Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Lining up pastors for discrimination

The Bush Administration wants African American support for its 'faith-based initiative' -- especially the part that allows recipients of government funds to pick and choose who they hire with the money -- and who they hate so much they won't hire them. Current law forbids religious charities from receiving federal funding if they engage in discrimination.

The Bush folks were not quite so crass as to put it that way to a group of Black pastors invited to meet Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. (Most Secretaries of State don't serve as Congressional liaisons, but perhaps this involves some special consideration. . .?)

Rev. Timothy McDonald, chair of the Washington-based African American Ministers in Action and minister at First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, said the administration had been dishonest about the real reason for the meeting with Rice, and the fine print of the letter. "What angers me is the whole way they called the meeting talking about Africa and HIV and then they just sprung the letter on them," McDonald said. "The way it's being promoted is that you'll be able to get more money for your church to help with their programs, but they're not being told that they're signing something that condones discrimination."

"That's why they're keeping it so private, because they know once it goes public they won't be able to use them," he asserted. A similar thing happened, he said, when the Bush administration sought black support for government vouchers that could pay for religious education.

Not nice. The subtext, as in so much of contemporary political struggle, is whether gays, of whatever race, will get equal treatment. It is a lot more likely that Catholic Social Services will use a law like this to fire a lesbian social worker than that they'll refuse to hire a Moslem to deal with their Pakistani immigrant clients. Let's hope people supportive of equal justice can band together to stop this.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails