Obama Starts To Fulfill Faith-Based Promise With $100 Million in Stimulus Package

thumb_praying_handsthumb_money_bag_greenthumb_praying_handsOne of the items in the stimulus bill that has been overlooked is $100 million in grants for faith-based organizations. As I discussed this week in my column, Obama has pledged to not only continue but massively expand President Bush’s faith-based initiatives.

Page 141 of HR 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 contains $100 million for grants to faith-based organization through the Compassion Capital Fund. The Compassion Capital Fund grants are “to expand and strengthen the role of faith-based and community organizations in their ability to provide social services to low-income communities.”

This was not enough for Rep. Susan Davis of California who wanted to increase the total appropriation to $500 million.

For the story, click here.

15 thoughts on “Obama Starts To Fulfill Faith-Based Promise With $100 Million in Stimulus Package”

  1. And to make matter worse, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), removed the provision from the stimulus package on Jan. 30, that would have provided $400 million for HIV prevention. So, faith-based organizations get a half of billion to proselytize and discriminate in hiring and HIV prevention gets nothing. Like I said yesterday, I want my vote back! Tell me how this is “change you can believe in?” Tell me how this is any different that eight tortuous years with Bush.

  2. Buddha,

    You spoke too early. Obama is going to allow discriminatory hiring by faith-based groups AND is increasing federal funding of these groups through the Compassion Capital Fund by $100-million. If the first African American president doesn’t get that discrimination is discrimination, that I want my vote back!

  3. 501cweb,

    You must be psychic.

    CNN is running a story about this very issue this morning (2/5/09) and how discriminatory hiring will no longer be allowed. I’m sure someone will post links as the story evolves. Thanks for your first hand input.

  4. During the previous administration, I worked for the federal contractor that provided technical support for the faith-based initiative known as the Compassion Capital Fund. Much was made about the Bush Administration’s innovativeness in providing public dollars to support the work of faith-based organizations. This was inaccurate. Government support through a network of grants and contracts has been provided to religious organizations for non-sectarian social services for the past 50 years.

    What was new was allowing federal funds to be used to support religious and quasi-religious activities under the guise of social services. This happened with a wink and a nod through the Capital Compassion Fund and related faith-based initiatives. This cannot be allowed to continue in the Obama Administration.

    Additionally, I witnessed first hand, technical assistance training on how CCF grantees could legally discriminate against people they didn’t want to hire based on religious predilections. As an American, I was and continue to be offended that taxpayer dollars would be used to exclude any group of people. This, as well, cannot be allowed to continue.

    Yet, beyond these challenges, there is the wider, Constitutional issue of the separation of church and state. The previous administration – certainly not the most respectful of the Constitution in general – somehow believed that the separation clause was up for grabs. It is not.

    We are all diminished when government can use its substantial weight to assault the Constitution by funding the peculiarities of religious entities. Let’s hope that President Obama, as a constitutional scholar, will safeguard these vital protections by curtailing the errors of the past faith-based initiative.

  5. Jason2L, Ponzi schemes have been around a long time (Charles Ponzi operated in the 1920s). People 25-35 years of age started handling millions back in the ’80s, the golden age of mergers and acquisitions (remember “junk bonds” and Michael Milken). A whole generation of kids decided to become investment bankers, recognizing that the real money came from putting together deals rather than actually producing something. The increasing disdain for regulating the financial markets reached its zenith during the Bush administration, encouraging clever people to create new and more complicated investment vehicles, eventually including things like derivatives, which no one can understand, let alone evaluate. It was only when the real estate market collapsed that people realized the whole thing was a house of cards. That means that legitimate and illegitimate funds alike collapsed. The only people who did not lose money were the smart brokers who amassed huge commissions, but did no investing themselves. Every financial manipulator who winds up in prison insists at his sentencing that he always intended to pay everyone back.

