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November 17th, 2010
01:42 PM ET

Obama signs order clarifying church-state relationship

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN

President Barack Obama signed an executive order Wednesday clarifying the ground rules for religious groups partnering with the federal government through the White House's controversial faith office.

The order says that religious organizations receiving federal funds must conduct explicitly religious activities in a time and place that are different from when and where they do government-financed work.

But the order also states that faith-based organizations receiving federal dollars may use their facilities to provide government-backed social services, even if those facilities include religious art, icons, scriptures and other religious symbols.

A religious group receiving federal money may also keep religious language in its name, select board members on a religious basis, and include religious references in its mission statements and other documents, the executive order says.

The White House framed the order as an attempt to separate religion from politics, saying in a news release that "decisions about financial awards must be free from political interference or even the appearance of such interference."

But a group that advocates strict church-state separation said the order did not go nearly far enough in that regard.

"I'm disappointed," said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. "This leaves much of George W. Bush's faith-based initiative in place. That's not the change many Americans hoped for when President Obama took office."

"I am particularly frustrated that President Obama still has done nothing to ban hiring bias by publicly funded religious charities," Lynn said in a statement. "That's the 800-pound gorilla in the room. No American should be denied a government-funded job because he or she holds the 'wrong' views about religion."

At the same time, Americans United applauded the order for requiring federal agencies to provide alternatives for people who do not want to receive social services at religious charities and praised a new requirement that faith groups receiving federal money be listed on government websites.

The White House faith office was launched by President George W. Bush in 2001 and was retained by Obama, to the disappointment of some church-state separation advocates. Obama tweaked the name of the office, calling it the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

While the Bush office was aimed mostly at helping to "level the playing field" for faith-based and nonprofit groups applying for federal money to tackle problems like poverty and substance abuse, Obama's faith office has focused on non-financial relationships with faith and nonprofit groups.

The office has come under fire from Bush administration officials, who say the White House is abusing it for political gain.

Responding to charges from those officials that a conference call Obama hosted with religious leaders on the new health care law crossed the line into political outreach, the White House said last month that "there could hardly be a more appropriate audience" for such a call.

"When congregants fall ill, faith communities come together to support their brothers and sisters in need," Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, wrote on the White House blog.

The White House response came after former Bush aides publicly criticized the conference call, saying it was an example of Obama abusing the office to win political support from religious leaders.

"According to the White House website, the faith-based office exists 'to more effectively serve Americans in need,'" Jim Towey, who directed Bush's faith office, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed in September. "I guess that now means Americans in need of Democratic talking points on health care."

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (257 Responses)
  1. Buddy

    As long as I can still get paid $100,000 a year for my Wiccan cat shelter, it's all good.

    November 17, 2010 at 5:20 pm |
  2. Ames Wolff

    The STATE should give no funds* to any CHURCH.

    * tax payer's dollars

    November 17, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
    • Bill In STL

      And Christians aren't tax payers? Or Muslims, or Taoists, or Buddaists? As long as the net result is a benefit to the people of this country no matter what their race, religion or otherwise ... why would/should you care?

      November 17, 2010 at 5:57 pm |
    • Bill In STL

      And BTW, which state are you talking about? The Federal government or the individual states. Other countries have called themselves the state before ... and had crimes against the state.. care to guess which ones... and oh BTW religion of any kind was illeagal.

      November 17, 2010 at 5:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      BIll,
      Weakening the separation of church and state, never benefits the people of the state or the church.

      November 17, 2010 at 6:04 pm |
  3. .

    there are a lot of Christian hypocrites- as Jesus said there would be. so i agree with you on that- and Jesus. eating shellfish isn't against new testament law though, just sayin

    November 17, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
    • DanW

      It's useless to argue with them. They know what we believe and why. It's just a tactic to infuriate you and try to get your ire up.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:58 pm |
  4. Steve the real one

    Observer,

    #1. You equating natural death with assassination?
    #2. read my last post, this is not something REAL christians would do!
    #3. Pretzel Logic's goal was to broad brush CHRISTIANS and not just one nut case!
    #4 If you understood REAL Christianity, we probably would not be having this conversation in the first place!

