Federal Money, Faith Based Charities & Family Planning

Does anyone else see the monumental hypocrisy in two of Dubya’s first executive orders?

On the one hand, he decrees that no federal funds will be given to international family planning groups that also provide abortions, even though all abortions are paid for with private funds. Apparently, Dubya cannot comprehend that, and assumes that reducing financial support to family planning by such groups will reduce money available for abortions.

But then, the Mini Shrub says it is a good thing to give federal funds to churches to fund social support programs, even though every Supreme Court interpretation of the the Constitution says that is contrary to the First Amendment.

Apparently he has figured out a way for churches to keep their funds for social programs separate from money used to promote religious views; but the same methods won’t work to keep federal funds for family planning separate from private funds for abortion.

Is he just incredibly dense, or does he just not care how it looks, so long as he can ram through the agenda bought and paid for by rich right wing Repugnicans?

Amazeing. I just read an article on this a minute ago, and rushed here to start a thread. But my thread was already started. Thank you SDMB!

Here is a link to an article: http://my.aol.com/news/news_story.psp?type=1&cat=0100&id=0101300146581152

Frankly, this is one of the scariest things I have ever read.

Both. Next question.

Not to mention that Cheney told NBC’s Meet the Press that Bush may try to overthrow Roe vs. Wade, in the interest of banning abortion altogether.

Here’s the transcript:

From that same transcript, Cheney also was rattling his sabers at Iraq. Wonder if we’re in for another “distraction” military move if Bush’s policies don’t get the kind of support he’s looking for.

(Yeah, that’s incredibly cynical. But call it a psychic prediction.)

Really?!?!?! Gee, where are all the Bush supporters who assured us that Roe V Wade was safe?

Yes, I too had noted the “interesting” philisophical position of : if we give any money at all to organizations who also provide any abortion information or services, that action indirectly funds abortions -But if we give money to churches for services other than their relgious programs, that’s perfectly fine and not at all funding religion.

I will state FTR, that it is a time honored and acceptable accounting practice to have seperate streams of funding (remembering situations where my organization would pay for a work experience contract at, say the Salvation Army, but we had to make sure that the person was not performing work for the religious aspects of that organization - such as, they could mop the floor in the gymnasium, but not in the chapel). It is only when the organization provides any abortion information/services at all that apparently $$ gets tainted.

This is the scariest thing I’ve seen in a long time. I can’t believe people are falling for it! Everything I read says that they preach the gospel to all those poor folks who are recipients of the “social work.” Teaching them how to manage a household “The Christian Way”, if you will. I don’t understand how this gets through the checks and balances! Surely the Supreme Court will have a say in this! JEEZ! I Hope so!

I was considering starting a similar thread. Bush’s actions certainly seem to indicate a person who allows ideology to overwhelm consistency. Of course, that hardly makes him unique in the annals of politics. I wonder what Bush would say about giving federal funds to a faith-based group that provided social services and provided abortion counseling?

On thing that I find interesting is that administration spokesmen seem determined to ignore the decades-long history of federal support for social programs run by churches. Of course, present law requires said churches to create a separate organization to administer such programs, preserving a true separation between federally funded activities and religious activities. Perhaps they provide an embarrasing counterexample to the claim that Bush’s initiative is not intended to erode that very separation.

One thing:

I read the transcript and I saw no such statement. Cheney refused to go on record saying that the administration would not try to overturn RvW. That does not imply that they will try to overturn it. Frankly, even if they have no plans to challenge the decision a public statement to that effect would be a foolish political move. The pro-choice lobby represents no significant source of political suport for Bush. The pro-life lobby does.

Does anyone know why the current system, as described by SM,is considered inadequate such that this change is needed?
Under the proposed system, will funds be available to individual churches? I can easily imagine tremendous potential for abuse under such as system.

Spiritus Mundi,

How about this?

Unless my English is failing me here, this bit seems to imply that overturning Roe vs. Wade is just a question of building support, ie. they’d do it if they could.

matt surreptitiously moves his chair another few inches north and makes sure his NDP membership is paid up

Excuse me, Jaakko, but Cheney did not say the administration may try to overturn Roe V. Wade. He simply didn’t commit the administration to a particular policy. Did you read the transcript? He was asked three questions relating to Roe v. Wade:

Q: “[Ashcroft] said in his testimony that Roe vs. Wade, the abortion case, is settled law, and as attorney general he will not seek to overturn it. Is that administration policy?”

A: "Well, I think it’s clearly the role of the attorney general to enforce the laws that are on the books and execute based on the decisions that the court’s made in various areas. And that’s clearly what John Ashcroft should do and what he committed to do as attorney general. That doesn’t mean that there might not be efforts on the part of the administration to do what we said during the campaign. Both President Bush and I talked about the desirability of trying to find ways to reduce the incidence of abortion.

“Even if you could not, at this stage, build majority support for the notion of changing Roe vs. Wade, there are other areas out there where I think we can get majority support for, such as banning partial-birth abortions. Legislation passed the Congress, was vetoed by President Clinton. I would hope we could go back and redo that. There are other areas: advocating abstinence, making adoptions easier, working to encourage alternatives to abortion I think that are things we would to do as an administration.”

Q: “But you won’t seek to overturn Roe vs. Wade?”

A: “I didn’t say that. I said that John Ashcroft, as you said, is specifically committed to, in his testimony, as he should, as the attorney general of the United States, to carrying out established law. And that’s established law. President Bush and I have talked—both of us strong supporters of the pro-life position—and the president’s made it very clear the policy of this administration will be to try to find ways to reduce the incidence of abortion.”

