Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

In support of religious discrimination

Joe Knippenberg, as you know, supports President Bush’s 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. It�s 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.
And later:

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.   

Discussions - 8 Comments

Meanwhile, the L.A. Times publishes an article called "Made in America Wahhabism: the Christian Right is Our Own Brand of Extremism" in which this statement appears:
"Some fundamentalists are even ready to kill those who do not agree with them, or at least destroy their careers. They seem to delight in the death penalty, despite the fact that the Bible prohibits killing and Christ advised his followers to leave vengeance to God."
Do we assume that the person writing this believes that murderers sentenced to death are simply persons who do not agree with fundamentalists, or do we assume that the writer is so unskilled that his/her intent was to point to support of the death penalty as a separate example of how extreme these fundamentalists are? And "fundamentalists" to people such as this writer are people who believe in the Bible as the Word of God. How could we possibly believe that people that narrow and extreme could provide any kind of services to the poor and oppressed, especially since the poor and oppressed may not agree with them. Surely it would follow that faith-based service providers would have to kill them.

The only things we should assume are that (1) the writer of the L.A. Times piece lacks both writing skills and logical reasoning ability, and (2) the writer and the editor who allowed that piece to be published are both jackasses.

Ohio Voter, wow. Inflamatory and unnecessary. Is there no truth to religious extremists in America? I think there is. I was raised Christian. I have a faith. I have been threatened with harm by other Christians because I don’t agree with their views on abortion, death penalty or environment. Are you telling me that there cannnot be extremists? What about the bombers of abortion clinics or the guy who decides to shoot a Doctor who works at one? How about the groups that firebomb ski resort construction claiming "God wants us to be stewards of the earth, not destroy it with a resort"? See, they exist. But for you, just as nobody thought the Nazi party was going to exterminate Jews and start a World War.

But yeah, on topic, I think that fostering the sort of compassion and "brotherly love" that comes with most religious people is good, and sure may be necessary. But you must allow, despite discrimination, more than just Christians to be included. Muslims, Buddists, Jews, etc can all be compassionate and can foster the kind of developments we need in America to bring us away from immoral or harmful lifestyles.

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.

Yes. And yes.

I was referring to the specific section quoted by eeyore: "Some fundamentalists are even ready to kill those who do not agree with them, or at least destroy their careers. They seem to delight in the death penalty,"

This is a total non-sequitor. I stand by my statement. As for the rest of your comments, I don’t recall making any of the claims you attribute to me.

Here are my comments on the op-ed containing the outrageous statement quoted above.

Ohio Voter: Fair enough. I appologize for my non-contextual remarks and withdraw any anger directed to you. I had not read the article until it was posted by Kippenberg, and I agree with his, and your assertion about the piece. In the context of that article, I was way off base with my first post. Again, I appologize. It is annying, at the very least, that this kind of thing flies in journalism right now. I’m shocked at the comments comparing abortion to destroying careers. What the?!

I do stand by my comments in my second post that one might be careful to not alienate any other religion right now by focusing too hard on "The Christian Right". (I’m talking about both sides of the aisle here). Morality=good, intolerance=bad.

JV, thanks for the reply. For my part, I admit that "jackass," while in my opinion accurate, was probably not the best or most appropriate choice of wording.

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