Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

God in a Box? (Obama’s Faith Based Office)

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.

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carol shuttleworth

posted February 14, 2009 at 11:10 am

Why is it that the Right to Life people are the same people who want to cut services to children?
Once they are born they loose interest in their welfare!
I suggest that if they were as concerned about feeding and educating them (and paying medical and
dental bills) one could feel more sympathy to their cause.

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Gerard Nadal

posted February 15, 2009 at 1:21 am

“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”
Regarding pro-life “progressives”. These are no doubt the folks who want abortion kept legal for the first trimester, where according to Guttmacher, 89% of all abortions occur.
89% of the fifty million abortions since Roe v Wade amounts to 44,500,000 abortions. That isn’t progressive or pro-life Steven, it’s status quo.

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posted February 16, 2009 at 12:40 pm

But another way to be progressive and pro-life is to support policies such as comprehensive sex education and family planning services that will reduce unwanted pregnancies and shrink the 44.5 million number to something considerably lower.

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posted February 16, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Why is it that the pro-life vs pro-choice is the argument immediately jumped on here? What if all the money spent on abortions were funneled to programs for women and children? No one thinks that women should not have the right to choose. It is the first choice they should be worried about while they are the only human involved. By the time the second choice must be made there are 2 human beings involved and one of them is completely innocent, dependant and helpless. And here I thought this was about separation of church and state, which by the way is not guranteed in the constitution. I thought it was about the state not mandating that its peoples belong of be of a state selected faith or church. I never understood it to be about the church having nothing to do with the affairs of state. Since most religions have the same moral base there should be no issue here with lawmaking. Why does this have to be made so complicated?

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