“Gateway Pundit” fails to grasp First Amendment basics

In a post melodramatically entitled “WAR ON GOD,” The Gateway Pundit wails:

A Christian ministry has been ordered by the Feds to remove all of their religious symbols if they want any federal assistance feeding the poor.

Yup, to absolutely no one’s surprise, another “faith-based initiative” got caught proselytizing poor people at taxpayer expense, and were told to stop. Scientologists aren’t allowed to use government food programs to lure people in to Scientology sessions, Muslims aren’t allowed to use them to bring people in to hear about Mohammed and the Qur’an, and Christianity is likewise constrained from turning government aid programs into taxpayer-funded evangelistic ministries, even “passively.”

And equally unsurprising, the perpetrators and their supporters are completely stunned and outraged at this blatant compliance with the requirements of the First Amendment.

Daly and her staff sat in stunned disbelief as the government agents also informed them that the Christian Service Center could no longer pray or provide Bibles to those in need. The government contract also forbade any references to the ministry’s chapel.

This is precisely why faith-based initiatives are a bad idea. When Christians are invited to participate in the delivery of government aid, they naturally assume that they are being given permission to turn a secular government program into an evangelistic ministry, taking advantage of both the needs of the poor and the generosity of the state to create a captive audience who knows that their food supply is in the hands of people who want to see some evidence that their ministry is saving souls. That’s flat out wrong, and even Christians ought to oppose it. Why would you want to fill your church with fake believers who are only pretending to love Jesus so they can get the basic nutrition the government set aside for them?

To The Gateway Pundit, though, if you keep secular programs secular, that means you’re attempting to assassinate God Himself.

It’s more important for progressives to kill God than it is for them to feed the hungry. They’re like the Taliban of Socialism.

Did you catch that? God is going to die unless human effort, in the form of state-funded ministries, keeps Him alive. God is the result of human effort, you see. Oh wait, you mean you didn’t want to admit that?

Government food aid is a secular program. Those who deliver this aid need to do so in a secular manner, because the government is forbidden from establishing religion, even through “faith-based initiatives.” You want to volunteer to participate in a secular program? Fine, do so. But do it in a secular way, as per the constraints the Constitution requires.

Meanwhile, the church itself is still allowed to pray, to provide Bibles, to worship, and to do all the other things a Christian ministry does. The Gateway Pundit’s hysteria notwithstanding, the government is making no effort to “kill God” or ban prayer or censor the Bible within the proper sphere of the ministry itself. The only requirement for secularism is within the secular food aid program. It’s a voluntary initiative, so no coercion or repression is involved. If you don’t want to provide a secular service, don’t sign up to provide it. Simple as that.


  1. kantalope says

    “It’s more important for progressives to kill God than it is for them to feed the hungry.”

    Must be an editing error by poor pundit, meant to say “It’s more important for the church to evangelize than it is for them to feed the hungry.” Easy error to make, so I can totally see how it happened.

  2. Joey Maloney Who Is Unable To Login For Some Obscure Reason says

    “Gateway Pundit” fails <striketo grasp First Amendment basics

    Unnecessary text removed.

  3. mikespeir says

    It grates them no end that government is preeminent in this country and that religion operates only as government allows.

  4. eoleen says

    “Why would you want to fill your church with fake believers who are only pretending to love Jesus so they can get the basic nutrition the government set aside for them?”

    They used to be called “Rice Christians” in pre-WW-II China. The missionaries would hold a service for the starving, and THEN feed them…

  5. Artor says

    This is, of course, a feature, not a bug. Why else was the “Faith-Based Initiative” established, if not to erode the boundary between church & state? This was an entirely foreseeable outcome, and it will continue to happen so long as the program is followed. I think we should assume that churches will proselytize, and if any are going to receive gov’t money, they should be required to show what steps they will be taking to remove their message from their charity branch.

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