Some liberals have warned that Obama’s “new” White House “faith based” office violates separation of church and state.
One progressive, Ed Kilgore, has a novel — and, to my mind, more persuasive — critique:
Maintaning a White House “faith-based” group makes people of faith just another constituency group represented by political commissars who will compete with other constituency-group commissars for influence over administration policies. It puts “God in a box,” as though believers have a different point of view than that of Americans generally concerned with achieving peace, justice, or public morality. Since a significant majority of our citizens are in fact believers to one extent or another, this marginalizes people of faith
My response to Ed, though, is that it will be worth it if this group can serve just two functions:
a) force policy makers to remember moral issues that dont have political constituencies — e.g. poverty
b) make sure that pro-life progressives are at the table when abortion is discussed
p.s. if you’re curious about the bios of the faith based council, Faith in Public Life has pulled them together.