Well, I still believe it’s a good idea to have a partnership between the White House and grassroots groups, both faith-based and secular. But it has to be a real partnership – not a photo-op. That’s what it will be when I’m President. I’ll establish a new Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The new name will reflect a new commitment. This Council will not just be another name on the White House organization chart – it will be a critical part of my administration.
Now, make no mistake, as someone who used to teach constitutional law, I believe deeply in the separation of church and state, but I don’t believe this partnership will endanger that idea – so long as we follow a few basic principles. First, if you get a federal grant, you 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. Second, federal dollars that go directly to churches, temples, and mosques can only be used on secular programs. And we’ll also ensure that taxpayer dollars only go to those programs that actually work.
So you're going to give a bunch of federal tax dollars to churches, temples, and mosques if they promise to use it for secular (i.e. actual) charity? Are you going to stop them from taking the money they previously spent on secular charity and redirecting it towards proselytizing? Are you going to police them carefully so they don't proselytize while spending federal dollars on secular charity? Are you going to have constant audits to make sure that dollars aren't directed at some religions more than others? Do Scientology and Falun Gong get to play, or does a group have to be at least as established as, say, the Mormons?