Robert Knight

Faith-based charities are technically eligible, but will get squeezed out by “nondiscrimination” language. In practice, this means that a Catholic-run homeless shelter would have to employ atheists or Buddhists. The Salvation Army, perhaps the most effective charity, requires volunteers – not its clients –  to adhere to Christian beliefs. Because of that, the Army will be shut out from employing any of the government’s paid “volunteers.”

Why would anyone think that government involvement would improve volunteerism? On the Senate floor, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) warned:

“…Our history shows us when Government gets involved, it tends to take something that is working and make it not work nearly as well. Civil society works because it is everything Government is not. It is small, it is personal, it is responsive, it is accountable. Civil society must be protected from any effort to make it more like Government. This bill centralizes control of important functions of our civil society.”

The original bill called for creating a commission to study mandatory civilian service, but that was yanked amid a public outcry. However, it has reemerged in HR 1442, the “Congressional Commission on Civil Service Act,” sponsored by Washington Rep. Jim McDermott (D).

This free-standing bill, which directs the proposed commission to “enhance our Nation and the global community,” reaches to kid-level, providing “the means to develop awareness of national service and volunteer opportunities at a young age by creating, expanding and promoting service options for primary and secondary school students.”

If you think this will be limited to public schools, you don’t know the mindset driving this bus.

And if you’re a sacrificial parent homeschooling or sending your children to a religious school so that they won’t be engulfed by the public school MTV culture that has led 11-year-olds to “sextext” nude pictures to each other, you’ll be out of luck. Your kid will need to go with the flow.

The McDermott bill requires the commission to study “[w]hether a workable, fair, and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed to … overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic, and educational backgrounds.” Or, as riot icon Rodney King might say, “Can’t we all be forced to get along?”

Of the face of it, mandatory civilian service violates the 13th Amendment’s prohibition on involuntary servitude. During a national crisis, such as World War II, married men with children were given the choice: military service or work in a defense plant.  The Constitution’s Article 1, Section 8 allows Congress to “raise and support armies” and to “provide and maintain a navy.” It’s one thing to allow for conscientious objection to a military draft; it’s another to draft civilians to serve in politicians’ pet projects absent an emergency.

The McDermott bill also charges the commission with examining “the need” for a federal, four-year college to train “future public sector leaders.”

Think of it, an entire university churning out graduates with the same mentality as ACORN, which is to say they will view the nation as entirely secular and public, except the parts that are stubbornly and temporarily private.

Papers will be written and policies hatched to ensure that this will not be tolerated much longer.

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.