Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

This week’s faith-based flashpoint

This week, the House will take up a bill reauthorizing the Head Start program. Some religious conservatives will propose an amendment that permits the organizations that offer the Head Start programs to engage in what some (I) would call mission-sensitive hiring or what others call religious discrimination.

I’ve got a brief post about it over at Knippenblog, but that site seems to be down as I’m writing this. When it’s up, you’ll find links to the legislation and to some of the pro-amendment statements, which I don’t want to reproduce here. I will, however, call attention to this post, which contains the text of a letter written by the usual suspects opposing the amendment, and to a piece I wrote for the Ashbrook site a couple of years ago.

The big disagreement boils down to this. Must everyone who receives government money be a standardized extension of the state or can the government exercise a bit of restraint, using its resources to invigorate rather than simply to homogenize civil society? Some of course might argue that we should dismantle the welfare state altogether. This week, that’s not the point. The Head Start reauthorization is going to pass. Will it pass in a way that augments the secularizing force of government or in one that qualifies it? I confess that I’m not sanguine about the prospects of the amendment.

Update: Here’s the Knippenblog post.

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