Faith-based delivery of Federal social services could take government deeper into church, and church into government, than they’ve ever been before. The faith-based initiative is President Bush’s delivery on a campaign promise to put healing public money into hands, as he said yesterday, that “have proven their power to save and change lives.”
It’s not funding religion, he said, though he’s explicitly asking church contractors to minister, not to change their churchly mission when they bid for government work. There are other descriptions of this idea: the New York Times said the ceremony at the White House yesterday looked like reinventing government with a religious cast, and turned around collars. A lot of big churches, religious thinkers and constitutional sticklers who weren’t at the White House are calling it an unholy marriage of piety and politics that will be bad for God and Caesar, both.
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)
The Rev. Anthony Campbell, Preacher-in-Residence and Professor of Homiletics at Boston University
Wendy Kaminer, author of “The Rise of Irrationalism and the Perils of Piety”
Ray Hammond, pastor of AME Bethel Church in Jamaica Plain, MA
and Reverend Eugene Rivers.