Obama Halts Sermons during Soup Kitchen Meals
Friday, November 26, 2010
Faith-based organizations that accept federal funding cannot proselytize while providing social programs to the needy, under a new executive order signed by President Barack Obama. The order changes the original initiative, adopted by President George W. Bush in December 2002, which allowed faith-based social programs to receive tax dollars.
President Obama’s decree prevents soup kitchens run by churches from conducting sermons while feeding people, for example. The White House expects federal officials to monitor publicly-funded faith-based groups to ensure they comply with the new order.
Americans United for the Separation of Church and State welcomed Obama’s decision, but also was disappointed that it did not go further. Specifically, they were unhappy that the program will still allow churches to accept federal dollars and allow religious organizations to display religious art, icons, scriptures and other symbols while taking in government support.
The order also did not address the issue of faith-based hiring at religious institutions that accept federal funds.
No More Sermons at the Soup Kitchen (by Travis Sanford, Courthouse News Service)
Obama Makes Changes to Faith-Based Partnerships (Associated Press)
Executive Order 13559 (White House)
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