"Faith-based" legislation introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives would violate the Constitution's church-state provisions and subject America's houses of worship to entangling government red tape and possible lawsuits, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
A House bill that gives government funding to churches to provide social services would do lasting damage to both religion and government, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
Today, U.S. Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) and other House members announced "faith-based" legislation that would give grants and contracts to churches to do social services, as part of a broader program to let religious groups solve social problems. The measure, known as the "Community Solutions Act" (H.R. 7), comports with President George W. Bush's "faith-based" initiative.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State today filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of two Allegheny County, Pa., residents seeking to have a Ten Commandments plaque removed from the county courthouse.
The legal action, Modrovich v. Allegheny County, challenges display of a four-foot tall bronze tablet on the side of the public building containing a Protestant version of the Ten Commandments as well as the "Great Commandment" of Jesus from the New Testament.
"The number, the industry, and the morality of the Priesthood, & the devotion of the people have been manifestly increased by the total separation of the Church from the State."
That's the view of James Madison, the nation's fourth president and the man widely acknowledged as the "Father of the Constitution," who wrote those words in an 1819 letter to Robert Walsh.
While the White House tries to fix the proposal's flaws, Santorum and allies will focus on less divisive issues such as tax incentives to encourage charitable giving. Thus, the centerpiece of the Bush plan will be put on hold.
TV preacher Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition, once regarded as a Religious Right powerhouse, has been left reeling by allegations of racism and charges that its influence is in rapid decline.
Helen Thomas, the seasoned White House correspondent whose career has spanned nine presidential administrations, has joined the plethora of prominent Americans to express doubts about President George W. Bush's "faith-based" initiative.
Thomas, often referred to as the "Dean of the White House Press Corps," grilled Bush about the plan during the president's first press conference yesterday. The Hearst Newspapers columnist suggested Bush has little appreciation for church-state separation.
The always controversial topic of religion and schools will again go before the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 28. The justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments in The Good News Club v. Milford Central School, the high court's sole church-state case this term.
TV preacher Pat Robertson, one of President George W. Bush's most reliable political allies, blasted the president's "faith-based" initiative yesterday, describing the administration's plan to provide public funding of minority religions as "appalling."
The public criticism, aired nationally on Robertson's "700 Club" television program, was startling to many considering Robertson's unwavering partisan support for the Bush administration. It also indicated the fragile coalition of groups supporting Bush's faith-based plan may already be showing signs of fraying.