Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Obama and the Faith-Based Initiatives

I found this Amy Sullivan piece in USA Today to be an extremely interesting read, even though my politics are probably the polar opposite of Ms. Sullivan's. She argues that Democrats used to be the party of coalition between religion and politics; certainly many previous-generation Catholics thought that being a Democrat was part of the Catholic American's cultural identity (and while, sadly, some still do, they do so in spite of the Church's repeated discussions of issues the Democrats have made their own, like abortion-on-demand and gay marriage, which are counter to the Church's moral teachings).

From the article:

It's fair to say Democrats were expecting a presidential nominee who would vow to overturn the faith-based initiative once he reached the White House, not one who doubled down on the program. But there are a number of reasons for Obama to stray from the party line when it comes to faith-based politics.

For one, by embracing the idea of partnerships between government and faith-based institutions, Obama isn't moving to the right so much as reclaiming an issue Democrats used to support. For decades, religiously affiliated organizations like Lutheran Social Services and United Jewish Communities received, without a hint of controversy, government funds to provide social services. [...]

The Democratic Party made a key tactical error in 2000 by not rebutting Bush's attacks on Clinton as a secular liberal who discriminated against religious communities. Instead, Gore's supporters took the bait and charged that Bush's support for faith-based initiatives was an inappropriate mixing of religion and politics. At the same time, Gore's advisers persuaded him to back away from promoting partnerships between government and religious non-profits.

By the time Bush established a new White House Office for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in his second week after moving into the Oval Office, many liberals had forgotten the idea ever had bipartisan support. Bill Moyers decried the office as a tool to funnel money to Bush supporters — "slush funds." That was at least less frightening than the other popular liberal belief: that the faith-based initiative was evidence of a creeping theocracy.

In Obama's faith-based speech, he noted that his early work as a community organizer in Chicago was partly funded by a Catholic group called The Campaign for Human Development. That experience is another reason for his support of faith-based initiatives: He actually believes in them. (Emphasis added-EM).
So we have the Campaign for Human Development, an organization which really shouldn't be allowed to be even marginally associated with the Catholic Church, to thank for Obama. Why am I not surprised?

If you don't know about the CHD and its troubled history, especially its connection to the radical Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), you should read this expose written by the Catholic weekly The Wanderer. It's a few years old, but as far as I know none of the key points have changed: the CHD is still more interested in promoting liberal, Marxist-style politics than doing anything specifically Catholic.

Another interesting look at the "Catholic" Campaign for Human Development comes from this 2000 article by Kathryn Lopez: excerpt:

Every year, usually on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, Roman Catholic parishes around the country take up a special collection to fund CCHD. A national office in Washington, D.C., awards grants to more than 250 projects each year. Most dioceses keep 25% of the collection to fund hundreds of smaller local projects.

Through CCHD, unwitting Catholic parishioners have often funded leftist groups and causes, some already amply blessed with federal funding. Despite CCHD's promise to "help people help themselves," grants never go to "direct service programs" but to "poverty groups which work toward systemic change, economic strength and political power," according to CCHD materials. CCHD says funded "projects" must concern "a distinct constituency (e.g., a neighborhood, seniors, Blacks, Hispanics, women, handicapped) and/or a distinct issue or series of issues (e.g, hazardous waste, housing, tribal recognition, community development)."

In the past, some CCHD grantees have been involved in projects that are clearly contrary to what Catholics believe. Yet every year Catholics give millions to CCHD.

If the Campaign for Human Development--sorry, I refuse to call it Catholic--is an example of the kind of faith-based initiative Obama likes, the kind that rakes in donations from unsuspecting religious believers and uses the money to fund Marxist, leftist organizing tactics and all manner of left-wing politics, then I'll pass. Such initiatives aren't faith-based at all; they're faithless exploitation of religion and religious believers for the good of the government.

1 comment:

freddy said...

"C"CHD is the ultimate "mittens for the starving" program. Money goes to help people learn how to play the system to gain more power and browbeat and marginalize those who abhor such tactics. Power hungry politico-wannabes win. The poor, not so much.