July 1st, 2008
10:08 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama lays out plan for faith-based groups

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/01/art.obama.wv.ap.jpg caption="Obama is courting evangelical voters."]

(CNN) - One day after defending his patriotism, Sen. Barack Obama is focusing on faith and religion in Zanesville, Ohio.

According to Obama's campaign, the senator from Illinois will lay out his plan to expand Bush's faith-based programs and establish a new "Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships."

The council will strengthen nonprofit religious and community groups by providing funding and making it easier to "access the information and support they need to run that program," according to prepared remarks released by his campaign.

The reason some groups are under-funded, Obama will say, is often because they do not know how to apply for federal dollars.

We rely too much on conferences in Washington, instead of getting technical assistance to the people who need it on the ground. What this means is that what’s stopping many faith-based groups from helping struggling families is simply a lack of knowledge about how the system works, he will say.

Obama will say that such programs have the ability to help children learn and keep them off the streets and away from crime.

"I'm not saying that faith-based groups are an alternative to government or secular nonprofits. And I'm not saying that they're somehow better at lifting people up. What I'm saying is that we all have to work together - Christian and Jew, Hindu and Muslim; believer and non-believer alike - to meet the challenges of the 21st century," Obama will say, according to the remarks.

He will praise faith-based efforts and proposals by former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Al Gore and President Bush, but say the current administration’s plan never fulfilled its promise.

Support for social services to the poor and the needy have been consistently underfunded, he will say. Rather than promoting the cause of all faith-based organizations, former officials in the Office have described how it was used to promote partisan interests. As a result, the smaller congregations and community groups that were supposed to be empowered ended up getting short-changed.

The relationship between the White House and grassroots groups "has to be a real partnership - not a photo-op."

Under Obama's proposal, groups accepting federal grant money cannot use the funds "to proselytize to the people you help," and employees cannot be hired or fired on the basis of religion.

Additionally, federal dollars going to places of worship can only be used on secular programs.

"And we'll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work," Obama will say, according to the prepared remarks.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. R.I.F.

    These so called Hillary, anti-Obama groups are 1000 times worse than any of the GOP groups which is really sad. Obama didn't do anything to Hillary but beat her fair and square and now all of you 3 year olds are all upset. You should be pointing all of your fire at McCain considering the fact that his polices are directly opposite of Hillary's. Larry King had a women on last week from one of these groups and Larry himself seemed to think it is the stupidest thing ever. The feminist are really setting back the movement because they are giving people ammo to think that women get too emotional therfore would make it hard for them to lead. I don't think that way but the way you guys are whinning and crying and not using your heads is ridiclous.

    July 1, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. James, SC

    Clinton Supporter,

    Wow, you really are working hard at being stupid.

    Way to go Senator Obama!!

    July 1, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  3. Eric-PA

    No! One of the reasons I couldn't wait to elect a Democrat was so that we could ELIMINATE Bush's controversial faith-based initiatives. Now Obama wants to EXPAND them?? We should be using government money not for religion but to perform better inspections of our food supply!

    July 1, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  4. Mark

    I don't understand people who hate Obama. Why are they so obsessed with him if they hate him so much? I'm no fan of Mccain yet I don't go around saying how much I hate him or how much I am against his policies. He is simply not the ideal candidate for me at this time and that is it. I don't post pathetic little comments on every Mccain blog/site. I don't go nuts on how he is SO wrong for this country at this time. I am supporting Obama because I am a Democrat, and because I feel as though the last 8 years have been a disaster. I certainly can't imagine voting for a Republican, or vote out of spite.

    July 1, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  5. literacy is for loosers

    Clinton Supporter July 1st, 2008 12:04 pm ET
    "To Literacy is for Loosers:

    I do think I could muster a lot more anger next time. Actually, this time I thought it was kind of funny. But I will try to be angrier in the future.

    Thanks for the tip!"

    … … uh huh. No problem. The fact that you want to laugh, scorn, and hate is just weak. You think it's making a point and making you look tough or mature, but frankly, it makes you either look like a disgruntled adolescent or a terr'rist.

    You're only making yourself look bad, you know. So you actually think there is common sense to what you're saying right now? Typical hate-baiting with no grounding in rationality. C'mon, hit me with another one! I can't wait to read it. I yearn for your words.

    July 1, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Education and discipline are required not faith brainwashing. What a load of garbage this idea is.

    July 1, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. Clinton Suppoter Get A Clue...

    Clinton Supporter... Did you graduate from High School? Your hate for Obama is so deep that you cant even comprehend what you wrote. Please Clinton Supporter get a clue before its to late.

    July 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  8. Nick

    I am ok with funding faith based groups for secular activity but as soon as one of the groups uses my tax dollars to send a missionary to my door to tell me I'm going to hell for not reading their stupid book I will probably freak out.

