May 9, 2006

Homeland Security's Faith-Based Office

Executive Order: Responsibilities of the Department of Homeland Security with Respect to Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Back in March of this year, George W. Bush issued an executive order in which the role of Homeland Security with regard to “faith-based community initiatives” was outlined. What? You see, this order was intended “…to help the Federal Government coordinate a national effort to expand opportunities for faith-based and other community organizations…”

For some strange reason, I am reminded of another important quote: “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.” Ring a bell anyone? Since it sounds like W’s intent is for the federal government to “expand opportunities for faith-based and other community organizations,” I am curious how this can be Constitutional. Is the fact that this is an executive order somehow create a loophole? Perhaps the framers of the Constitution didn’t intend for the executive branch to make laws.

Is there something obvious I’m missing here? Is there any possible way to understand this as anything but the government making a new law supporting religion?

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