Learn more about the Obama Administration’s take on faith-based funding. Read the full article at the link below the quote.
While acknowledging that he wasn’t certain why the Obama Administration would choose to open the faith-based office at this time, Rob Boston, Director of Communications for Americans United, told me in an email that he had “two concerns” about the new faith-based office: “One is that while the United State operates under the separation of church and state, this policy is often not well understood by leaders, scholars and activists in other nations.
“The State Department often asks me to host delegations from predominantly Muslim countries and explain our system of religious freedom. I’m happy to do this and have learned a lot from these exchanges. One thing I’ve noticed is that many Muslims assume that even though America has a policy of church-state separation, our default position must still be Christianity. When they hear that most Americans are Christians, they conclude that the government must then want to further Christianity – and they don’t always know about the scope of Christian thought in America.
“This means the State Department will have to extra careful not to create the impression that this office is interested in evangelism or perpetuating a Christian order. Secretary Kerry’s decision to include a reading from the Book of Mark during the announcement means we’re off to a shaky start.”
Boston also noted that “an office like this needs to stop viewing the global faith experience through the lens of the three Abrahamic religions. The third-largest ‘religion’ in the world is ‘no preference.’ This is too large a slice of the world’s population to ignore. Yet what does a ‘faith-based’ initiative offer these people? The domestic version of the faith-based initiative was predicated on the assumption that religion can solve a range of social ills, if only it gets a little government help. In fact, religion is an inherently divisive force for many people, and government’s attempts to harness it as a force for the public good raise a host of sticky questions. These are real difficulties that can’t be papered over. It would be a shame to project them onto the international stage.”