Little Faith-based

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Over at CT Politics, Douglas Koopman is unhappy with the Obama administration’s faith-based initiative so far. A political science prof at Calvin College, Koopman is one of those center-right evangelical types who was disappointed at the politicizing of the Bush effort but nevertheless remains an enthusiast of the approach. His is not the clearest exposition ever committed to writing, but the bottom line is that he thinks DuBois and company have been distracted by extraneous responsibilities like whomping up the OFANP advisory council and finding the Obamas a new church (how’s that going?). And then there’s that annoying hiring issue.

Koopman thinks the Obamaites underestimated Democratic opposition to following the Bush rules on permitting religious groups to limit government-funded hiring to their own kind–and expects that the new lawyer-run approach will chip away at what he calls their “rights to use religious criteria in hiring decisions.” I’m inclined to agree. What’s missing from his discussion–and from most of its ilk–is the acknowledgement that while no one objects to religious bodies hiring their own kind for their own purposes with their own money, many have a real problem with letting them do so for public purposes with public money.