Tag Archives: Vouchers

Why Obama’s big government socialism leads to secularism

I have been browsing on a few forums, including forums that discuss Christian apologetics. Imagine my surprise when I encountered pro-Obama, pro-socialism statements by people who are supposed to be informed about these issues.

Well, I found an article over at Mercator Net, (an Australian web site), which might be useful for Christians who are sympathetic with Obama’s pacifism, redistribution of wealth and creeping fascism. I want to argue that his policies are inconsistent with Christianity.

First of all, the article notes that Obama did gain a significant number of votes  from religious Christians.

In 2008, according to CNN exit polls, Obama won forty-three percent of the presidential vote among voters who attend religious services once a week or more, up from Senator John Kerry’s thirty-nine percent in 2004. Obama did especially well with Black and Latino believers. But he also made real inroads among traditional white Catholics, according to a recent article by John Green in First Things.

The article describes Obama’s spending, (which I discussed here), and then comments on the significance of that spending for religious institutions, like churches and charities.

To fund his bold efforts to revive the American economy and expand the welfare state, Obama is proposing to spend a staggering $3.6 trillion in the 2010 fiscal year. Obama’s revolutionary agenda would push federal, state, and local spending to approximately 40 percent of Gross Domestic Product, up from about 33 percent in 2000. It would also put the size of government in the United States within reach of Europe, where government spending currently makes up 46 percent of GDP.

Why is this significant for the vitality of religion in America? A recent study of 33 countries around the world by Anthony Gill and Erik Lundsgaarde, political scientists at the University of Washington, indicates that there is an inverse relationship between state welfare spending and religiosity. Specifically, they found that countries with larger welfare states had markedly lower levels of religious attendance, had higher rates of citizens indicating no religious affiliation whatsoever, and their people took less comfort in religion in general. In their words, “Countries with higher levels of per capita welfare have a proclivity for less religious participation and tend to have higher percentages of non-religious individuals.”

The article goes on to explain the chain of casusation from big government to secularization. Read the whole thing.

But this should be no surprise when you recall Nobel prize winning economist F. A. Hayek’s thesis in his landmark book “The Road to Serfdom”. His thesis is that the natural endpoint to all systems of government that control the means of production is fascism.

Fascism is a left-wing ideology, in which the state substitutes its own values, meanings and purposes for the values, meanings and purposes of individuals. There is no such thing as fascism on the right, because people on the right are free market capitalists who prefer small government and individual liberty.

To see how fascism destroys individual liberty and freedom of conscience, consider:

  • Obama’s plan to force hospital workers to perform abortions against their conscience
  • Obama’s forcing of taxpayers to pay for abortions here and abroad against their conscience
  • Obama’s forcing of taxpayers to pay for embryonic stem cell research against their conscience
  • Obama’s forcing of students to attend government run schools instead of private schools of their choice
  • Obama’s discrimination against religious schools in his spendulus bill
  • Obama’s plan to force some workers to join unions against their will and fun left-wing union political activism against their will
  • Obama’s forcing individuals to let Washington run their health-care

I could go on. And on. And on and on and on. But the point is that electing a socialist put us on the road to fascism. As IBD notes, socialists want to force-feed (podcast audio) their worldview onto an unwilling populace by any means – from government-run schools to news media.

I think that Christians need to do a much better job of understanding how our religious liberty hangs on small government and the free market. And remember: this crisis that Obama is “fixing”: it’s the Democrats who caused it, while Republicans tried to stop it.

Porkulus-2 bill would destroy school choice in Washington D.C.

I already blogged about the new 410 billion dollar omnibus bill here, but on John Boehner’s blog, I found out more about it. It’s not just that it contains 9000 earmarks, as Michelle Malkin noted. On John Boehner’s blog, he argues that the bill also contains a hidden provision that would destroy the voucher program in Washington, D.C..

This post states:

Congressional Democrats are scheming to deny low-income parents and students in the nation’s capital a popular school choice program by inserting a provision mandating Congress renew the program before more money is spent on it.  While this may sound innocuous enough, it would serve as a death blow to the groundbreaking D.C. school choice program – a goal Congressional Democrats have sought since taking control of Congress in 2007.

The post also links to a video produced by the Heritage Foundation that shows some of the affected students pleasing with Obama to let them attend private schools using vouchers, instead of attending defective public schools.

You may have heard that Washington, D.C. spends the most amount of money per pupil, but gets the least return on their investment. Andrew Coulson of the libertarian Cato Institute calculates the cost per student per year as $24,600. That is not a typo. The Washington Times notes that the voucher system cost only $7500 per year, and produced far better results than the government-run, union-staffed public schools.

The Opportunity Scholarship Program that Congress established allows more than 1,900 low-income D.C. children to receive vouchers so they can attend the private school of their parents’ choosing. The scholarships are good for up to $7,500. So, the best bet is obvious: a $7,500 voucher that caters to children – not a one-size-fits-all $24,600 per-pupil plan. The former has measurable academic success and incredible parental demand; the latter consistently places children at the bottom rungs of the academic ladder. In fact, D.C. ranked the lowest in math and reading, according to results of the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests released in September.

The Boston Globe summarizes the numbers on reading and math here:

According to the authoritative National Assessment of Education Progress, only one in seven fourth-graders is ranked at grade-level (“proficient”) or better in reading and math. Among eighth-graders, only one in eight is proficient in reading; only one in 12 can handle eighth-grade math.

John Boehner is quote in his blog post as follows:

The D.C. school choice program has provided hope for thousands of low-income children in the District of Columbia since it was established, and has been demonstrating results when it comes to parental satisfaction and increased parental involvement.  Eliminating this program would represent an irresponsible and shameful act on the part of the Democratic leadership in Congress, and the children of the District of Columbia deserve better.

If the Barack Obama is willing to take away school-choice from the poorest students in the nation in order to satisfy the teachers unions that got him elected, then what hope do the rest of us have of keeping our liberty?