I wasn’t a big fan of Dubya’s faith-based initiatives.  Well, I was at first, but I was later convinced that, since whoever pays the bills makes the rules, that having government pay the bills was a bad  idea for churches.  It opened them up to having to do things their faith told them not to in order to keep the money coming in.

Of course, there’s another more general reason to avoid new government programs; they expand to fill whatever void the government finds; real or perceived.  And President Obama is busy looking for voids.

President Barack Obama on Thursday signed an order establishing a White House office of faith-based initiatives with a broader mission than the one overseen by his predecessor, Republican George W. Bush.

Obama said the office would reach out to organizations that provide help "no matter their religious or political beliefs."

Obama is calling his program the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

(I would have put this in another ChangeWatch entry, more of the same alleged "theocracy" that Bush was supposedly foisting on us, yet continued and expanded under Obama, but thought it could use its own post.)

I wasn’t aware of a doctrinal test for Bush’s faith-based initiative, but Obama is claiming credit for expanding the reach.  Nifty sleight of hand there.

But the most notable expansion of the program is the addition of the word "Neighborhood".  The partnerships are "faith-based and neighborhood", not "faith-based neighborhood", meaning the neighborhood partnerships don’t have to be faith-based.  This turns the program into an untargeted channel for any and all grassroots groups.  As Warner Todd Hudson notes, sounds like yet another vector for funds to ACORN. 

Hudson also wondered (last Saturday, when he wrote his piece) whether the Left, and the Kos krowd in particular, will give Obama a pass on this, unlike the screams of "church and state!" they gave Bush when he created it.  Well, as of today, if you search Daily Kos back two weeks for the phrase "faith-based", you get exactly one hit, and that article still raps the GOP for it.  Yeah, still OK if their guy does it.  It’s still all about politics.  Such blind partisanship.

Filed under: DougGovernmentLiberalPoliticsReligion

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