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With government money comes government strings

By Scott Tibbs, February 9, 2009

Last week, President Obama proposed new rules that would limit the pay of some companies that get a bailout from the taxpayers, capping salaries at $500,000 for executives of those firms.

While I generally resist government intervention in private business, I do not have a problem with this. If you are going to take money from the taxpayers, then you should be willing to abide by the rules and regulations that come with that money. The primary lesson here is that with government money comes government strings. If corporations do not want to be bound by the strings, they are free to refuse the government assistance that those strings are attached to.

As I said on AM 1370 on Friday, I hope this serves as a lesson to conservatives who support vouchers for private schools or government aid to "faith based" charities. I warned repeatedly over the last eight years that Christian charities and Christian schools that take government money are in danger of being forced to choose between government funds and their Scriptural standards. In fact, Yahoo News reports that there were questions about whether President Bush's plan was constitutional "if groups receiving tax dollars sought to hire on the basis of religion."

While Bush was hardly a true conservative, there is no question that Obama is more beholden to Leftist groups who would support government regulating the internal policies of "faith based" charities than Bush was. In fact, Obama said last summer that organizations that take government money "can't use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can't discriminate against them -- or against the people you hire -- on the basis of their religion." The fact that Obama wants to expand the Bush program should be of great concern to Christians, because eventually he will attach strings to the internal policies of those charities.

The "faith based" charities initiative was a terrible idea when Bush proposed it in 2000, and it is a worse idea now. Churches and parachurch organizations need to avoid entanglements with a government that is much more likely to be hostile to Christian doctrine than it is to take a laissez faire position. The fact that some Americans strongly disapprove of their tax money going to Christian groups is another reason to shut this program down. There's no reason to unnecessarily cause offense for a nonessential program.