Home > Brian's Blogs, Politics > The Faith-Based Office…Good, Not Great

The Faith-Based Office…Good, Not Great

Amidst a flurry of awful executive orders, President Obama has issued one that is somewhat encouraging:  he will expand the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.  I agree with Christianity Today that there are a few encouraging aspects to this executive order, but one awful aspect.

First and foremost, it is encouraging that this office continues.  I feared that it might fade off into the Texas sunset with President Bush.  But perhaps the most encouraging sign is that the new advisory council includes some faithful evangelicals, including Frank Page of the Southern Baptist Convention.  It will be great to have a conservative, evangelical voice on this council that can inform and challenge Washington.

But the absolutely awful part of the executive order is that it includes a provision that faith-based organizations cannot discriminate based on religion.  In other words, Christian organizations can’t discriminate against non-Christian applicants.  WHAT!?!

I understand that Christians are not the only ones who want to help the poor.  I understand that Christians are not the only ones who want to see broken families and neighborhoods repaired.  But there is a distinctive Christian message that underlies our desire to help the poor and to repair families.  It is the message of Jesus Christ.  For the Christian, no amount of financial assistance or restoration is truly complete without the good news of Jesus Christ.

Yes we will help the poor even when we can’t verbally proclaim Christ.  Yes we will rebuild neighborhoods even if we can’t share the Gospel with everyone in the neighborhood.  But at our core, especially for the people doing this work, is the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  This is our hope.  This is our motivation.  To take this away from these wonderful Christian organizations is to ask them to deny their identity in Christ.

So I appreciate the continuation of faith-based initiatives.  I’m not even opposed to the government supporting both Christian and non-Christian organizations doing this work.  But I greatly regret the pluralistic requirement imposed upon Christian organizations.  It is a denial of our distinctiveness as followers of Jesus Christ.

Maybe Frank Page and the others can help President Obama see the error in this order.

Categories: Brian's Blogs, Politics
  1. Ryan Prudhomme
    February 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I thought I had a great lead on a corporate partner with Michigan based 4H. I spoke with the state wide leader and he was really excited. The only hang up was Grace had to be able to sign a non descrimination policy which included many unprotected classes but yet socially popular classes. It listed our hiring, membership, delivery of services and more.

    We don’t descriminate in our delivery of services to individuals. If a homosexual student comes to an event they are welcomed with open arms. We won’t allow East Lansing GLBT to hold their annual conference here.

    We do require that employees sign our statement of faith. Otherwise what is the point of a statement of faith.

    Anyways yet another example of back door anti Christian descrimination policies by the world. They are very afraid of our message.

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