John DiIulio, noted sociologist (and criminologist and political scientist and head of Bush’s Faith-Based office)(and dear friend) has written a piece in First Things about which candidates are the best on poverty issues. His answer? “Honest Mike and Sister Hillary”
Clinton conceives government’s role as empowering average citizens to lead productive if not uniformly prosperous lives and ensuring that truly disadvantaged citizens are not exploited or neglected. In her long-standing view, this cannot be achieved without religion. She did not start talking about God only for this campaign, and her religious rhetoric has not been confined to supporting left-pleasing antipoverty programs.
Clinton championed the four “charitable-choice laws” that her husband signed between 1996 and 1998, each one directing federal agencies to roll back constitutionally suspect limits on grants to religious nonprofit organizations that supply social services. On December 17, 2001, she spoke at a New York City church: “The Founders had . . . faith in God, from which the ability to reason is a gift. . . . Government works in partnership with religious institutions . . . feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless.” On January 19, 2005, she preached before clergy in inner-city Boston: “But I ask you, who is more likely to go out onto a street to save some poor, at-risk child than . . . someone who believes in the divinity of every person, who sees God at work in the lives of even the most hopeless and left-behind of our children? And that’s why we need to not have a false division or debate about the role of faith-based institutions; we need to just do it and provide the support that is needed on an ongoing basis.”
Huckabee marches to his own drummer, insisting that music and the arts remain central to public curricula and pushing funding for what he calls “weapons of mass instruction.” He is certainly not following pollsters or focus groups in his pleas to reform our “revenge-based criminal justice system.” His case for faith-based economic development and antipoverty policies is predicated on the constitutionally correct principle that religion should be “neither prohibited nor preferred” by government.