But Mr. Obama’s plan pointedly departed from the Bush administration’s stance on one fundamental issue: whether religious organizations that get federal money for social services can take faith into account in their hiring. Mr. Bush has said yes. Mr. Obama said no.Well, Mr. Cizik, I can certainly understand your extreme disappointment at finding that your childlike faith and trust in "the Bush protections" was poorly invested. But then, I'd suggest that any religious institution that employed someone with a title like vice president for governmental affairs has already well and truly forfeited its so-called "integrity." And, Mr. Land, my sympathy for your desire to maintain the distinctive of the Southern Baptist Convention is rivaled only by my queasy curiosity about why so distinct an organization even has a public policy arm, much less why they pay you a no-doubt-handsome salary to head it.
“If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion,” Mr. Obama said. “Federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples and mosques can only be used on secular programs.”
Mr. Obama’s position that religious organizations would not be able to consider religion in their hiring for such programs would constitute a deal-breaker for many evangelicals, said several evangelical leaders, who represent a political constituency Mr. Obama has been trying to court.
“For those of who us who believe in protecting the integrity of our religious institutions, this is a fundamental right,” said Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs for the National Association of Evangelicals. “He’s rolling back the Bush protections. That’s extremely disappointing.”
Early in his first term, Mr. Bush issued executive orders expressly allowing religion-based groups receiving federal money to consider religion in their employment decisions, although confusion often remains in this area because of conflicting federal, state and local laws.
Martha Minnow, a professor of law at Harvard University who has written about religion-based initiatives and has advised the Obama campaign on the issue, said Mr. Obama would move to “return the law to what it was before the current administration,” in other words barring the consideration of religion in hiring decisions for such programs that receive federal financing.
“I don’t think there’s anything too controversial about that,” said. “Any religious organization that does not want to comply with that requirement simply doesn’t have to take the money.”
But evangelical leaders said not allowing religious groups to hire based on their beliefs would strip them of the very basis for religion-based programs.
“If you can’t hire people within your faith community, then you’ve lost the distinctive that is the reason why faith-based programs exist in the first place,” said Richard Land, head of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
O Church, you're supposed to be the bride of the Christ (Ephesians 5:25 - 30). Wouldn't it be just a little bit more becoming for you to refrain from hopping into bed with the various princes of this world?
Meanwhile, Doug Newman is just sounding more and more prophetic; after all, he wrote It's the End of the Church As We Know It back when Bush II was new. Have a look, and see if his analysis isn't being borne out by subsequent developments.