    November 17, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • Observer

      Real Christians would be trashing people who divorce, eat shellfish, or work on the Sabbath (pro athletes, etc.). Instead we find large number of hypocrites who pick what they want to support (less rights for gays, abortion, etc.) and ignor the Golden Rule that seemed so indicative of Jesus.

      November 17, 2010 at 4:58 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Observer
      Real Christians would be trashing people who divorce, eat shellfish, or work on the Sabbath (pro athletes, etc.).
      ------–
      Not correct. The Old Testament is what you are referring to! The followers of Christ did not exist them. In fact folk were not named Christian until the ministry of Paul. Approx 50 years after the death of Christ! We have no prohibition of shell fish or working on the sabbath! Keep in mind that Christians are people and we are people that are not exempt from having issues like everyone else. Not perfect but yet God called and saved us in spite of our imperfections! This Pastor you refered to was not right in what he stated. You are correct when you said it was an embarrassment! His statement does not and never will reflect the true love of God we are supposed to live by! One thing is clear God will do the sorting out in due time. Don't let my tone to you (in which I apologize) and what other pastors may say or that does not reflect Christ cause you to color all christians broadly I know sometimes it is hard to tell the difference! peace!

      November 17, 2010 at 5:16 pm |
    • Observer

      "Not correct. The Old Testament is what you are referring to!"

      Not correct. – Luke 16:18 “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.”

      November 17, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
    • Steve (the real one)

      Observer,

      OK you quoted the New Testament (which still does not prohibit working on the sabbath nor the eating of shell fish). This is talking about divorce and remarriage. The problem is some of us as Christians have not been a graceful to those who have had divorces or abortions. Jesus requires us to love the sinner. Jesus does not tolerate sin, however He does forgive sin for those who ask in faith! No argument here! Just an observation. Nowhere did He state we are to trash anybody we all have our own issues (sins) to deal with! Remember Christians are people with issues as well! Faith is a process and we have to grow into it!

      November 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm |
    • Reallythough

      Yes observer it does say that but like so many others who try to use scripture without understanding it to justify their opinions, you have missed the mark. Further reading to Luke 17:4 makes provision for the forgiveness of sin which is what the scripture is really about. Everyone sins everyday. Without forgiveness everyone would be condemned.

      November 17, 2010 at 6:34 pm |
    • Tribble10

      @Steve (the real one)
      I love it when Christians claim the OT doesn't apply. Perhaps, you should read your NT better to see what Jesus says about that. Matthew 5:17-18. So, don't eat those shrimp or wear mixed fabrics. And, if you have kids and they talk back, it's rather clear...it's stoning time.

      November 17, 2010 at 7:15 pm |
    • Reallythough

      Here we are again. I understand you reference to Matthew 5:17 but if you would have kept reading to Matthew 5:24 you once again see that Jesus speaks about reconciling with those who have sinned against you. The point is to acknowledge that you have done something wrong and no longer live that way versus the Pharisees and Sadducees who were in charge of enforcing the religious law but were themselves sinning without remorse

      November 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
    • Reallythough

      Taking what God said out of context was the FIRST trick the enemy used to deceive Eve in the Garden. Genesis 3:1

      November 17, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
    • Tribble10

      @ Reallythough
      Umm, it's rather clear that the Jesus meant that OT law applied. Has the earth gone away yet? I know Christians hate when this is pointed out, b/c it makes the bible cherry picking even harder. Fortunately or unfortunately, Christianity became the religion about Jesus as conveyed by Paul who never knew Jesus (again a fact many Christians do not want to admit), not so much of Jesus.