  6. what actually is happening? I have read a little bit about wall street and from those readings it appears that something like the Madoff scandal probably would not have happened 50 years ago. It would have been bad form, immoral etc. And further more the idea of a 25-35 year old dealing with millions of dollars would have been laughable at best. (not Madoff but just in general)

    What has happened in our culture that would allow someone to think that it is okay to screw the public to that degree. A little snake oil ok the average guy ought to be able to figure that out, there has to be some personal responsibility.

  7. Jason2L:

    “I believe that the financial institutions that took federal money are playing the sovereigns tune right now.”


    Not just yet, but they will be. They are taking the money and regulation is sure to follow. The problem is now we’ll have a creep of regulation to rein in problems that have passed, and likely won’t be repeated anytime soon, since most crooks don’t make the same mistake twice. What will happen is that the well-meaning regs will stifle creative efforts. That said the government could have avoided all of this by vigorous enforcement of already existing regulations and criminal sanctions but the FBI was too busy following foreign exchange students around and listening to their telephone calls home to mind the store and keep the real threats to our way of life on the chain. The whole situation leads to a kind of sclerosis and like the Doobie Brothers said so long ago, “What were once our vices, are now our habits.”

  8. Mespo:

    I agree with both you and Rcampbell. Mespo your insight is especially keen about the sovereign’s money and his tune. I believe that the financial institutions that took federal money are playing the sovereigns tune right now.

  9. Jason2L;

    “It might not quite be seperation of church and state but if the money goes to help the homeless and others in need why not?”


    This type of utilitarian argument is always used to justify unconstitutional acts. If there is a social good, then by all means ignore the prohibitions of constitutional case law developed using centuries of experience. The problem lies in the fundamental purpose of the Doctrine of Separation of Church and State. While the Founders saw it as a method to stop religion from overpowering the will of the State, recent events have shown that it’s evolving purpose in the modern world is to stop the State from overpowering religion. Ironic that the ones who will suffer most from the loss of their religious freedom are the ones clamoring for the President to “break down that wall.” He who takes the sovereign’s money, plays the sovereign’s tune.

  10. Jason2L wrote:

    It might not quite be seperation of church and state but if the money goes to help the homeless and others in need why not?


    Because it violates the seperation of church and state. Because tax money is being used to support religious proselyting. More specifically, under Bush, the program’s money went almost entirely to Christian-based groups. A smattering of Jewish organizations received funds, but not a single Muslim or other religion-based group received federal money even if their programs helped were in every other way equal.

    Excluding any religious-based program creates the violation because such actions give any reasonable person the impression that the government is favoring, sponsoring, financing and/or otherwise supportive of one religion over others and that is patently unconstitutional.

    These groups are also being given tax dollars while simultaneously being permitted to violate federal hiring and employment laws.

  11. I think that Obama is on to something, by expanding face based organizations he will be able to control their actions. The government can then determine how best to spend this money by directing it to organizations that align with its thinking. It might not quite be seperation of church and state but if the money goes to help the homeless and others in need why not?

  12. My last 6 years of work was for non-profits, one faith-based. While most do good work they are premised on paying their everyday workers pittances and their executives well. Inevitably, they are characterized by high turnover and low morale that affects the quality of service they deliver. Their other problem is their willingness to accept government largesse, even when the program was inimical to their original mission. This is also the problem with the whole social work profession. It was a hoot to see major social work schools after Bush’s election, suddenly adding classes in faith-based service delivery. Beyond separation of church and state, we might also want separation of charity from state. In this respect one must understand that Social Security, Medicaid, Food Stamps, etc. have been falsely characterized as “entitlement
    programs.” They are not charity. They are the necessary response of government to poverty and social dislocations whose existence comes about because of the in built inequity of our system, that favors corporate profit and investment income. By the way I’ve been an certified social worker for three decades, so I say this from inside the profession.

  13. Doesn’t it occur to anyone that if lobby for cash were forbidden that we wouldn’t have a Separation issue with crap like this? Sure. It’s rhetorical, but someone had to ask it.

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