Joe Knippenberg, as you know, supports President Bushs faith based initiative. In this excellent piece he explains what it means and why it is a good thing, and why "religious discrimination" is in fact central to the faith based initiative. Just a sample, but read the whole thing:
The premise underlying this particular form of "privatization," employing non-governmental organizations in order to accomplish public ends, is that our social problems are best addressed by the employment of genuinely diverse means. Itï¿½s not just a question of efficiency, based upon the generic argument that the private sector can accomplish public ends less expensively and hence more efficiently, but rather that certain organizations can in fact behave differently and hence achieve different effects than can public bureaucracies
In this connection, religious diversity clearly matters. An organization moved above all by love (rather than, say, profit) might treat its clients differently, demanding more of them but also engaging with them more intimately and intensively. Social service workers who feel a religious call to love their neighbors might form bonds of community and relationship with those they serve that are different from those developed in a secular or public social service setting.
At the core of the faith-based initiative is the recognition that a diverse nation is best served by a diverse array of organizations. And a diverse array of organizations is best preserved by permitting them to make mission-driven hiring decisions. If diversity is good, then religious discrimination in hiring is good.