      November 17, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • Reallythough

      Tribble Jesus meant that he came to fulfill the law. Meaning that he would be the one able to live without sin then become the sacrifice for all those who believed on him but could not fulfill the law in their own power (that's you and me) The law was already broken. He came to pay the price to restore man's fellowship with God. This is the meaning of the passage.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
    • Observer

      It's always fascinating to hear that none of the ridiculous laws in the Old Testament apply any more, but the good laws from the Old Testament are absolutely critical. Supposedly the whole world is falling apart because we don't post the laws from the Old Testament known as the Ten Commandments.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • Reallythough

      Its even more amazing when people who don't believe in God try to explain what the Bible says.

      November 18, 2010 at 11:09 am |
  5. MadPanda

    I don’t see the problem here. Everyone knows that by "separation of church and state", the founding fathers really meant "Please fund religious organizations and grant them the ability to hire based on religious affiliation". Duh.

    AMEN HALLELUIAH!

    November 17, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
  6. Red Biker

    Well put, Julia. How can we have a functional, rational Govt when religion is dysfunctional. "For the People, By the People" as the saying goes, and not everyone here is a white christian.

    Do you think all the religions/faiths are getting EQUAL attention by the WH Faith Office? If you believe they do, you probably believe in the burning bush, the adventures of Noah the Crocodile Hunter and that Man was made out of mud by an invisible beard in the sky. Remove ALL religion from Govt, it serves no purpose other than making normally rational people look stupid.

    November 17, 2010 at 4:36 pm |
  7. Ian Kempton

    I'm an Atheist. BUT I have no problem with religion/Religious people in fact i think its interesting and teaches good moral lessons.
    But thats it, to be frank NO THEOCRATIC GOVERNMENT has ever worked, religion and Politics DO NOT EVER MIX. EEEVVVEEERRR <----. Because it creates a HUGE Bias, and MASSIVE inequalities! So PLEASE just destroy this office, seriosly!

    November 17, 2010 at 4:33 pm |
    • DanW

      Wrong. Religion based governments have always existed. Egypt's lasted a thousand years. The Muslim Caliphate under the Ottomans existed for centuries. The Romans had an official religion, etc. etc. It is the atheistic governments like the Soviet Union that haven't stayed around long.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:51 pm |
  8. Reality

    BO is simply trying to gather support from a large segment of "religionists" in the USA. One wonders why since he is the leader of the Immoral Majority who will again put him in the White House for a second term.

    Immoral Majority = The fastest growing USA voting bloc: The 70+ million "Roe vs. Wade mothers and fathers" of aborted womb-babies" whose ranks grow by two million per year.)

    2008 – Presidential popular vote: 69,456,897 for BO vs. 59,934,814 for JM.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:52 pm |
  9. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Amen to that !

    November 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
  10. TJeff1776

    Dear Pres. Obama:
    I am a big nobody with only one vote. BUT may I suggest, for what its worth, for gov't to stay tha hell OUT of financing,
    in all forms, church or religious organizations no matter what they have to offer the public. SIMPLY PUT- let there be a
    TRUE and complete seperation of Church and State. We can certain observe UP FRONT damages done by the right-wing
    Christian Coalition and other similar organizations. We have enough trouble financing State-run programs let alone handing
    out $$$$$$ to church groups; oh, and by the way- we REALLY DON'T have enough for the former, much less the latter.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:39 pm |
    • AlAZ

      Amen!

      November 17, 2010 at 8:12 pm |
  11. TOTAL FACT

    In other words if they don't do it according to Islamic rule then they will lose their sanction. Another one of Obama's desires. How much longer America can we wait.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:32 pm |
    • David Johnson

      You comment is lame.

      November 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • scroo yoo

      And stupid

      your comment is lame and stupid

      November 17, 2010 at 4:37 pm |
    • MadPanda

      Total,
      To that I say "That's just ignorant" in my best high pitched South Park Michael Jackson voice.

      November 17, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
    • McJesus

      Apparently this one was not very intelligently designed.

      November 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm |
  12. Julia Native American

    If you want religion in Government go live in Iraq or Iran, good luck Suckers! Cogress shall make no establishment of religion makes sense then, makes sense now. We know that Christians have a past history of violent behavior.

