Bintel Blog

Beyond Rick Warren's Invocation

By Gabrielle Birkner

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The Orthodox Union’s Nathan Diament has some advice for Barack Obama. Writing in The New Republic, Diament — the OU’s public policy director — urges the incoming president to do more than offer religious voters symbols, like an inaugural invocation by Rev. Rick Warren. Obama, Diament writes, has an opportunity to “advance policies that are important to them” — and can do so without sacrificing Democratic Party principles on issues like abortion, gay rights, and school vouchers.

To that end, he suggests that Obama support programming aimed at reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies; ensure that religious schools and social welfare agencies can continue to receive federal funding, regardless of their policies on homosexuality, and make federal grants available to parochial schools expanding their pre-kindergarten programs or greening their campuses. He writes:

”In their faith-outreach efforts, Democrats were wont to quote the Book of James’ statement that ‘faith without works is dead.’ If there were a Talmudic commentary to the Christian Bible, it might suggest that having won the power to govern, Democrats ought now to reread this verse to say, ‘Without work, faith outreach will be dead.’”



Comments
Jack Thu. Jan 1, 2009

...Or not. If, as Diament suggests, Obama should ensure that religious welfare agencies can still obtain federal subsidies even while objecting to homosexuality, abortion, etc., does this mean these religious agencies can restrict their federally subsidized services according their doctrinal standards? What if someone in need does not fit into the worldview of a such an agency? On the morning of 17 December, Jennifer Gale died in Austin, Texas, most likely from exposure. She was not permitted to stay that night at the Salvation Army homeless shelter as a trans-woman. No other shelter in Austin takes women. I don't know whether the Salvation Army in Austin receives federal monies, but it does at other locations, for other welfare services. It can't be said that the Salvation Army was merely reflecting "community standards": this happened Austin "Let's Keep Austin Weird" Texas. Elsewhere the FORWARD has published an editorial wherein liberals are counselled to hold our noses like FDR and LBJ, and to work with less progressive Americans. What if these less progressive Americans won't work with us? And what if that leads to misery and death for other Americans?

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