Obama Bests Bush, Clinton On Faith-Based Government Funding

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

God bless, er, Thank God, er, praise be to President Obama. He has the courage to put his foot down against all the government-funded proselytizing expanded by President Bush and started by President Clinton.

This is one PR effort the president has handled brilliantly. Unlike his cabinet nominee vetting, which has been nothing short of disastrous, his pledge to continue faith-based funding but exclude groups that use federal dollars to proselytize, he has quelled zealots on both sides of the church-state debate. His staffers will examine use and abuse of faith-based funds on a case-by-case basis:

The same case-by-case approach will govern another tricky question: whether federal funds can pay for secular portions of programs that also include proselytization, he said.

That approach will likely anger some on the left who were hoping for a clean break with the Bush policy. In a speech last July, Mr. Obama presented a more clear-cut view of how to draw the constitutional line. "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," he said then.

This is a brilliant approach because the offenders will be cut off from massive government support, but Mr. Obama is doing so in a way that religious zealots cannot fight back against. You go, guy!

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By Bonnie Erbe