    November 17, 2010 at 3:02 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      Congress shall make NO LAWS.... So it appears seperation of church and state only applies to CONGRESS when they make laws! You stated "We know that Christians have a past history of violent behavior", EVERY segment of society has a past history of violence. THAT would include yours and mine! Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Mormons, Jews, Wiccans, Taotists, Buddists, Worshippers or nature, Agnostics, Athests, the list goes on and on! Your point is?

      November 17, 2010 at 3:15 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Amen Julia!

      November 17, 2010 at 3:44 pm |
    • MadPanda

      I resent that. The believers of the Mighty Pink Unicorn have never hurt anyone. Plus, to be saved, we only require 5% of your income. Please pray for our tax exemption status so we can afford a bullet proof car and a giant palace. If you pray hard enough, maybe we could get our own sovereign country!? Oh, and please teach your kids about the Mighty Pink Unicorn before they can form a cohesive thought or you will go to hell with all the Christians…

      November 17, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • MadPanda

      I'm turning into a troll I think...

      November 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
    • Bill In STL

      They are not the only ones Julia.... Even Native Americans have a history of violent behavior, as do most all religions.... and peoples. The problem here is that you blame religions for the failures of man. You can claim that man is the top of the food chain and that religion corrupts ... but really it is the othe way around. Men corrupt their religions. Well that is what all the apologists say about Islam... its only a few that give them a bad name.

      The real question is where are they now and not 500 years ago.

      November 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • TiredofYouall

      You might want to re read the sentence and take it in the context it was meant. At the time it was the RELIGIOUS people fleeing the goverments and wanted no part of being run by them. The amendment says there will be no GOVT appointed Religion, it does not say there will be no religion in goverment. PERIOD. What T. Jefferson may have said on his own is his words alone, they are not binding.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • David

      lol, we also know that atheists, muslims, hindus, etc, etc , etc have a history of violence. Your freaking point?

      November 18, 2010 at 1:20 am |
    • ScottK

      @tiredofyouall – "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion" "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof" I think its pretty clear what they meant, only a religously biased person would try to read more into it than is there. I'm sure there are people out there who want to debate what "No Law" means to them, but there really is no ambiguity.

      November 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
  13. Ray

    Oh yay! Another executive order that isn't worth the paper it's written on and probably won't be enforced, except for the part demanding that the charities be listed on Government websites so they can be easily identified, targeted and harrassed by anti-religious groups.

    November 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • freedom from religion

      Ha Ha Ray- don't you understand that it is the RELIGIOUS groups that are harrassing people(not the other way around) Keep your insane belief in fairytales to yourselves. I am glad Obama is trying to combat the religious bullies in this country. The part of this exec. order that these religious groups must identify themselves is what really scares you, because now people will know who is causing all the harm.

      November 17, 2010 at 3:23 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yes, but with the stroke of a pen, Obama could eliminate this Bush abomination altogether.

      November 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  14. Frogist

    I am disappointed...again. There must be a theme for this month... really. The one thing that the interfaith community and the secular community agreed on explicitly is that these organizations should not have the power to discriminate in the hiring process. Now this "faith-based" office is basically allowing government money to be used to deny people out of work a job because of their religion or lack of one. Great... thanks, Mr Obama.

    November 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Yep, I posted my disappointment also.

      I want religion out of government, politics, schools, and churches!!!!

      November 17, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
    • Reallythough

      If you were a member of the GLBT community AND had opposing view points why on earth would you want to work at a church or some other religious inst-itution? Sorry but freedom to practice religion shouldn't have to take a backseat to that. As a christian I wouldn't go looking for work at a p)rn shop. You're reaching on this one.

      November 17, 2010 at 5:52 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      It's a reasonable assumption that there aren't any government subsidized p0rnography shops Reallythough. The main point, however, is that government money has been and now will continue to be pumped into organizations that are free to discriminate in any way they see fit. These being organizations that are supposed to serve some functions that are supposedly separate from their proselytizing purposes, there would presumably be positions that some who are not of that particular religion could still work in without interfering with their own beliefs.

