President George W. Bush's plan to divert up to $200 million in public funds to faith-based addiction programs violates the Constitution and common sense, according to Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The Bush proposal, to be announced in the State of the Union message tonight, poses serious legal and policy problems, says the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director. (Americans United has spearheaded a coalition of groups that oppose the administration's "faith-based" initiative.)
"The president wants to fund untested, unproven programs that seek to pray away addiction," said Lynn. "This violates the Constitution and common sense.
"People with addiction problems need medical help, not Sunday school," Lynn observed. "The Bush plan would entangle government with religion and jeopardize the health care needs of Americans struggling with alcohol and drug problems.
"Bush seems to be on a religious crusade and that's not the role of the president," Lynn concluded. "Americans put a lot of money in the collection plate voluntarily, but they should not be forced to do so by the government."
Americans United is a religious liberty watchdog group based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, the organization educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom.