Monday, September 22, 2003

Reading Between the Lines

I am going out on a limb now with some nit-picky analysis of the announcement that the Bush Administration is introducing 6 new regulations to allow religious organizations to receive federal funding for programs that provide community “services.” Claims to the kind of services are varied and unverified. What makes me cringe are the comments made by Jim Towey, the head of the White House faith-based office (and no this is not the group looking for WMD’s in Iraq):
"These six new regulations and the four finalized ones represent a continued march by the president in the faith-based initiative's effort to spread compassion in our country and make sure that the most effective programs are funded," said Jim Towey, the head of the White House faith-based office.
The bold was added. Now, “to spread compassion” sounds very close to “spreading the word,” one of the evangelical crowd's many rhetorical bumper sticker phrases. Additionally, with Mel Gibson’s movie out there called “The Passion”, then “compassion” could have a more obvious context. Now I am a reading into this quite a bit, but the language could have been constructed with more care, like avoiding “crusade” when talking about going after a group of Muslim extremists.

Not to be outdone with himself, Jim Towey continued:
"He wants to see results. This is not about funding religion, but about funding results and identifying the most effective providers and knocking down the wall that separates the poor from these programs."
It is not about “religion,” he says, but that depends on how one defines religion. I think my definition and his might differ greatly. His reference to “knocking down the wall that separates” is such very unfortunate use of language. That phrase was at best a Freudian slip, or at worse code words to Christian Conservatives looking for payoffs for their obedience to King George. What this policy is doing is knocking down the wall of separation between church and state. Direct or indirect funding of religion is a violation of the 1st Amendment. It is compounded in violation when the details of who is being funded and who is not being funded. I would how to see at least a few Pagan drug clinics funded, but I will not hold my breath.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Don't be an idiot or your post will be deleted.