      November 17, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • Reallythough

      I hear you on your point Darth Woo but it still begs the question. If you don't believe they way they do why would you insist on going to work there instead of finding a way to serve others according to what you believe? And then complain about bias ? It just doesn't make sense. I mean... reallythough.. I'm talking about common sense here.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm |
    • DarthWoo

      I think that common sense, particularly in this economic climate, would dictate that getting a job is preferable to not getting a job, or a lesser job. If that job does not entail belief in a particular deity as a crucial criteria aside from the hiring preferences of the HR at that particular job, then why not try for it? If these organizations have, as I mentioned before, a purpose outside of proselytization, then they would presumably have positions that do not require a firm belief in the organization's religious background. People with training in accounting, social services, health care, etc. would probably be highly sought after. This of course is all superfluous, as the government by its own regulations should not be providing taxpayer funding to discriminatory organizations.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:33 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      @Reallythough

      You are making assumptions without considering the duplicity available to anyone with an agenda. Scientologists infiltrated the FBI for their own purposes. You might even have one in your church. How would you be able to tell? You can't.

      November 17, 2010 at 9:33 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Really though: Given the choice of working for an LGBT-based charity to provide food for the poor, or watching your children starve or go without school books, which would you choose? If you choose taking the job, you are helping the poor and being responsible for your family. If you choose not to take the job, maybe you have the luxury of that choice because you're not as badly off money-wise as the rest of the country. But if you need a job so badly you go to that charity and they tell you they can't hire you because you're not gay, would you really think that's fair to you and your family?

      November 18, 2010 at 11:16 am |
    • maine liberal

      BUSH created this office NOT Obama

      As he promised during the campaign, President Bush launched his "faith-based" initiative on Monday by establishing a White House office to assist and encourage faith-based organizations is seeking federal funds to combat problems like drug addiction and homelessness.

      In a first executive order, Bush created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. University of Pennsylvania political science professor John Dilulio was named as the head of the new office.

      November 18, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
  15. T'sah from Virginia

    I think the same should go for Ads that QUESTION a candidate's religion also!!! THere is NO PLACE in politics for that!!!

    November 17, 2010 at 2:09 pm |
    • Steve the real one

      T'sah,
      I read your posts and poltically disagree with you BUT here, I fully agree with you. Once upon a time it was about ads that said "vote for me because xyz. Now its about my opponent is xyz. Attacking spouses, children, faith, parents are more common place and are what folks who have not much to offer engage in. Some folks watch car races for the crashes. Attack ads are the political equal! BOTH parties use it because there is an audience for it! That says where we are as a society! Bad news sells! So do attack ads!

      November 17, 2010 at 2:53 pm |
    • ajk68

      @T'sah: What is the basic foundation for public policy if not morality? Commonly accepted thinking? Hmmm...we say in the 20th century how that led to all types of evils. Correct reasoning? Yes! That's the answer. Not religion, right reason! ... Oh, wait a minute...that's precisely how St. Thomas Aquinas framed the content of morality! Which also means morality applies to everyone in the same way!

      November 17, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • KDW31

      religion and morality are not synonymous. I'm not religious but I feel I am a very moral person. I don't need a religion to tell me how to live my life. I agree that religion should be taken out of the debate. I don't care what religion someone is or how often they go to church. I want to know what decisions they have made in the past and what plans they have for the future. Whether they believe in God, Buddha, Krishna, Zeus, or nothing does not effect me in the least.

