[Buddha-l] Faith-based initiatives - phase 2

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 25 01:06:27 MDT 2008

While we sometimes hear calls for a more politically engaged Buddhism, and
this list has its fair share of political positioning, here is the next
phase unleashed by the Bush-Cheney Faith-based initiatives. In the US,
Churches, etc., can currently receive federal tax dollars for a range of
programs and activities while remaining tax-free organizations, based on
being religious organizations. Receiving such funds is a relatively recent
development, challenged at the time as a violation of the separation of
Church and State mandated by the First Amendment of the US Constitution.
Treating religious organizations such as churches as tax-free institutions
has a much longer history. The current thrust by the right-wing churches is
to further obscure such distinctions. Now the right-wing church
beneficiaries want to destroy what's left of the wall separating church and
state, and do so while retaining their tax-free status. These sorts of
"grass roots" plans, which are well organized and strategically astute, have
in the past proven very persistent and effective, so this is not to be taken
as an insignificant backpage item, but one we will be wrestling with for
some time to come.


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