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Critics of faith-based initiatives must not have faith

I read with interest and dismay the article in the Post Independent (Aug. 20) concerning faith-based initiatives. The Rev. Dr. John Swomley should actually read the First Amendment to the Constitution before he decimates its intent. It reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Now I see where it says that religion is to be protected from government, but I don’t see where it says government can’t aid religion.A king-church that dictated every religious act persecuted our forefathers; they wanted to make sure that same persecution couldn’t happen in the new republic. This country is noted worldwide for its compassionate aid to the downtrodden. Many relief agencies are faith-based; why are we trashing their work in the name of partisan politics? When Dr. Swomley says that faith-based support is against the Constitution, he does not tell the truth. Read the whole Constitution; there is a wealth of support for Christian principles. Our churches were once the primary means of helping people rise from troubles, but somewhere along the secular trail we were forced to submit to social government remedies because government could raise taxes and the churches could not raise tithes. It is a double-edge sword; we are forced to support the government social programs and less able, because of that, to support our churches.The Rev. James Warn correctly states that churches know the needs of the community better than the federal government. I know of no undue pressure on any church to campaign for a political party. No specific examples of lobbying for a candidate are cited in the text and I find the argument to smell of political envy, or leftist whining. Criticizers of faith-based initiatives must not have faith.I suggest we taxpaying faithful demand our fair share of the social taxes raised for our benefit. We should demand a waiver or refund of our taxes if we choose to alternatively educate our children, care for drug addicts, care for the homeless, or run a soup kitchen. Where does our responsibility to the less fortunate lie? We are all taxpayers, faith-based or not.Steve Damm is a West Glenwood resident and lifelong Western Slope resident.


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