      November 17, 2010 at 9:38 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      In the late 19th century and even fairly well into the early 20th century, what faith someone was was a matter of conversation and even consideration when selecting a leader. There was conflict with the multi-generation American citizens and the upstart sons of immigrants to this land. The multi-generation types being majority protestant, the immigrants being largely Roman Catholic. During the civil war through around 1885, there were literal religious wars going on in the streets.
      The US Army was called in on two that I've read of, one where the Army literally shelled the Bowery in New York with artillery and sent in infantry with fixed bayonets and in Philadelphia, where the Army again responded to restore order, again with infantry with fixed bayonets.
      It's a shame to see our nation devolve in such a manner after such rapid progress!
      As for families, one need go no further than to recall FDR and his children, who were mentioned a few times in the news and even Harry Truman, who threatened to punch a reporter out over comments about Truman's daughter and her recital, as he had early on warned the press to leave his family alone. Something interesting for a President to have to warn the press against.
      Eisenhower was quite the break from such antics, as had any of the press turned on him, veterans would have probably burned the paper to the ground.
      Kennedy was the darling of the populace, "Camelot", the youngest President in history and a war hero...
      Then, we returned to the old school. Johnson, "Tricky Dick" Nixon, Watergate... Actually, a rather complicated time of great upheavals and distrust of the government that echos strongly even today. And a time I remember well, as I grew up during all of it, from Kennedy (I was watching TV when he was shot and remember that day, in spite of being a mere two years and a handful of days old) to the present. The Vietnam war, while I was still a toddler was of great interest, as my parents watched the TV raptly to see if my father would be recalled to the Army. Watergate, and the disgust and outrage of the populace. Ford, the clumsy. Carter, the appeaser. Reagan, the senile cowboy (I entered military service under him). The beginning of the Bush dynasty. Clinton and zippergate. Bush the dyslexic. And one thing I never believed I'd live to see, Obama, our first black president.
      And the hue and a cry over anything he does. The man can't even exhibit flatulence without thousands of complaints from those who were never in the room!
      We advanced, but regressed as well. The office of the President of the Untied States of America is no longer sacrosanct.
      Hence, the current regression.
      Where the populace and the press denigrate the President in any way imaginable. From talking about Chelsea Clinton in the most unfavorable of terms (who cares? Nobody votes for the FAMILY of the President). To people and even some in the press claiming Obama is Muslim (who cares, WHAT faith he has? I didn't vote for a church or Mosque or granny's rocking chair for the Oval Office, but the PERSON WHO RAN FOR THE OFFICE!) And even comments about first ladies, again nobody voted for her or SHOULD vote because of her, I don't care if she's Granny Clampett, she isn't the President!

      There are times I miss the days of respect for the office. Yes, people would say in private, "Can you believe what that SOB said/did?!" "Yeah, but he IS the President, we'll just have to vote differently next time". And that was the end of it.
      And of late, those times are days that end in Y...

      November 17, 2010 at 11:03 pm |
    • eggs

      boring

      November 17, 2010 at 11:05 pm |
  16. LouAz

    If I don't get everything I want, the way I want it, when I want it, you are a racist, Nazi, Republican, Democrat, TPer, terrorist, athiest, christian, muslim, anti-American. What have we done to ourselves ? Free the Daytona 500 !

    November 17, 2010 at 2:05 pm |
    • 14401

      We can move to Texas where men are men and they are classy.

      November 17, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
    • EeeTee

      Or to the land down under where women grow and men thunder...

      November 17, 2010 at 8:40 pm |
    • Yeoman Rants

      Free the Gary Seven!

      November 17, 2010 at 8:42 pm |
    • Lyrical Gangster

      Gimme the freedom that frees my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift awaaayyy.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:46 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      If I don't get everything I want, the way I want it, when I want it, whomever is blocking my wishes is loudly denounced as a poo poo caca head.
      Now, imagine the effect when a man with hair beginning to salt and pepper and a pure white beard says that.
      Never found tension in the room after... 😉

      November 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm |
    • Elezer

      Hey Bryon,I desperately wanetd to record the Election Night/War of the Worlds; but I'm computerless, these days, and have been using one at the public library. Could you possibly upload the program (in mp3) to SendSpace.com or some other host? That way I (and others) can add it to our WotW collections. I have the Orson Wells broadcast, as well as the PBS version with Steve Allen, from 10/31/88. When I get a new computer, I'll upload that for you. (BTW, I'm on the public forum since your address is on my defunct computer). Y'all come back, now.