    July 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  9. L

    Obama will say and do anything to get elected.

    what about the religion you learnt at Trinity for 20 years. Rev wright got the crowds going by telling them racists political comments. Awesome background for a presidential candidate

    July 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Danny, Independent from AZ

    I love it. Addressing different interest groups every day, and most of the time, not taking jabs at McCain's campaign. A truly respectable candidate. I cannot wait until November to vote for him.

    July 1, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  11. JoeMamma

    Community service is great, but can't we leave "faith" out of it? There are lots of folks who need help and not a sermon. I'm a strong believer in charity, but adding "faith" muddies the water. I don't especially like the idea of mixing government and spirituality. How do you decide which faith gets what money? I don't like it.

    Republican for anybody but McLieberCain '08

    July 1, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  12. McSameMcCain on myspace

    And what is McCain's faith? War and rumors of war? I don't care what anyone says, McCain is betting this election on the Iraq war AND the Iran war that Bush is trying to start before he leaves office.

    Bush needs to be stopped now and McCain knows it.

    No more lies, no more unjustified wars.

    Obama 08

    July 1, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. sue calgary

    To the Clinton Supporter:
    If you actually take the time to read his remarks thoughtfully, chances are you may actually get what Obama is saying.
    Blinders off PLEASE.......................!!!!

    July 1, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  14. L

    The reason why i post here is because all i see are EXTREMELY hateful and horrible words said about John McCain. You Obama supporters think your the only ones allowed to say what you want. I dont agree with Obama, and never listen to his speeches, because i think he's full of it. He is being groomed by the most left wing liberals (john Soros) and has been from the time he ran for senate. I think its very dangerous to trust a man like Obama at this point in time.

    You also have to realise that even though there is so much hype about Obama, a lot just dont trust him and wont vote for him. Not everybody is so excited about McCain but he is trustworthy.

    July 1, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |

    You're right Obama. It truly takes a village to support indivduals in a community. You have the right thing.

    When I hear all of the negative things some of the Hillary Supports or so-called Hillary Supporters are doing and saying it really saddens me.

    Obama keep it positive and Hillary thank you for knowing to keep your eye on the prize by supporting Obama against the Republicans. It is what a "true" democrat does!

    July 1, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  16. Silence Dogood

    I have never heard someone move their mouth so much and not take a stand on anything, except to say when his policy gets here it will sure be different. He seems like a bright fellow – I wonder what he is thinking.

    Mark Twain said:
    There is nothing in the world like a persuasive speech to fuddle the mental apparatus and upset the convictions and debauch the emotions of an audience not practiced in the tricks and delusions of oratory.

    July 1, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  17. William, from Cali!

    More governmental ways, to "Give away" taxpayers' money; at a "larger" scale. More "Pander" to some faith based groups; of which, many do little or nothing, for its people.Bigger government spending! Is this change; or more of the same?

    July 1, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  18. webster208

    This is what you get for listening To Rev. Wright unquestoningly for 20 years.

    July 1, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  19. Christian Vreeland, Traverse City Mi

    Clinton Supporter, why don't you try sentence #3

    As far as the idea, it works well on the small scale we have right now, why not give it a shot at the big time?

    July 1, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  20. Rachel

    Yeah fine just done use my tax dollars to further any religous agenda, Its bad enough I get taxed and that money goes to vochers for people to send their children to private schools instead of cleaning up the public schools.

    July 1, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  21. Yam

    The truth of the matter is this, our country is currently being ran by a dictator, period...this man orchestrated all the events that happened to this country during his presidency for a common goal. Get educated folks...don't let fear tactics keep you ignorant.

    July 1, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  22. DD, New York

    Not impressed, as is un-original. Does this guy every have his own unique thought in his head? Moderators, please....when it is time for presidential debates between McCain and Obama....please MAKE Obama go first. As a registered Democrat, my heart is absolutely not in it for voting for him. Sorry, fellow Dems, but I just can't.

    July 1, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. saga for Obama

    "I'm not saying that faith-based groups are an alternative to government or secular nonprofits. And I'm not saying that they're somehow better at lifting people up. What I'm saying is that we all have to work together — Christian and Jew, Hindu and Muslim; believer and non-believer alike — to meet the challenges of the 21st century,"

    True...we are going to have to work together as a nation what ever faith or ideology, financial position or ethnic background to fix the mess we are in.
    we are only as strong as our weakest link

    Obama 08

    July 1, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. from the slums of obama's 13th district in chicago

    huh what is he going to call on the advise of like of pastors like Pfleger and Wright when expanding these faith-based programs? lol

    July 1, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  25. Giovanni

    McCain'08 Clinton'12

    Lets not fund faith based groups, thank you very much, or at least don't give them tax payer dollars

    July 1, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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