Traditionally, Republican compassion has encouraged private charity with government picking up the leftovers of what religious and other charitable institutions were unable to do. President Bush, through his "faith-based initiative," took this one step further by subsidizing religious groups with federal money. This removes the responsibility and privilege from individuals and turns it over to government. When that happens, religious organizations become one more constituency in the never-ending campaign for political support. Once, evangelicals "prayed it in" when they needed money. Now too many of them ask government to "send it in."
Can Senators Obama and Clinton get away with fooling Democrats as Republican politicians have sometimes fooled their supporters with God-talk? Of course they can.
At a press conference in a working-class neighborhood in Scranton, Pa., over the weekend, one questioner asked Sen. Clinton about the last time she went to church. She properly ridiculed the statement, finally admitting it was on Easter Sunday. What does that have to do with being a successful president?
People who want to hear Bible verses quoted by politicians ought to remember something. Satan knows Scripture, too. Look it up. When politicians appeal for votes by styling themselves as special favorites of God, they are tempting voters and setting them up for a huge disappointment.
Whether or how many times Obama and Clinton (or McCain) attend church services is no barometer for forecasting their potential presidency.
When politicians speak of compassion, put your hand on your wallet because they intend to spend your money, not theirs.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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