      May 19, 2012 at 9:28 am |
    • xsnunicyrxl

      dgNg1Q rlduraeyomin

      May 20, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  17. truth

    Is Babylon the Great still committing fornication with the kings of the earth?

    November 17, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
    • Albert

      Yes, which is why the governments will destroy religion.

      November 17, 2010 at 4:45 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      I remember Babylon, it's in Iraq.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:36 pm |
  18. Phil in KC

    White House faith office? That shouldn't even exist in my opinion. If they want to proselytize while they provide their services, then they should be privately funded by whatever religious organization they support. No one receiving aid and assistance from the federal government should have to listen to a sermon to receive that aid.

    November 17, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
    • freedom from religion

      You are exactly right. It should be a criminal offense to use public money for religious groups/agencies/projects/schools etc.

      November 17, 2010 at 3:06 pm |
    • David Johnson

      Amen to that. I love Obama, but I must admit he disappoints me often now. Perhaps one term is enough.

      November 17, 2010 at 3:35 pm |
    • Igor Kazakov

      So true. The "faith office" is an absurd concept.

      November 17, 2010 at 5:22 pm |
    • NickB5

      I agree.

      November 17, 2010 at 6:09 pm |
    • Gunk

      Well put. Why are we wasting $ on this???

      November 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm |
    • Larry

      Absolutely agree. This office and function should not even exist.

      November 17, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
    • Buford

      I agree with you 100%. Most churches make you sit through their service in order to receive help. Most of they stuff they get is bought with federal dollars. What a let down Mr. President.

      November 17, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
    • 14401

      AMEN Phil in KC

      November 17, 2010 at 7:51 pm |
    • AlAZ

      I'm disappointed too. On many levels. I voted for Obama specifically to get away from this kind of stuff. There should be NO connection between religion and government – I don't care what kind of provisos you put on it. I'm waiting for the "Change" I voted for, and so far, I have seen very little.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
    • TiredofYouall

      I guess you guys have no problem with the feds supporting artists and giving them money to create anti Christian "art". That's ok right? But let's not spend a dime on something I don't like!! I hope for your sake you never have the day come where you next meal is from a soup kitchen provided by a church. I have worked in a few and it is humbling for the workers as well as the people in need. Quit being so shalllow minded and paranoid and know that some of that money goes to feeding people, clothing people and sheltering people. Very little if any go to a top heavy management team like you see in the gov/business world.

      November 17, 2010 at 8:14 pm |
    • Sum Dude

      Obama cannot simply redefine the First Amendment by Executive fiat! That office needs to be eradicated. Gov't funds for religious organizations need to be eradicated.

      I thought Obama had some Constltutional law education or something like that. Now he is violating the Constltution.

      Since I don't consider him completely clueless, I guess he is just another corrupt politician wiling to violate the Constltution he "swore a sacred oath" to defend, protect, preserve, etc.

      Not looking too good for re-election. The separation of church and state is absolutely ESSENTIAL and MUST NOT be infringed upon EVAR!

      November 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm |
    • GiveItARest

      While I agree the existence of the faith office sounds absurd given separation of church and state, the office exists b/c churches often do serve in a community welfare capacity such as providing people in need with essential items such as food, clothing, shelter, counseling, alcohol/drug meetings, and protection for abuse victims and children. If they don't get these essentials, these people are on the street with no food, medicine or help, and many do not have a home, which is required to collect a welfare check, so while I understand your frustration, the funds go to keep the streets and communities safer, and not to support your fantasy of devil worship in the basement.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:26 pm |
    • the reality is...

      No one HAS TO listen to a sermon; it's they're choice if they want to go there to get the aid in the first place.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:35 pm |
    • Mike E.

