ISSN 2330-717X

Biden’s Faith-Based Program Is A Bust – OpEd

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On May 14, Melissa Rogers, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, met with leaders of six secular organizations: Freedom From Religion Foundation, the American Humanist Association, American Atheists, Center for Inquiry, Ex-Muslims of North America and the Secular Coalition for America.

None of them are religion-friendly and some are positively militant in their agenda. They expressed their displeasure with the pro-religious liberty policies of the Trump administration, accusing it of fomenting “Christian nationalism.” The creation of this fiction is central to the anti-religion politics that drives these groups.

It would be one thing if White House staffers in domestic policy or civil rights invited representatives of these six organizations to discuss their concerns; it is quite another when those who purport to work with people of faith do so. The problem is traceable to February 14, the day Biden issued his executive order establishing his faith-based program.

It was President George W. Bush who founded a White House office of faith-based initiatives. He realized how effective these programs were in the delivery of services to the needy. He also knew that government programs, which are typically distant from those whom they serve, would be enhanced by partnering with these religious agencies. That is why he sought to put an end to government policies that shunned these entities.

President Obama pursued a more secular approach, effectively gutting the faith element in faith-based programs. Trump restored and strengthened the Bush model. Now Biden is picking up where the Obama-Biden administration left off.

On February 14, the White House announced that the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships “will not prefer one faith over another or favor religious over secular organizations (my italics).” But the whole point of creating an office of faith-based programs was to prioritize religious social service agencies. Thus did Biden set in motion what happened on May 14.

If the Biden administration is going to manipulate the founding purpose of faith-based initiatives by welcoming the advice of militant secularists, it would do us all a favor and simply trash this office. It is obviously a bust.

Contact: [email protected]

William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

2 thoughts on “Biden’s Faith-Based Program Is A Bust – OpEd

  • May 17, 2021 at 7:10 pm
    Permalink

    Translation: “Waaaah! Atheists have the same rights I do!”

    Reply
    • May 17, 2021 at 7:23 pm
      Permalink

      I happened to have been at the meeting with the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In fact, I helped organize it.

      I am surprised that William Donohue weighed in on what was or was not discussed, since he was not there, and I suspect he hasn’t spoken to anyone from our coalition who was in attendance.

      The Office, relatively dormant during the Trump administration, is actively recruiting partners — religious and secular — which simply increases the reach of this office to do good by and for our neighbors and our planet … something we humanists and atheists applaud.

      Debbie Allen, Executive Director
      Secular Coalition for America

      Reply

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