Obama The Faithful

Yesterday, CBN News got word of some new developments with the Obama Administration, and it had absolutely nothing to do with Cabinet selections that forget to pay their taxes. On Thursday morning (February 5), at the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama will announce plans to create a "President's Council on Faith." The council will be made up of leaders from all world religions, and they will meet regularly with the president to "provide public policy input on faith related issues ranging from healthcare to poverty."

The first amendment of the US Constitution states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. So, in my interpretation of that particular amendment, I understand that the US federal government does not have the right to impose any laws that favor one religion over another, or in any way impose a religious doctrine on the American people. So, in regard to President Obama's proposal, does his faith-based council infringe on the First Amendment?

By creating a coalition of religious leaders, there is no overwhelming sense that the US will have an official religion. But, it does raise the issue of weather or not religious leaders should be influencing public policy when it comes to issues like healthcare, education, poverty, etc. If we look at Bush 43, and his track record with religion and public policy, we can see that lots of the decisions that he made had a religious base - the lack of federal funding on Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Abstinence-Only Sex Education, The Partial-Birth Abortion Ban,even his plan to combat AIDS in Africa lacked a plan for the use of contraceptives. Now, I don't think that President Obama shares a lot of the same views as the former Commander-in-Chief, but, if religious leaders are allowed to mold public policy, then anything can happen.

Personally, I think that religious organizations should work independently of the government when it comes to the issues. Church organizations already offer help for the homeless, and work to combat genocide in Darfur, and educate about HIV/AIDS in their own small communities. So why such a push to bring in religion into government?


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