I'm very happy that Obama won this election. I like the fact that he is telling us that we all have a part to play in the way things go in this country. I like that he can refer to himself as "...a mutt like me." I like that he seems to be calling for more personal integrity from everyone. In fact, there is much I like about him and the potential for our country that I think can come out of his administration.
I have a couple of reservations.
They're related, actually.
President elect Obama does not support gay marriage. I read that as bigotry, no different from the bigotry of race or religion.
And President elect Obama does support faith-based initiatives. I read that as an mixing of church & state that was specifically prohibited by our constitution.
(if you need to read more sources, there are many; just do a search.)
Now, in the same interview I cited on gay marriage (above) Obama does say that he would like to guarantee the same legal rights to the LGBT community by way of civil unions. Hmmm... sounds like "separate but equal", to me. It feels like it, too. It would give me legal rights that I do not have now. AND it does allow a separation of church & state on the federal level, while allowing states to keep it all mixed up.
One of the (several) problems I see with government embracing faith-based initiatives is that the it may be very difficult for faith-based groups other than the Christian Right to receive equal treatment. It seems to me that religion (read Christian Right) is involving itself more & more in affairs of government now, and I fear that it will only get worse. We are a nation of many religions and a very large group of those who choose none. We stand to loose balance & perspective if we allow 'faith-based' groups access to government and our tax dollars, especially if those same groups remain non-taxable.
There is currently a great deal of discussion already, and at least one petition circulating about the tremendous amount of church money that was spent to influence elections in this country. In a cause dear to my heart is the controversy around the LDS churches as they relate to Prop 8 in California.
Here are a few excerpts from the linked articles:
"What is different is the Alliance Defense Fund's direct challenge to the rules that govern tax-exempt organizations. Rather than wait for the IRS to investigate an alleged violation, the organization intends to create dozens of violations and take the U.S. government to court on First Amendment grounds."
"Church-state watchdogs say that both parties are aggressively reaching out to religious voters and that many not-for-profit groups across the political spectrum continue to engage in questionably partisan practices"
Here is a link to a blogger I read fairly regularly who is also concerned about this issue. She has posted an article from the Council on Secular Humanism.
I hope you'll read it, and other articles linked herein, and just think about it. This issue is a bit scary to me, even while I practice my own personal belief that all is as it should be. Thanks for listening. :)