Church and State Getting Way Too Friendly
Discrimination A-OK, says Bush & Co.
From today's Globe ("US quietly eases rules for faith-based groups"):
The Bush administration has quietly altered regulations for the nation's leading job training program to allow faith-based organizations to use ''sacred literature,'' such as Bibles, in their federally funded programs. Civil liberties activists say the new rules blur the line between religion and government.Hear, hear. And:
... In a separate action, the House is expected today to approve a change allowing private groups that run job training programs to discriminate on the basis of religion when they hire people to run them. That change, part of legislation to renew the overall program, would lift a ban that has existed in federal law for two decades... .
''The notion that you need to allow religious groups to discriminate to receive federal funds is a lie,'' said Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Newton. ''If you dip your fingers in the federal till, you can't complain if a little democracy rubs off on you.''
In guidelines published on April 4, the Labor Department said the job training grants ''may not be used for instruction in religion or sacred literature, worship, prayer, proselytizing, or other inherently religious practices.''What a coincidence.
''The services provided under these grants must be secular and nonideological,'' the guidelines said then.
But in amended guidelines published in the Federal Register on April 18, the words ''sacred literature'' were removed, along with the sentence saying that the services provided must be secular and nonideological.
A Labor Department spokeswoman said there was no one available to explain why the language was changed.
Did Army chaplain Josh Llano trade baths for baptisms? (looks like: probably not)
This story is a month old, but still quite disturbing--if it's actually true. I first got wind of the below Miami Herald story in the InTheseTimes Appall-o-Meter ("Army chaplain offers baptisms, baths"):
CAMP BUSHMASTER, Iraq - In this dry desert world near Najaf, where the Army V Corps combat support system sprawls across miles of scabrous dust, there's an oasis of sorts: a 500-gallon pool of pristine, cool water.Update: according to a more recent article, Llano doesn't recall making these comments, and/or was joking. I've also heard that the reporter didn't actually interview Llano at all, but reported an overheard conversation as an interview, and that the water in question was a baptismal pool, not a general-purpose water supply tank. If I get a chance despite feeling sick right now, I'll try and see if this was resolved.
It belongs to Army chaplain Josh Llano of Houston, who sees the water shortage, which has kept thousands of filthy soldiers from bathing for weeks, as an opportunity.
''It's simple. They want water. I have it, as long as they agree to get baptized,'' he said.