Bush's Faith-Based Initiative Sparks Debate, Soul-Searching

By Dionne, E. J., Jr. | Nation's Cities Weekly, April 9, 2001 | Go to article overview

Bush's Faith-Based Initiative Sparks Debate, Soul-Searching


Dionne, E. J., Jr., Nation's Cities Weekly


Without being enacted into law, President Bush's faith-based initiative has already had a socially and even morally useful effect. It has unleashed intense argument and soul-searching among those who were presumed to be its prime supporters and beneficiaries--Christian activists and active Christians, overlapping but distinct groups. And it has put poor people closer to the center of the political debate.

It's not surprising that all who believe the First Amendment requires a hard separation of church and state are critical of Bush's proposal to expand government support for religiously based charities and social services.

But it turns out that many Christian conservatives seem prepared to look a gift horse in the mouth--because they're not sure it's a gift. Among African-American pastors, the divide is between those who welcome support for their programs to help the poor and those who suspect Bush of trying to dilute the political power and Democratic loyalties of African-Americans. These critics fear the prophetic voice of the black church could be stilled.

Despite their political differences, the two groups of skeptics say much the same thing: with Caesar's coin comes the obligation to submit to Caesar's rules. Conservatives worry that if the government funds their charitable efforts, it won't allow the programs to be religious enough. Progressives worry the government won't let the churches be progressive enough.

In truth, the government has long helped finance programs through religious organizations without stopping them from being religious or, for that matter, politically outspoken.

Catholic Charities, for example, has an extensive history of running programs cooperatively with the government. That has not made the Roman Catholic Church, to use the conventional terms, any less "liberal" in its strong advocacy of programs for the poor or "conservative" in its firm opposition to abortion. Other religious organizations--among them Lutheran Services and many large African-American churches--have also kept their bearings while joining in partnerships with government.

It's at least possible, in other words, for government and religious institutions to work together in achieving common public purposes without unduly compromising either partner in the bargain. But on this matter, God will truly be in the details--and, probably, in the litigation.

Even more productive is the way the Bush initiative has forced us to confront how little most of us, religious or not, actually do to help the poor. …

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

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
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.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
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, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 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.

Cited article

Bush's Faith-Based Initiative Sparks Debate, Soul-Searching
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

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, 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."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.

    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.