Beliefnet
God-O-Meter

perkins2.jpgOne might have thought that Barack Obama’s plan to expand George W. Bush’s Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives would be music to the ears of Family Research Council Action, the main inside-the-beltway Christian Right advocacy outfit. Carving out a big role for religion in the public square is a major priority for the organization and the movement, right up there with battling abortion rights and gay rights.
But FRC Action is throwing cold water on Obama’s expanded vision for faith-based initiatives in an e-briefing:

… [Obama] said that church and religious organizations should play a bigger role in meeting our country’s social needs. He would even support the right of federally-funded programs “to hire and fire based on faith.” Of course, this statement stands in stark contrast to his policy position on ENDA (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act), which would trample on the religious and moral convictions of employers, including non-profits and certain church ministries. Nevertheless, Obama’s camp insists that their candidate will “elevate” the program to the “moral center” of his administration. It sounds appealing, but what exactly would a faith-based initiative under Obama look like? His latest statements on the California marriage amendment over the weekend provide a frightening glimpse. In a less-than-public letter to a Sunday breakfast of the LGBT Democratic Club in San Francisco, he scorned man-woman marriage, saying , “…I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution [to protect marriage], and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of any other states.” While telling the world he will up hold the faith-based initiative as the cornerstone of his administration, Obama says that a cornerstone of society – heterosexual marriage — is “divisive and discriminatory.” Doesn’t this mean that faith-based organizations that support marriage will be disqualified from federal funding under an Obama presidency? It would be next to impossible for ministries that promote traditional marriage to participate in a Healthy Marriage project funded through an Obama faith-based initiative. There is no doubt that Sen. Obama is polished on the issue of faith, but it’s his record–not his rhetoric–that speaks louder.

God-o-Meter is interested to learn what portion of the money from President Bush’s office of faith-based initiatives is currently going to programs focused on promoting one- man, one-woman marriage and will try to find out. In the meantime, the Family Research Council Action briefing goes on to beg John McCain to raise his voice in opposition to gay marriage:

Gaps like this leave Senator McCain with a huge opening: as with his letter last week supporting the marriage amendment in California, McCain can send message after message that his definition of faith is traditional and strong, not the High Church of Secular Liberalism that believes in a “faith-based” way to destroy marriage and family.


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