There is a quote concerning the separation of church and state that I am going to relay in a moment. But first, I noticed that the Faith-Based Initiative is back in the news in recent weeks. On January 29 President Bush celebrated the seventh anniversary of this program which channels federal funds to religious organizations that provide certain services. Last Thursday Christianitytoday.com featured a Q&A with John Dilulio, the first director of the Faith-Based Initiative, on the future of the program after Bush leaves office. On January 29 Dilulio along with David Kuo, former deputy director of the Faith-Based Initiative, wrote a New York Times Op-Ed in which they were critical of Bush's efforts in this area but they voiced support for the concept. Then, on February 3, Jay Hein, current director of the Faith-Based Initiative, responded to Kuo and Dilulio's Op-Ed with a defense of this Bush legacy at this point.
All three editions of the Baptist Faith and Message (1925, 1963 and 2000) thankfully contain this simple but profound sentence: "Church and state should be separate." This brings me to that quote I mentioned above. Baptist hero E. Y. Mullins in his book entitled The Axioms of Religion said, "Direct gifts of money to religious bodies by the general government is of the essence of union of church and state."