The White House office of faith based initiatives

I suspect that many of you are not familiar with the White House office of faith based initiatives, or, if you are, you may not know exactly what it does.  Either way, you may find what follows to be of interest.

The purpose of this office is to engage our country’s “spiritual leaders” to “more effectively serve Americans in need”.  Over the years this office has been involved in creating new programs to:

mentor the children of prisoners, expand choices for addicts seeking treatment, and [to] combat the spread of AIDS.

Each of these programs, which have been very successful, was initiated by President George W. Bush.

On Tuesday, President Obama gave this office new “marching orders”.  Our country’s clergy have now been instructed to:

Get out there and spread the word…all of you can be really important validators and trusted resources for friends and neighbors, to help explain what’s now available to them…

under Obamacare.

Most Americans do not like Obamacare in spite of all the hype from both the President and Congress.  Will any of them like it any better when their pastor starts touting it, or, will those touting it loose the respect of their congregations?

Whatever the result, using this office to foster a political agenda rather than a social agenda seems a bit out of place.

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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. HamHocks on September 25, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Does anybody else have a problem with the constitutionality of our federal government funding religious institutions? I know we're supposed to be upset about something Obama said, but I hope we're consistently against both of these things. Religions have a great track record when it comes to charity work and helping those in need, but they should be doing so with private funding. Does anyone know if we can get our hands on an actual transcript of the conference call these words came from? Politico claims to have heard it, but all I could find was their take on it peppered with a few lines of dialogue. I'd feel better qualified to comment on the situation if I could actually read or hear the whole thing.

  2. winnie888 on September 25, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    HamHocks…while I see where you're headed to a separation of church & state, the words "faith" and "spiritual" do not necessarily imply "religion" or "church".  I consider myself to be quite spiritual and I also have faith, but am not what would be considered an overtly religious person.  Anything that gives back to the community at large by encouraging treatment for addicts, mentoring for children whose parents are incarcerated, or fighting the spread of communicable diseases is a GOOD thing and actually (kinda) falls under the Hillary Clinton/Oprah premise of it "takes a village" (oh my gosh…did I just mention Hillary &  Oprah in the same sentence?).

    For Obama to use the clergy involved in these community building initiatives as accomplices to push Obamacare is simply deplorable.  It's just one more example of his messing with something that's working and twisting it for political advantage for himself & the party.

  3. Dimsdale on September 25, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    I think it is considerably more problematic that the office is being used to spread the "word" of Øbama through the pulpit, i.e. the "healing" of sinners will be more corporeal than spiritual.


    Could the "faith" in "faith based initiatives" be mutating into pushing the cult of Øbama?


    Ham: As for "government funding of religious institutions" comes in to this, if you can find it, I am agin' it!  As VictimsRevenge notes, to be beholden to the government is as good as being part of it.  I don't mind consultation with the major religions, but sending them out on missions is a big fat "no-no".

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  4. HamHocks on September 25, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    I'm glad we can see eye to eye on this one. I know that good intentions led to the creation of the faith based initiatives, but they're definitely an idea on thin ice.

  5. Dimsdale on September 25, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I think part of it was Bush's "Islam is not our enemy" pitch too.


  6. PatRiot on September 25, 2010 at 7:51 pm

    Let's see the Church spouting off about health care.

    NASA making Muslim's feel good about their contributions.

    Next?  Kathleen Sibelius in the bully pulpit spouting off about NASA's search for God?

    And another thing……   We here in CT have had the government try to get into the Catholic church"s finances.  The response was a VERY quick "Oh no you don't !" 

    The answer to this latest threat to real America will be the same.   

    I dare say it may be worth a few Hsil Mary's to say H#!! NO !!

  7. VictimsRevenge on September 26, 2010 at 4:06 am

    <cite>PatRiot, I think that the Catholic religion would be among the first to get involved with the "Faith Based Initiatives" and willingly make the concessions to the government. Here in Connecticut it's almost as if the Catholic Church and the government are one in the same.


  8. NH-Jim on September 27, 2010 at 4:11 am

    The carrot that dangles is the 501(c)(3) status that all religious and non-profit organizations file under for tax-exemption.  Should they not agree to get out there and spread the word…as trusted resources, will that tax-exemption magically disappear?

  9. RoBrDona on September 27, 2010 at 5:08 am

    NH-Jim- You hit the nail on the head. Federal Form 660 that all 501s have to file has 16 schedules. Schedule C is "Political Campaign and Lobbying Activities" and specifically asks 501(c)3s if they partake in such activity. This makes them subject to Section 6033(e) notice and reporting requirements "and potential proxy tax on certain membership dues, assessments, and similar amounts".  Essentially, all such activity must take place within the state of domicile, and no federal candidate or office holder can "materially participate in the direction of the organization, solicit contributions or direct disbursements".  In the past this was one of the sticks used against the religious right – lets see what happens when the lefties get smacked with it.  

  10. weregettinghosed on September 27, 2010 at 7:27 am

    The Constitution's statement of separation of church and state is intended for the Federal Government to stay out of the business of everyone's religious expression.  As was intended, the Federal Government shall have no say into our religious affairs and how we express them. We must understand that during such time, as it was put into the Constitution, people had come from countries that not only told you how to worship but literally prohibited certain religions other than the state religion, America protected those coming here from such restraints allowing all to worship as they choose.

    Now enter the liberal movement and we find the Constitutional clause being interpreted to mean, all religion can not be displayed or mentioned in any public place. This clearly was not and still is not the intention of the authors of the Constitutional amendment. The error's of D. C's ways needs to change, be restored. Within the restoration process we need to make Americans understand any manipulation through the White House using the clergy goes against the Amendment. The Government is interfering with our freedom of expression, it is telling the clergy to be the Trojan Horse, bringing lies and deception to the people. The Clergy should answer to God and their congregations; their business needs only be preaching the word and giving to others charitable words and deeds.

    We the People need to stand up against this act, tell all clergy they shall not believe any word other than those coming from God. Americans need to understand Obama is the wolf in sheep' clothing, bringing falsehood to people by way of the clergy. My question to the people is how do we address the clergy with such little faith and intuition as to not see the wolf for who he is and stand up against such falsehood so as to expose him to the people doing God's work? We need clergy doing God's work not Obama's work. The Trojan Horse has arrived in our churches, beware patriots, rise up and expose it. Every day we have another task to save our freedoms.


  11. Lynn on September 27, 2010 at 8:46 am

    I know the intent of the faith base initiative was to use the churches to extend charity and not have it come from the federal agencies. Maybe some could  be eliminated. However, Fannie Mae was started in the 1930's with great intentions and then it was perverted by the feds forcing banks to make mortgages that reasonably could never be paid. Lots of programs were started with good intentions, but the powerful always manage to control and not for the good. Let's stop this program while we can.

  12. Lynn on September 27, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Hey, I know, we can blame Bush!

  13. Anne-EH on September 28, 2010 at 1:41 am

    Hi SOS:

    Here is the Free Republic posting of your RVO blog article:


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