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Obama Courts Evangelicals By Backing Faith Based Initiatives Program

I'm not sure how exactly to process this news... According to the AP, this is not so much courting possible Republicans switch voters but re-affirmi

I'm not sure how exactly to process this news... According to the AP, this is not so much courting possible Republicans switch voters but re-affirming his long standing position after being painted as being far left over the primaries:

Speaking with reporters, Obama disputed that he is altering views.

"I get tagged as being on the left and, when I simply describe what has been my position consistently, then suddenly people act surprised," he said. "But there hasn't been substantial shifts there."

While Obama would expand Bush's efforts to give religious charities more equal footing when getting federal funding, he also would tweak what he would call the President's Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in ways that divert from Bush's approach.

As you recall, Bush's head of the Faith Based office, David Kuo, derided the office for being over-politicized. So what kinds of tweaking would Obama do? BeliefNet thinks that it's ultimately positive for Barack, after the media scandals of Rev. Wright, to show his commitment to his faith. Obama's campaign has sent out a fact sheet that does make the following promises:

Obama's initiative will be governed by a set of core principles for federal grant recipients. In order to receive federal funds to provide social services, faith-based organizations:

* Cannot use federal funds to proselytize or provide religious sectarian instruction.
* Cannot discriminate against nonmembers in providing services. They must remain open to all and cannot practice religious discrimination against the populations they serve.
* Must comply with federal anti-discrimination laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Religious organizations that receive federal dollars cannot discriminate with respect to hiring for government-funded social service programs.
* Can only use taxpayer dollars on secular programs and initiatives.
* Must prove their efficacy and be judged based on program effectiveness. They will be expected to demonstrate proven program outcomes to continue to receive funding. Obama will fund programs that work and end funding for programs that do not - whether they are large or small, well-established or new, faith-based or otherwise.

In addition, Obama has been reaching out to evangelicals in other ways as well. Pastor Dan has more...

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