29
Jul
2005

Deepening the Faith: Bush and Congress Aim to Institutionalize Faith-Based Initiative

by Bill Berkowitz

One of the first orders of business for George W. Bush in January 2001 was to establish a White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, the cornerstone social policy of his presidency. At a ceremony attended by numerous religious leaders, Bush announced executive orders that instructed the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Justice, Education and Housing and Urban Development to set up Centers for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives within their agencies. That done, Bush moved to cement his executive actions in congressional legislation. There he was rebuffed, however, over objections that government money would be used for religious proselytization, and that recipients of government grants would be allowed to discriminate in their hiring, based on religion. Bush called on Senators Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) to craft a legislative compromise. When they failed to win a consensus, the president went back to issuing executive orders. Now, House allies are trying to come up with a legislative package that will pass muster. One of the keys to the compromise is a "Sense of the Congress" resolution dealing with the religious hiring question...

//www.dissidentvoice.org/July05/Berkowitz0728.htm
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