Mr. President, Remember Church-State Separation!

By Thomas, Helen | Church & State, February 2001 | Go to article overview

Mr. President, Remember Church-State Separation!


Thomas, Helen, Church & State


President-elect George W. Bush plans to create a federal office in the White House to promote faith-based charity programs.

It's designed to eliminate regulations that ban religious groups from taking part in federal programs and to make it easier for church groups and charities to get their hands on taxpayer money. He also would expand federal tax breaks to boost charitable donations.

Hasn't Bush ever heard of the separation of church and state, a time-honored tenet rooted in the U.S. Constitution? Why would he try to chip away at the DMZ of church-state relations even before he knows his way around the federal government and has assumed his overwhelming duties? Surely he has enough on his plate during his learning curve.

For Bush, setting up a religious-related office in the White House and end-running the overall ban on funneling federal money to religious organizations may have several purposes. He may be trying to appease his supporters on the religious right. Obviously, he also is trying to reduce direct government involvement in safety-net programs for the needy. Those programs had their heyday when another Texan, Lyndon B. Johnson, promoted a caring Great Society.

Churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious institutions play an indispensable role in helping the disadvantaged. But I haven't heard any religious leaders panting for an official slot in the West Wing of the White House.

Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer says the president-elect views the planned federal Office of Faith-Based Action as the "next step" in welfare reform. Bush has said religious groups are better able to handle many social services than the government. Furthermore, in discussing the unusual idea, Fleischer told reporters: "Get used to it. This is how he is going to govern."

The president-elect said at a post-election news conference that he wants to work on "how the government can encourage, as opposed to discourage, faith-based programs (in) performing their commonplace miracles of renewal."

Fine, nothing wrong with encouraging good works. But why undermine one of the core principles of the founding fathers -- a value that has kept this nation basically free of rancorous, divisive religious strife that we have seen in so many other lands?

Americans are free to worship or not to worship. They are also free to give to charity. But they understand that religious institutions are freer because of that wall of separation, however porous it may be.

Bush can display his compassionate conservatism in many ways. He can preach giving, as his father, former President George Bush, did with his Thousand Points of Light program. He can promote voluntarism to support the disadvantaged, and he can promote religious tolerance from his bully pulpit. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Mr. President, Remember Church-State Separation!
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.