Your Two Cents About the Faith Based Initiative Program

The Secular Coalition of America sent me a request a few minutes ago, asking me to write a letter to Obama about the Faith Based Initiative Program. I pretty much keep my nose out of politics, but I thought I'd pass this along because I firmly believe in the Separation of Church and State as my God Given Right! :P

Seriously, this country was founded on the incredibly important idea of religion and politics being separate. If you want to see a country where there is no separation, just go to Iran. I'm pretty sure they are a theocracy. Don't hold me to that, though. My world politics skills have never been very sharp.

Anyway, I think letter writing campaigns work best when the people or organization targeted gets absolutely inundated from all over the place with the same request. Here is what the Secular Coalition for America says:
As a presidential candidate, Barack Obama promised to abide by "a few basic principles" that would protect the constitutional separation of church and state in his plan for an expanded faith based initiative program. He was specific: "First, 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. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs."

On February 5, 2009 President Obama issued his Executive Order establishing his Faith Based Intiative program. Twelve months later at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama claimed that his administration had "turned the faith-based initiative around" from its misuse during the Bush administration. But it appears the only thing President Obama has changed about how millions of federal dollars are spent is that the office guiding the direct funding of houses of worship is now called the "White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships" rather than the "Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives." Twelve months, Two words. That's not a turn around, it's a re-branding.

Go Here to Send a Letter to Obama through the Secular Coalition of America. Hey, maybe if enough of us say something it might just make a difference.The Secular Coalition for America has called for reform and oversight of the Office and the agencies that it oversees for years. Government reports and hearings have documented the constitutional problems and gross abuses rampant in this program, but a year later all Americans continue to have their federal dollars used for government-condoned religious discrimination, while reforms to prohibit proselytizing in these purportedly secular social service programs have still not been enacted.

No law is required to fix this - simply the stroke of a Presidential pen.

America's Founding Fathers strongly believed in a clear separation between church and state. They gave us a Constitution that forbids government to support or oppose any religion, leaving Americans free to follow their own consciences when it comes to matters of faith. In the words of the First Amendment, government shall make "no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…."

Churches and other houses of worship are free to spread their beliefs. But they are expected to raise their own funds through the voluntary contributions of the faithful. Taxation to support religion and religious endeavors was forbidden under the Founders' constitutional framework. No American should be compelled through taxation to subsidize any religion. Twelve months, Two words.

I will resist the urge to climb up on my tallest soapbox and rail against the machine and leave you with another lolcat lolbear.

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