Cultural Revolutions

Church and State

President Bush wants to do for churches and Christian charities what the Department of Education has done for pubUc schools; Attach them so firmly to the teat of big government that it would be impossible to unlatch them without financially crippling them. The funny thing is, this does not appear to be a concern for most Catholics, evangelicals, and mainline Protestants, as long as they get their money.

Bush inaugurated his Office of Faith-Based Initiatives in January 2001, shortly after taking office. "We will help all in their work to change hearts," he said, "while keeping a commitment to pluralism." Carefully sidestepping the concerns of ACLU watchdogs who feared that this initiative amounted to a federal establishment of religion, the Presidents staff stipulated that the funding would only provide assistance for the charitable functions of faith-based ministries, such as drug-addiction programs. "It can fund the soup," said former Indianapolis Mayor Steve Goldsmith, and "it can fund the shelter. It shouldn't fund the Bibles, and I think if we maintain that division, we'll be in the right place." Goldsmith has been selected to head the wildly successful AmeriCorps volunteer program (part of Bill Clinton's legacy), which will now also network with faith-based charities.

President Bush appointed John Dilulio, "a devout Roman Catholic," to be his faith czar,...

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