I don’t usually agree with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), but he’s right about this. Durbin told a group in Chicago Sunday that the president’s faith-based initiatives “could endanger religious freedom”.
Durbin said that unless religious organizations that accept federal funds adhere to federal laws banning religion-based discrimination in hiring, the government would essentially be funding discriminatory employment.
And you know that won’t happen. The result will be that any church accepting government funds will suddenly face pressure to hire or provide services to people based on the government’s wishes and not on the Lord’s.
The other problem, one that Durbin didn’t address, is that the government will have to decide what qualifies as a “faith-based” organization in order to distribute the money. Many Christians assume, based on the president’s proclaimed faith in Jesus, that he means groups with a Christian, and maybe Jewish and Muslim, world view. But what happens when a charitable group of Wiccans or Scientologists asks for government money?
I can’t state this forcefully enough: We do not want the government deciding which religions encompass true faith!
George Bush’s heart may be in the right place, but putting the power of the state behind the church created the monster that was the medieval Roman Catholic church. More recently, it’s precisely the reason the Pilgrims fled England, to escape the persecution of the Church of England and King James I.
The president’s faith-based initiative is a bad idea, and I pray the Holy Spirit makes him see the danger in this folly.