Tuesday, July 01, 2008

AP 0, Obama 2…

First Read...
The Obama campaign says the AP's first report this morning that Obama supports "their [faith-based organizations'] ability to hire and fire based on faith" is incorrect. In fact, Obama's plan, they say, would prevent organizations from discriminating based on faith.

Note: The second version of AP story says Obama would support "some ability to hire and fire based on faith." The change is of one word, from "their" to "some."

But the campaign says the second version is still inaccurate.
I'll trust the campaign on this one. Hotline has the transcript of Obama's remarks on federal support for programs sponsored by religious organizations or congregations. While there's no specific mention of hiring in the speech, Obama cites his background as a teacher of constitutional law and explicitly supports the separation doctrine at the outset, and does directly address proselytization and discrimination in the provision of service...
First, if you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them – or against the people you hire – on the basis of their religion. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs. And we’ll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.
He clearly envisions something very different than the Bushco™ brand of faith-based initiatives (Included in the specific proposals the speech outlines is the closure of Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in favor of a new council with a clean slate). Doesn't sound inclined to support discriminatory hiring to me. There's further assurance here (my emphasis)...
Every house of worship that wants to run an effective program and that’s willing to abide by our constitution – from the largest mega-churches and synagogues to the smallest store-front churches and mosques – can and will have access to the information and support they need to run that program.
Hard to see how you could abide by the constitution while using a religious test for hiring. Based on what Obama said, there's just nothing to support the AP's interpretation.

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