Freedom of Religion Issues in Government

Source: The Boston Globe

On June 27, 1999, The Boston Globe published an article
on the stances being taken by presidential contenders on the issue of
religion in politics. Both George W. Bush and Al Gore are in favor of
giving federal moneys to faith-based organizations to administer
government services, like drug treatment, combating homelessness, and
youth-violence prevention programs. Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew
Research Center for the People & the Press, stated: “Our polling
suggests people are much more comfortable mixing religion and
politics than they were in the ’60s, when the separation of church
and state was more in keeping with public opinion than it is today.”
US Representative Barney Frank is more cautious about allowing
faith-based organizations to have federal moneys: “Churches are now
saying, ‘It is precisely because we inculcate religion and make them
better people that you should give us [taxpayer] money’…My
answer to that is, you have a right to do that, but you don’t have a
right to have the government pay you to do that.” Rabbi David
Saperstien, director and counsel for the Religious Action Center of
Reform Judaism, also sees a danger in giving faith organizations
federal moneys: “Churches and synagogues and mosques will begin to
compete for limited funding available, and government will have to
choose which groups it thinks can do a better job…This will have an
enormous divisive impact on the religious communities of America.”


Freedom of Religion Issues in Government

Source: The Christian Science Monitor

On June 22, 1999, The Christian Science Monitor
published an article on the current decisions made by the House of
Representatives and the Supreme Court on issues dealing with the
separation of church and state. The House of Representatives voted by
a margin of 248 to 180 to approve a bill that would allow states to
display the Ten Commandments in public schools. The Supreme Court
decided a case that allows parents in Milwaukee to use publicly
funded education vouchers to send their children to parochial
schools.