Below is the full text of the Council on Secular Humanism's response to Obama's recent address on faith:
July 01, 2008
Senator Obama’s Concession to Faith-Based programs unfortunate, says Council for Secular Humanism
The Council for Secular Humanism regrets that Senator Barack Obama has seen fit to affirm a willingness to extend the unconstitutional faith-based diversion of tax dollars to religious institutions as begun by President Bush. “This is basically religious pandering,” said Ronald A. Lindsay, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism.
In a speech delivered today in Zanesville, Ohio, the Democratic candidate for president proposed that federal money diverted directly to churches, mosques and synagogues would promote a “bottom-up” approach to serving the nation’s underprivileged, regardless of the fact that the money taxed from the public is meant for secular purposes. And although he stressed that the money can only be used for secular programs, the result will be the same, as regular contributions not used for these programs are freed to proselytize, make building improvements and grow the faith community—a clear favoritism of believers over nonbelievers.
“We find it regrettable that the current climate in the United States requires candidates, who obviously should know better, to promise grave compromises of the wall of separation between religion and government in order to even stand a chance of being elected to high office,” continued Lindsay
The Council is disappointed that Obama’s plan appears to allow federal funds to flow directly to houses of worship. "Not only does this impermissibly entangle religion and government, Obama's plan threatens the autonomy of religious bodies by allowing government intrusion directly into the activities of the house of worship," said Lindsay. "The audits, compliance reviews, and reporting requirements that the government will have to perform to account for the funds will threaten the autonomy and integrity of the house of worship."