Worship, and Live, Together

October 20, 2006

Author: Ellen Goodman

Source: Cincinnati Post, The


It was barely a week past the 2001 inauguration when the new president's plan to fund the "armies of compassion" was reported on the evening news with more than a touch of skepticism. The story of a White House office for faith-based initiatives was illustrated with a large cross and introduced with a question: "Is there a reason to be nervous?"

This broadcast followed an election in which the three R's - religious, right, and Republican - had been tightly woven. The minister at the inauguration had invoked Jesus Christ the savior, and millions of Americans from Sikhs to Unitarians had to choose between saying amen and feeling excluded.

Nevertheless, I thought there was more reason to be hopeful than nervous about the idea of funding more social programs for the poor under spiritual roofs.

Before long it became clear that the faith-based initiatives were based on only one kind of faith. And it became clear that the faithful was political.