Bush Ready To Put Dollars in Armies of Compassion

Bush Ready To Put Dollars in Armies of Compassion
Posted by FoM on February 03, 2001 at 08:48:50 PT
By The Associated Press
Source: Shawnee News-Star 
When President Bush looks for solutions to America's thorniest social problems, he sees answers in the nation's churches, synagogues and mosques.He says he wants to unleash "armies of compassion" by letting private and religious charities compete for government money to provide after-school programs, prison ministries and drug treatment.
Bush will begin sending his proposals to Congress next week. As a first step, he and his wife Laura were having dinner Thursday night with Theodore McCarrick, the Catholic archbishop of Washington who was elevated last Sunday by Pope John Paul II to the rank of cardinal.White House officials acknowledge that Bush's plan is not universally liked. Critics say it would blur the constitutional lines separating church and state. They also say that religious groups cannot really take the place of government programs.Bush said on Thursday, "It's all based upon what's called charitable choice, which is a constitutional provision which recognizes government will never fund religion but government should not fear funding programs that can change people's lives."He added, "Nor should government fear providing funding for an individual and allow that individual to choose a faith-based program so long as there's a secular alternative available."Bush plans to establish an Office of Faith-Based Action to oversee the programs and distribute money, and wants each state to do the same. Bush officials have not said who will head the office, which is expected to spend "several billion dollars" over the next 10 years on new funding for programs and tax credits.Many charities welcome the idea of more federal dollars to help them reach those in need. But even some churches are wary of strings that might be attached to money from the federal purse."Faith-based programs, no question about them, they do work," said Ted Fuson, pastor of the Culpeper, Va., Baptist Church, which is active in a variety of local and intrachurch programs offering grants, food, clothing and furniture to the needy.Still, Fuson said he is not interested in taking federal money. "Eventually, somebody's going to want to have a say in how those funds are used, and we're not going to give them that freedom," he said.The idea of government support for religious organizations' programs is not unique to Bush.Since Republicans gained control of Congress in 1995, they have started programs to expand the ability of spiritual organizations to provide services to the poor. The 1996 welfare reform bill allowed groups to obtain government dollars while maintaining a religious character."This is in many ways the next step in welfare reform," presidential spokesman Ari Fleischer said Thursday.The results of these "charitable choice" plans are still being measured and some say it's foolish to spend more money until it's clear the efforts work.One program cited by Bush is Faith Works, a non-denominational social service agency in Wisconsin that helps troubled fathers with drug treatment, job training and placement.Source: Shawnee News-Star (OK)Published: February 03, 2001 Copyright: 2001 The Shawnee News-Star Contact:  editor Forum: Website: CannabisNews Articles - George Bush
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Comment #4 posted by Lehder on February 03, 2001 at 11:34:42 PT
teaching Jesus about drugs
>Still, Fuson said he is not interested in taking federal money. "Eventually, somebody's going to want to have a say in how those funds are used, and we're not going to give them that freedom," he said.Glad to see a churchman who recognizes subversion, and I expect that many more will speak out. I'd like to hear too what the Pope has to say about all this. Pastor Fuson and other church leaders I think will realize that their jobs and their ambitions for church involvement in the social good could gradually, sinisterly be usurped by the ambitions of moneymen and playboys like George Bush. I think church leaders will recognize that they do not want the federal government as First Parishoner. The good works done by churches come from the donations and efforts of many very well-meaning individuals who take satisfaction in their accomplishments and not in the magnitude of their donation. George Bush wants to steal that sense of individual contribution and replace it with the ususal kind of uninspiring and corruption-prone bureaucracy.Usually disputes over the separation principle involve incursion of the church into government: Christmas displays outside public buildings, prayer in school etc. But here we are dealing with the government's attempted purchase of the churches. And Pastor Fuson is not for sale.Would all churches be treated equally? Not likely. Here is how the Native American Church helps alcoholics:>>Indian alcoholics are especially fearful and critical of Peyote. They sneeringly refer to Peyotists as "cactus eaters. " One alcoholic told me, in a malignant tone of voice, that Peyote was "snake juice." One reason alcoholics tend to fear Peyote is their knowledge that Peyote conquers the alcohol in a person's body and pushes that poison out of his system; he would thus suffer physically and mentally through an all-night ceremony. But the alcoholic generally refuses to admit that his recovery to sobriety and   awareness may be the beginning of a new life.Will the government contribute to the Native American Church without stipulating how the money is to be used in religious rehabilitation? Or will some churches be excluded from the program?Maybe you're a lawyer or historian interested in what the Founding Fathers have to say about all this:-- for myself, I am content today to argue as a drug warrior: I don't need any more facts or information. I know it's wrong.
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Comment #3 posted by Stripey on February 03, 2001 at 10:17:30 PT
The problem here. . .
The separation of Church and state is pnly partly to keep the government out of the Church. The other is to keep the church out of government. If the church gives money to the government, they, just like any other contributers, are intitled to a favor. And then the line get's blurred some more. . . Don't think that Asscroft will have a small part in this constitiutional stretch either. And since it's about drugs, people will be a tad more hesitant to challenge it.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on February 03, 2001 at 09:56:44 PT
My 2 cents
I went to Catholic school and the separation of Church and State was explained to us in our required religion classes. Our school did just fine without any government help. We didn't have many rules that public schools had. My friends that went to public school thought we had it made. We had good food in the cafeteria not like public schools. We had hamburgers, hotdogs and ice cream and candybars annd sodas. Public school had just a meal. Balanced of course. We had a big beautiful jukebox that even played Louie Louie until the Nuns figured out what the words were saying. When I drove the Nuns around after school they let me smoke a cigarette. Why does anyone want to join up with the government anyway? 
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Comment #1 posted by MikeEEEEE on February 03, 2001 at 09:32:53 PT
May look good on the surface
But there's the separation of church and state.
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