During his electoral campaign, Obama promised to keep and expand Bush’s
Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. This morning, the AP has
Obama is also telling the gathering that the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships that he is announcing Thursday won’t favor any religious group, or favor religious groups over secular groups.
I’m all for the separation of church and state, and all the stuff
Obama said in that paragraph, but if the Office of Faith-Based
Initiatives won’t favor religion over irreligion, why put “Faith” in
the organization’s name? Seriously, WTF? Why not call it the Office of
Charity or Office of Public Service or something like that?
I suppose one explanation is that he thinks that federal support of
charitable works is a Good Thing, but that the Bush administration’s
implementation of it was broken, but that religious overtones are
necessary for public support.
Of course, he could just rename it, as when the Department of War
became the Department of Defense, but perhaps he thinks that would
make him unpopular.
A more cynical explanation is that he plans to continue the previous
administration’s policy toward the office: have an Office of
Faith-Based Initiatives in place to suck up to the religious, but not
fund it adequately.
I doubt the latter explanation, because a) if that were the case,
Obama wouldn’t have made his comments about keeping church and state
separate. And besides, sucking up to voters is typically something
presidents do when they’re running for reelection. And as long as the
last election cycle has lasted, I don’t think it’s grown to four years
yet. Please tell me it hasn’t.