      Religion is a huge money maker already and does not need help from the government.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:47 pm |
    • Clif

      You folks are ridiculous. So because you, a minority in your view, do not hold value in faith, we, the majority, that do, should not have a role in the government processes? Just thank yourself (since that is what you view as god) that we allow you, the MINORITY, to have a voice at all.

      November 18, 2010 at 12:34 am |
    • Observer

      Our nation is run by laws, not just the current feelings of the majority.

      November 18, 2010 at 12:47 am |
    • David

      "No one receiving aid and assistance from the federal government should have to listen to a sermon to receive that aid."

      No one said they did. Sneaky strawman there.

      November 18, 2010 at 1:19 am |
    • Frogist

      @TiredofYouAll: It's separation of church and state... not art and state. And I hope you're not one of those "Christians" who become shallow or paranoid when I say that this faith funding goes to all faiths... even muslim organizations.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:53 am |
    • maine liberal

      This is NOT an Obama office

      As he promised during the campaign, President Bush launched his "faith-based" initiative on Monday by establishing a White House office to assist and encourage faith-based organizations is seeking federal funds to combat problems like drug addiction and homelessness.

      In a first executive order, Bush created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. University of Pennsylvania political science professor John Dilulio was named as the head of the new office.

      November 18, 2010 at 1:57 pm |
  19. mfhpr

    absolutely, Rebecca! well put!

    November 17, 2010 at 1:58 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    Amen to that!

    November 17, 2010 at 1:50 pm |
    • Wha?

      @Rebecca

      Amen to what? It's a big article. Could you elaborate?

      November 17, 2010 at 8:19 pm |
    • Mike

      Interesting that no response was given from faith based groups affected by this.....

      November 17, 2010 at 8:50 pm |
    • Chelsea

      Habitat for Humanity is a Christian organization that receives federal funds to help ALL in need, not just Christians. And they do not evangelize any of their clients. Do you really want to get rid of Habitat for Humanity? Especially in a time like this? They could never afford to continue the great work they do without government funding from HUD. Everyone is acting like this is crazy, but the truth is, the word FAITH scares you. Not all Christians are crazy, in your face, evangelicals. I'm sorry if you've had an experience like that which has frightened you. Move on!

      November 17, 2010 at 10:01 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Chelsea, I could not agree more. What is important is not the banishing of a faith office in the White House, but that there is no undue specific religious interference with government and no governmental interference with religion.
      Input from religious leaders can and should be welcome for what it is, a substantial group of US Citizens who have particular concerns that are best represented by their religious leaders. Communication to those same groups on matters of import, such as the universal health care plan, could and should also be sent forth that way as well. In THAT manner, we have another voice to send the message to the populace, the presidential website, the mass media (who typically play games with such things for their own agenda) and religious leaders.
      JUST as long as there is no influence by religious group(s) on government OR government attempting to legislate religious matters, it is lawful and even ethical.

      November 17, 2010 at 10:29 pm |
    • Chaiah

      While there are some faith based organizations which should NOT receive government funding, most do quite well in assisting those in need. Years ago, when we were very poor and needed assistance, I was ever so grateful to have those organizations help. I was not pleased with being preached to by someone from a well known faith based organization when they realized that my religion was not theirs. However, I had a family who needed food and a warm apartment... There are many good people out there who wish to help others and as long as they can do that – and understand that there is a separation of Church and State in our great country – kudos to them. (I do think Obama should have gone a bit further but he has lost his backbone)

      November 18, 2010 at 3:18 am |
    • Frogist

      @Chelsea: If they do not proselytize and do good in the world without expectation of conversion or spreading their gospel, they have no issues from me. As a matter of fact, we already have a number of organizations who receive federal funding because they do good without actively seeking to convert others. But those who use govt funds to preach, need to be cut off from funding by the govt. It's a very fine line. But apparently now if a religious charity doesn't want christians, or muslims, or bahai, or pagans working for them, they are free to cite that as reason for not hiring them. Do you really want your govt saying that's ok?

      November 18, 2010 at 10:46 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.