As of yesterday, Barack Obama backs Faith-Based Initiatives.
For the uninitiated, Faith-Based Initiatives are social-service programs run by religious organizations but funded by Uncle Sugar. The approach was invented by Chimpy W. Hitliar himself, so for the left, they have represented the sinister destruction of the massive wall that keeps the barbarian Christian hordes from overrunning the blissfully secular, constitutional state.
For thoughtful Christians, FBIs have been a quandary. We like to talk about the higher rate of success of our own efforts to help the addicted and the poor versus government programs. But we like our programs to be . . . well . . . Christian, and Washington's money comes with strings attached, like no "religious discrimination" in the hiring of employees or selection of clients.
What's notable about Obama's move is that even the blandest reporting of his announcement is accompanied by the analysis that with this move, part of Obama's faith-and-values week, the Coolest Candidate is overtly courting evangelicals.
We think that this move will be only marginally successful because FBIs have only marginal support in the faith community. Our take is that most religious conservatives do believe that their ideology (call it "The Gospel") offers the best hope for improving the human condition now as well as later, and they appreciate some political recognition of their success. But they are ambivalent about taking federal swag to fund their stuff, not sure that they're ready to accept the burdens that come with it.
It'll take a big move on Obama's part to make a significant dent in conservative Christian support for the GOP. We're thinking of a word that begins with the first letter of the alphabet. And the thought prompts an image of airborne hogs.