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God-O-Meter

People For.jpgThe liberal People for the American Way just sent out a statement attacking the school voucher plan that John McCain discussed in his speech today before the NAACP. Here’s People For President Kathryn Kolbert:

“John McCain is trying to score points with his right wing base, and he’s doing it at the expense of children. It’s bad enough that these voucher schemes are designed to undermine the separation of church at state. But more importantly, they don’t help children learn. Study after study, including the two government sanctioned studies of the DC voucher program, shows that vouchers are not an effective tool for improving student achievement….
it’s an ideological valentine aimed straight at the Religious Right base.”

That release got God-o-Meter wondering: if People For is castigating McCain’s support for school vouches as a violation of the separation of church and state, how’d the group respond to Barack Obama’s zealous support for a more active White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives?
It turns out that People For is pretty dark on that program, too, with Kolbert saying earlier this month:

What is less clear and potentially more problematic is the possibility that federal funds would be sent directly to houses of worship. That’s a bad idea. Helping community groups create nonprofits that can be held to legal and constitutional standards is a good idea. Both religiously affiliated and secular nonprofit organizations have worked in partnership with government agencies to meet human needs while respecting the Constitution. Direct government funding of houses of worship is neither necessary nor appropriate. It would create both a constitutional problem and logistical mess, pitting oversight and accountability for public funds against the autonomy of churches, synagogues, and mosques.
Bringing government and religion together, even for noble purposes, is a tricky business…

Sure, these worried paragraphs appeared under the Obama-friendly headline:
People For the American Way Encouraged by Obama Commitment to Apply Constitutional Principles to Partnerships with Faith-Based Groups
But at least the group is taking its favored candidate to task for bringing religion into public policy. People For was founded to combat the Religious Right’s attempted injection of religion into politics and government (for proof, watch the group’s 25-year anniversary video). So how must if feel now that the Democratic candidate for president is trying to do exactly that?


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