Q: “The first lady said Roe vs. Wade should be overturned. Do you agree with the first lady?”

A: “I’m especially not interested in getting in the middle of discussions between the president and the first lady on those or other issues.”

  • Rick

Bricker, look at my reply to SM above.

Just out curiosity, can anyone define a faith based charity for me? I work at a food bank that is run, organized, and mostly funded by the local parish. It takes place on the grounds of the church and a lot of the food is donated by parishioners. However, we also get FEMA donations in the form of flour, butter, corn meal, and canned fruits and vegetables when we are lucky. Does this constitute government funding of a faith-based charity?

Spiritus: On[e] thing that I find interesting is that administration spokesmen seem determined to ignore the decades-long history of federal support for social programs run by churches. Of course, present law requires said churches to create a separate organization to administer such programs, preserving a true separation between federally funded activities and religious activities.

This requirement has actually already been somewhat eroded over the past few years as “charitable choice” provisions (the brainchild, as it happens, of everybody’s favorite Attorney General-designate, John Ashcroft) have been included in welfare reform. Wendy Kaminer has an interesting article, The Joy of Sects, on this subject in this week’s American Prospect:

On the bright side, as Kaminer notes, this whole love affair between the right and “faith-based action” or “charitable choice” may self-destruct once what they perceive as “false” religions like the Wiccans or the Muslims or the Scientologists start lining up for their slices of the federal funding pie. In the meantime, however, look for a lot more government entanglement with religion in the near future.

(Anybody else cynically suspecting that a good deal of the current enthusiasm for “faith-based” services is motivated not just by sectarian zeal for saving souls but by avidity for cheap solutions? Secular antipoverty services run by the government have to employ professionals (though not very highly-paid professionals, to be sure) and involve lots of expensive bureaucracy for assessment and accountability. Local church charities, on the other hand, are largely volunteer-staffed, are traditionally much less concerned with assessment and accountability, and are popularly perceived as automatically virtuous and trustworthy (unless you’re talking about a youth group run by Catholic priests, of course :rolleyes: ). And the more proselytizing you let them do, the more competition there is to provide such services, and the more money you save for your vitally important missile defense programs. Hey, it’s win-win! [/cynicism])

Note added in preview: Yes Neurotik, your food bank is a faith-based charity. Yes, FEMA typically works with faith-based and other private charities to coordinate emergency relief.

I do not understand why there needed to be an executive order for faith based charity. Churches can already get federal grants to fund charity programs. All they have to do is to apply for and receive 501©(3) status. This will allow the nonprofit organization to be able to solicit tax-deductible charitable contributions and apply for grant funding from foundations and corporations as well as the US gov’t. I have not read the complete executive order so therefore do not understand the intricacies of this order but it seems that Pres. Bush has duplicated legislation that is already in place.

Almost, deb2. You’re right that, as Spiritus and the Kaminer article I cited point out, churches already can receive federal funds for social programs in a number of different contexts. But when they do so as a 501©(3) organization, they have to comply with a whole host of federal requirements such as nondiscrimination, not involving the recipient of the federal funds directly in sectarian proselytizing, and so forth.

The existing “charitable choice” provisions, on the other hand, which Bush’s executive order will greatly expand, remove these restrictions. Churches can provide their social services in sectarian settings and can apply whatever discriminatory hiring policies they want to staffers of their social-service programs whose salaries are paid with federal funds. And they are no longer restricted, thanks to Bush’s order, to welfare, drug treatment, and community development programs; the executive order opens all federal grants to religious applicants. So no, this isn’t really duplicating existing legislation; it is expanding some recent legislation in a direction radically different from the one government relationships with religious institutions have traditionally followed.

(Side note: if I understand this correctly, “all federal grants” really means all federal grants, not just those for social services. Which I suppose includes those for research in the social and physical sciences as well, meaning that federal grant-providing institutions like the NSF are going to see some interesting applications coming down the pike. All you Dopers who worry about tax dollars being used to teach “creation science” in public schools, how are you going to like it when tax dollars start getting spent to fund “research” on it? Or when the NSF has to fight lawsuits charging that their refusal to fund “creation science research” is due to religious discrimination? Think I’m being unrealistic and overreacting? Wait and see.)

Kimstu, for once–mark it on your calendar!!–you and I are in absolute, 100% agreement.

I had a lengthy post in Scylla’s “Vouchers and SOCAS” thread behind the Lemon standard for First Amendment challenges; I think the reasoning there is even more important when applied to the institutions under discussion in this thread. Already, the erosion of the church/state line under the Bush regime is beginning.

Sadly, I don’t think you’re being either one. I continue to watch the reign of George the Second, with open-mouthed, deer-in-the-headlights horror. I keep trying to make sense of it. Has he resolved to make no attempt at re-election? Is he getting messages from Planet Spengo? What sensible reason, that I am overlooking, would make him want to pander so to the Religious Reich?

I’ve tried to suggest that he just may not be very bright , but few wish to believe. I think it will get easier.

Thanks for pointing out the “charitable choice” funging that is already taking place. As I said, there seems to be a calculated effort on the part of the administration to ignore the long history of federal support for church social programs once proper separation from religious practice is effected.

It appears Bush wants to portray this move as having no effect upon 1[sup]st[/sup] Ammendment separation. Not only is this untrue, but (as the OP noted) it is also inconsistent with his attitude toward dispensing federal funds to international health organizations that also provide abortions or abortion counseling.