Faith & Stimulus has an important article today about President Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Initiatives and the work they have done helping religious organizations get money from the much maligned Stimulus Bill.

From new windows for a church school to direct aid for the homeless, millions of dollars have gone to faith-based organizations that have grown accustomed to operating on shoestring budgets. Catholic Charities -- which should be the first check you write for Christmas -- received $50 million in Stimulus funds.

This is important at several levels.

First, the money flowed even though the bishops and the White House were engaged in a tug-of-war over health care reform: The White House could have penalized Catholic organizations on account of the bishops' stance, but they did not do that. As Father Larry Snyder of Catholic Charities said, "While it's true that the leadership of the Catholic Church has had disagreements with the administration, especially on life issues and on the details of health care reform, those issues really were kept separate from our ability to work with the administration on basic human services."

Second, conservatives denounced the Stimulus as ineffectual, but the contractors who put in those new windows at a Catholic school were paid to do so, and the factory workers who make the windows kept their jobs. That is how stimulus works.

Christmas-NCR-gifts-half_0.jpgGive a subscription to our award-winning newspaper and save $10.

Third, the White House has resisted the claims of some on the left to end the Faith-Based office. The hyper-separationists think this work is unconstitutional, but the White House gets high marks for realizing that the First Amendment cuts both ways. Why should a Catholic relief agency be penalized because it is Catholic?

As I have long maintained, the important thing about the Stimulus bill was not just the jobs it created or saved. The really important thing was the psychology of the bill. The economy was in free fall and the private sector was demonstrably incapable of restoring confidence. The country looked to the government to do something. Nothing is more destructive of the economy than a sense of powerlessness and fear.

Yes, the jobs that were directly saved or created by the Stimulus bill were important, but hundreds of thousands of more jobs were saved because the Stimulus bill told the entire country -- and the world -- that the U.S. government was not going to stand by and permit the free fall to continue.

Only the laziest of laissez-faire economists can fail to acknowledge what the Stimulus Bill accomplished. That it also helped out myriad religious organizations is icing on the cake.

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg


NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.



NCR Email Alerts


In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017