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NYT Calls for Obama to Live up to Campaign Promise

Obama hasn’t exactly lived up to all of his campaign promises. In fact, he hasn’t done a whole hell of a lot at all. The New York Times calls him out on his failure to put a brick back in the wall between church and state — a wall that his predecessor spent eight years whacking at it with a biblical jackhammer.

President Obama promised in his campaign to preserve President George W. Bush’s faith-based initiative aimed at helping social service programs sponsored by religious organizations win federal grants and contracts. He also promised a vitally important change: groups receiving federal money would no longer be allowed to hire employees on the basis of their religion.

The idea was to prevent discrimination and preserve the boundary between church and state. But Mr. Obama has not made good on the promise. His February executive order revamping the White House office for religion-based and neighborhood programs left untouched a 2002 presidential directive authorizing religious-oriented programs that receive federal financing to hire and fire on religious grounds.

Also left untouched was a constitutionally suspect 2007 memo concluding that the government cannot order religious groups not to discriminate as a condition of federal financing — even in programs like Head Start, where religious discrimination is outlawed. The memo, based on a far-fetched interpretation of the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act, was produced by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. That is the same outfit that wrote the memos authorizing torture. (source)


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