Paying the piper

He who pays the piper calls the tune. This is reason enough to feel uneasy about the Bush administration’s program to transfer public funds into religious programs. No strings attached? Of course there are. Whether money comes from Dad, government or foundations, one thing is certain: there are always strings attached.

Faith-based experiment

Let a thousand lawsuits bloom. That’s pretty much what John DiIulio Jr. said after being selected to head President Bush’s new Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. DiIulio cheerfully acknowledged that the government’s plan to encourage partnerships with religious groups raises First Amendment questions. When does government funding of faith-based organizations constitute an illegal “establishment” of religion? Can government be impartial in giving grants to religiously affiliated groups? At what point do government guidelines restrict the “free exercise” of religion?