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Gary Condit Goes on Permanent Shit List


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According to yesterday's NY Times, Condit voted with the Republican conservatives IN FAVOR of the faith-based social services initiative (H.R. 7)containing the execrable provisions allowing religious charities to ignore all civil rights laws in their hiring practices and in the way they deliver services. That would include state and local civil rights laws protecting gays and lesbians. Condit was one of only a handful of Democrats who voted for this atrocity. With any luck, it'll never survive in the Senate, but if there ever were a good reason to despise Condit, he's certainly handed us one now!

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surprise! government money for many social services is already channeled through religious groups! for example, in health care religious hospitals and senior care facilities get medicare and medicade payments; section 8 housing was often through religious groups (including the salvation army); meals on wheels often comes through church/synagogue kitchens; early child programs in churches get government funds; religious institutions of higher learning get government funds; etc. i fail to understand the excitement this generates.

 

frankly, one of the big beneficiaries will be black intercity church groups. these groups can probabally do more good to help deliver services than secular government agencies that are mistrusted by the black residents. if people feel more comfortable going to a church to get a service or not getting the service because of fear/mistrust of other agencies then it is o.k. with me. the important thing is that the service help make lives better and help break the cycle of poverty in these areas.

 

i support this so long as the service being provided by a religious group is also provided by a secular group so a person has a choice to go where they feel most comfortable. i would not support funds to a religious group if it were the only source of the service.

 

for me, i detest the leadership of the black muslems with its anti-semitic, anti-gay, anti-white retoric. they plant poison in the minds of their followers. howerer, they have managed to reach a large number of young people, get them off drugs, get them into stable domestic relationships, get them into the workforce, etc. the intercities are often a better place because of the work of this group. to me, bottom line is that they do alot of good on balance. i hope that over time the leadership will change and drop alot of the views they have. i would give the black muslems government money for some social service programs simply because it is the only way to reach a segment of the population.

 

this is not an easy position for me to have reached and i am somewhat torn over it. perhaps i am just an old time liberal who sees a way for some people to be helped. if there is an irony to this it is that president bush will channel funds to black churches and the blacks will continue to vote democratic reguardless that he got them these funds; he will be strengthening these black churches who get out the black vote against republicans.

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I am fully in favor of religious organizations providing services--with money contributed voluntarily by their own supporters. As soon as government money is channeled to religious organizations, the wall between church and state which has kept churches private organizations will be breached, and they will become arms of the state, or the state will become a tool of the churches, which is not good for either side. And the first group to be discriminated against will be gays, as both providers of services and recipients of services. This is one case in which I believe maintaining the principle is more important than whether the services get delivered at all--a philosophical position which is usually taken by conservatives. (By the way, if this goes through, I will be very curious to see whether gay religious organizations like MCC, Dignity, etc., get a cut of the government funds.)

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Guest WetDream (Guest)

Believe me, there is cause for concern in Bush’s plan to channel more government funds through religious and other church-based agencies. To over-simplify a bit, government funds are dispensed in two basic ways:

 

The first is through formula grants. This pot of money is distributed based on population and is the reason why the U.S. Census (and the way it counts and who it counts) is always hotly contested. The more people that live there in certain categories, the bigger the scoop from the pot.

 

The second funding mechanism is through competitive grants administered by different governmental departments. The requests for proposals (rfps) listed in the Federal Register, outline program parameters and give criteria on which applications will be judged. A panel of “experts” reviews the applications and funds are awarded (in theory) to the organizations that best meet the requirements of the rfp and get the highest scores from the panels. The process is highly competitive. For example, it is common for a program that can make 10 grants to receive 500 applications. A difference of 2 or 3 points can determine whether or not a project is funded. While politics often raises its nasty head in making awards (i.e., a senator/congressperson lobbying the funding agency to fund a project in his/her area), the process does place an emphasis on funding programs that are innovative, make the best use of limited funds, and have proven administrative viability.

 

The money our government is willing to spend on vitally needed social programs is extremely limited. To give an advantage to an organization because it is religious is unfair. It may also result in funding programs that are less efficient in meeting the needs of people that are desperate for help. And, the bias that most religious organizations have against persons with a non-standard sexual orientation is, in itself, cause for alarm.

 

P.S. To end on a lighter note, hope you enjoy this limerick written by a friend:

 

No stained clothes belonging to Condit

Were found at the lair where he johnned it.

Recalling Ms. Tripp,

He made Chandra strip,

And whatever she shed, Condit donned it.

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As has been pointed out, there's nothing new about religious charities getting government funding. The charitable arms of many mainstream (and less-mainstream) faiths have long received funds for senior nutrition, immigrant resettlement, day care, etc. At present, such charities, with very limited exceptions, cannot discriminate in hiring and providing services. Under current law, a religious organization cannot be forced to hire a gay minister, for example, if that would violate its religious tenets. However, the religion's charitable organization can't refuse to hire a gay person or someone of another faith as it's manager, or refuse to provide services to a non-believer, because it goes against the principles of that religion.

 

The issue that's scary in this bill is the provision exempting religious charities from state and local civil rights laws that protect, among others, GLBT people. If that gets by, it's the stalking horse for similar provisions in other bills that would allow the federal government to override local anti-discrimination laws that are stronger than the federal ones. And this from the "states rights" crowd! We need to keep a very close eye on this stratagem, folks!

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>The issue that's scary in this

>bill is the provision exempting

>religious charities from state and

>local civil rights laws that

>protect, among others, GLBT people.

> If that gets by,

>it's the stalking horse for

>similar provisions in other bills

>that would allow the federal

>government to override local anti-discrimination

>laws that are stronger than

>the federal ones. And

>this from the "states rights"

>crowd! We need to

>keep a very close eye

>on this stratagem, folks!

 

I agree wholeheartedly that we need to keep a close eye on this.

 

And I'm hoping GLAAD or someone like it will challenge the constitutionality of the Fed Gov't usurping states rights. I'm no lawyer but it feels "icky" to me on that issue alone, without regard to who is affected.

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Well, don't get your hopes up that the courts would save us from this. The Supreme Court has been inconsistent in this area. They seem to support states rights when it serves the interests of big business or the right wing, but is against states rights otherwise. Witness the judicial coup d'etat that gave us His Fraudulency II as president. Florida and its court system were doing just fine trying to resolve sticky questions of Florida law, and election laws have largely been held to be a matter reserved to the states. Yet that went right out the window when it looked like the Florida Supreme Court might issue a ruling favoring Gore.

 

Condit, by the way, isn't the only guilty party in this particular legislative drama. There were some other Democrats who voted in favor of the bill, and most of the moderate Republicans who initially opposed it because of the provisions overriding state and local discrimination laws folded and went along with their extremist leadership. Check the voting records on H.R. 7, and if your Representative voted "yes" for this excrescence, let him/her know in no uncertain terms how you feel about this. Tell your Senators, too. They'll be dealing with this next. You can contact them directly via http://www.house.gov and http://www.senate.gov

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