As I have been chronicling, a powerful and dangerous new force is surfacing in American politics…the merging of the Christian Right and the Collectivist Left based upon common moral underpinnings. Further evidence is provided by Obama’s announcement made on Thursday, February 5, 2009. According to an AP article (Obama creates faith-based office with wide mission):
President Barack Obama on Thursday established a White House office of faith-based initiatives with a broader mission than the one overseen by his Republican predecessor. Obama said the new office, which he created by executive order, would reach out to organizations that provide help "no matter their religious or political beliefs."
To lead the office, Obama appointed Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal minister who headed religious outreach for Obama's Senate office and his presidential campaign. He also named 25 religious and secular leaders to a new advisory board.
Tellingly, the Obama Administration felt the necessity to make it a point to declare its support for the separation of church and state:
[Said DuBois], "We're also going to make sure we have a keener eye toward the separation of church and state."
A “keener eye”…than George W. Bush? This is not exactly a ringing defense of a key American bulwark against tyranny. Established advocates of the “wall”, including traditional leftist groups, weren’t buying:
Groups that were critical of the Bush faith-based office — including the American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and People For the American Way — issued statements Thursday expressing disappointment in the Obama version.
The ACLU also charged that the new advisory council amounted to "a president giving his favored clergy a governmental stamp of approval."
The ACLU issued the strongest statement, touching on the core issue…the state establishment of religion. But the response of these three groups was tepid at best, at least based upon what was reported in this article. Perhaps they feel disarmed in having one of their own turn against what has traditionally been a solid cornerstone of Leftist ideology.
Despite repeated assurances, this new office…which builds upon policies started by Bush II…signals the weakening of the Left as a bulwark against the breakdown of the crucial American principle of church-state separation. Obama, a former constitutional law professor, knows full well that this new office is utterly incompatible with the doctrine of separation of church and state. The funneling of tax money to religious organizations, as well as the inevitable governmental religious favoritism alluded to by the ACLU, is unequivocally un-American.
Some on the Left may be bewildered by this development. But viewed from the perspective of philosophy, this makes perfect sense. President Obama, as I argued on 4/28/08 and 1/9/09, is attempting to build a political alliance with the Christian Right. He obviously understands the power of ideas.
It’s too early to tell how successful Obama’s strategy will be. But I suspect that we are witnessing a major re-alignment in American politics that has yet to be recognized by most people, and which can have very far-reaching ramifications for America’s future and its founding principles.