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Asleep at the wheel 
15th-Oct-2005 04:38 pm
Ok, so I guess I’m not really keeping up to speed with things like I planned. As this page’s name would have you guess it’s easy to get caught up in the mundane distractions of everyday life and not really be aware of the other things going on. Sometimes we miss things that perhaps we should really consider…well…considering.

No, I’m not talking about Bush telling Syria to watch its border with Iraq better (because we’re really good at keeping people from crossing ours), or Jim Bob having his 16th child (seriously…Jim Bob?), Bush using Harriet Miers’ religious beliefs as a point to win more favor with folks usually on his side, or Bush’s wonderfully staged conversation with some soldiers. I’m actually talking about something that happened back on September 22nd.

It’s a little something passed by the House of Representatives, called H.R. 2123. You can read about it by going to thomas.loc.gov and putting 'hr 2123' into the search engine.

This thing was supposed to be an update for how the Head Start program operates. You know, make those who use the money a bit more responsible in tracking how it’s used and such. Great right? Dang straight. I don’t want my tax dollars wasted any more than you do.

However, there was a little amendment added. If you use your search results from before and select the [H.R.2123.EH] link, then the SEC. 31. DISCRIMINATION PROVISIONS link you can read all about it. I'd provide links but they're only assigned by the site temporarily, so that's not possible (with my limited knowledge).

The new amendment (if I’m understanding it correctly) is a nifty little thing that allows religious institutions to disregard the regular non-discriminatory rules that other (secular?) organizations MUST follow when hiring people whose positions are going to be paid for with federal funds for Head Start.

You can read about the amendment’s perceived impacts in news stories from the Associated Press here and here, or from Fox News. There are plenty of more articles and opinions on the amendment, so feel free to see what a search engine brings up.

Now, the articles are being pretty nice in saying that the amendment allows “discrimination.” Let’s be honest here folks, discrimination is practiced in all hiring situations. If you’re comparing anything, then you are discriminating. It’s how you tell things apart. I think what we’re looking at here really is the possibility of government approved bigotry and prejudice.

I was fine back when the decision was made to allow religious institutions to compete for federal funds they couldn’t compete for previously. If they’re doing good work, then I’m fine with them getting and using such funds. Of course, even then religious institutions were given some level of freedom in their hiring practices (again…discrimination doesn’t immediately mean something BAD) to make sure that those organizations could still hire people who they believed would support their organization’s mission (doesn’t every organization do that?).

However, what seems to be happening now is that religious institutions aren’t simply being given more “flexibility” than some more public or secular organizations. They are actually being given EXEMPTION from following rules and regulations that non-religious organizations must follow. That doesn’t sit well with me. I don’t want my tax dollars going to ANY organization that has approval to practice bigotry and prejudice. I don’t want those acts committed through my finances. How about you?

Anyway, if you’re interested in seeing how your Representative voted on the bill go to:

If you’re not sure who your Representative is go here and plug in your zip code:

If you really care how your Representative is “representing” you then you’ll probably wanna bookmark clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/ and check it once in a while.
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