A Confused Rant17 May, 2009
Today is Friday. Well, it is my Friday. Two days off. (((Wife))) knows that, after a long week dealing with both the public and the coworker, I need to relax. So of course, as soon as I sit down to play Blitzkrieg on the computer, she shows me an article from, of all things, Parade Magazine. The title? “Who Should Help Struggling Churches?” And it is actually a rather fair article.
Barry Lynn (of Americans United for Separation of Church and State) is featured prominently. The article points out, quite correctly, that
there are no effective regulations in place to prevent churches from engaging in religious discrimination when hiring or to stop them from using government money to promote their religion through soup kitchens or shelters.
Lynn is careful to not rule out any contact between the government and churches. His point, and it is one with which I agree, is that any organization, religious or secular, which accepts government money must also accept the civil rights protections attached to that money. If a church wants government help to pay for charitable work, then they have to play by the same rules as all the others.
Of course, the problem with that (and one which I still haven’t figured out the answer (other than an absolute prohibition against any religious organization ever receiving any government money)) is the church then has more money for recruitment outside of the charitable situations. They can use money set aside for feeding the hungry to put up anti-atheist billboards.
Times like this, I almost wish I were an absolutist authoritarian conservative. Then I would never see the damn gray areas.
At the Parade Magazine website, there is a survey asking: “Should churches receive government funding without restrictions?” And right now, only 22% say yes.