At this past week’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama announced that he will be establishing a White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Obama is maintaining that this does not breach the separation of church and state, but I seriously wonder. He said this of the new office:
“The goal of this office will not be to favor one religious group over another – or even religious groups over secular groups. It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line that our founders wisely drew between church and state.”
That very well may be the goal of this office, but if the President is intent on not “blurring the line” between church and state, then why maintain in the name “Faith-Based”? Why not have it be the Office of Neighborhood Partnerships or something like that and simply include “faith-based” organizations along with non-religious organizations?
The President’s words are great to hear, but they need to be backed up by more action, in my opinion.
In other news … well, its really related, but I needed to show some separation, at that same breakfast President Obama spoke about the “Golden Rule”:
“Jesus told us to ‘love thy neighbor as thyself.’ The Torah commands, ‘That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.’ In Islam, there is a hadith that reads ‘None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.’ And the same is true for Buddhists and Hindus; for followers of Confucius and for humanists. It is, of course, the Golden Rule – the call to love one another; to understand one another; to treat with dignity and respect those with whom we share a brief moment on this Earth.”
These are great words, to be sure, but I’m pretty sure that Torah “quote” is from the Talmud, not the Torah.
NOTE: I forgot to cite my quotes. Sorry. They came from this Reuters article.