Printed in the Indianapolis Star, July 17, 2001
To the Editor:
The recent controversy over whether the Salvation Army should be forced to hire homosexuals if they accept tax dollars from President Bush's proposed faith-based charity plan should give conservatives pause when supporting this proposal.
On the surface, the President's plan looks like a good idea. Government contracting with faith-based groups to provide more efficient help to America's poor is an attractive concept. But the potential for government micro-management of private charities' affairs is too much of a risk to take. Principled public servants like U.S. Representative John Hostettler have expressed concern over this problem, as did Andrea Neal in a July 12 column.
Conservatives should also consider the political ramifications of the proposal. What happens when a fiscally conservative Republican decides we need to cut spending on this program? Will conservative Christians have to choose between voting Democratic to keep the money coming or voting Republican on social issues? It is not wise for the GOP to potentially give their base a reason to vote for the other party.
I applaud President Bush for thinking outside the box with this plan and offering an innovative approach to aiding the poor, but this is not something conservatives should support.