of policy, ask a persons family to bear their debts, as that is banned in the Constitition.

Officially though, we couldn't, as a matter of policy, ask a persons family to bear their debts, as that is banned in the Constitition.

jeez, thank god, i wuz gettin a little worried there. :)

What about funding religious hospitals? Not such a leap from charities. Of course they will not be expected to act against their religious convictions on things such as abortion.

Its an all to slippery slope and when Bush brought this policy in the majority of the left was against it.

NARAL supporting Obama and him turning around and doing this made me laugh. Purely from their perspective the better choice was a pro-choice woman, regardless of how much they liked Obama. I'm not saying a woman will always be better for them on this issue...but nine times out of ten.

Thank you Norm for clarifying your opinion, I assumed that you were against religious groups getting any funding but was not sure. Forgive me my ignorance, I am a doctor, but I do live in Canada, and only have some limited US medical experience.

  1. Are hospitals with religious connections refused state and federal funding? Can they deliver care to medicaid patients?

In Canada, and i suspect the states, there has been a long tradition of religious groups running hospitals. Many have been fully taken over by the state (remember we have essentially state run medical care) but some hospitals and their land are still owned by various religious groups, and some have some vague often minimal influence (like religious symbols in certain areas).

My experience with the religious non profits is also mainly in Canada, so most of the non profits that i work with that have some religious connection ( salvation army runs shelters drug and alcohol treatment, several churches have "missions" that do various poverty based initiatives, most of them show no evidence of actual prostetizing but i suspect some folks they help are drawn to them. I am pretty sure some of them apply for grants from the province, city and less common federal government. I think a lot of non profits are not religious but strongly funded by donations from churches. So overall my experience has been pretty good, but most of the religious programs that i see are run by well nice, somewhat left wing, religious folks, from groups whose primary mission is help the poor and the suffering and not to make converts. So they hire anyone gays transgendered etc. So I suspect that in the US it could be more complicated, partially due to some more extreme religious groups having much more power. I for instance have little experience with charities run by the LDS which holds so much power in Utah, or some of these more "let us convert the masses" religious groups.

I likely have less concern as my experience with religion has been well good. I am an atheist, but many of the people I have admired as being truly good people have been quite religious. (of many faiths) Some of our best run hospitals have been the religious ones, as they have spent the least on administration and the most on patient care. Similarly with the non profits. So i would rather focus on who has the best programs (i.e. in achieving the goal), than any other criteria.

Prior to Bush, were no non profits run by religious groups funded, did not clinton also do this?

I do feel that some of this is pandering. I do think that Obama/ Dean and the Clintons all felt that democrats have alienated some potential supporters and want to make inroads there. I suspect Obama actually believes that using religious groups for social change is not a bad thing, as it totally fits his history and experience with the black community. His speech is also not clear enough on how the church/state divide will be established and if there will be special fund that only religious organizations can apply for.

Adam

PS. Jill I really like your idea about getting the father more involved,
My suggestion is facetious but - what you took out of it is what I do want people to think about. As a woman, it is very difficult to hear men try to make decisions for us when this is something that is NEVER going to happen to them. As you said, I was trying to present something that might make men think there would be substantial consequences for them, too.

That said, I like your comment a lot and it comes down to what you and Tim and others have been saying. The Republicans are framing all of the discussions and we need to shift that.

What's funny is I think a lot of comments here are so smart - I can't believe the Democrats don't have smart people in decision-making positions that aren't making suggestions at least as good (after all, it is their job!) Are they really not that bright? Or, is the inertia so difficult to break? Or, are there difficulties to this that we are completely unaware of? Because - one thing - I DON'T think Rove is a genius. I think he is ruthless and unethical. It is so much easier to find solutions when you don't care about the truth or the overall effect of your decisions - just achieving your goals for a very limited group of people...

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