When Alliance Defending Freedom recently complained about the Obama Administration’s abortion-related regulations on aid organizations, they missed something important: With government money comes government strings. Once you accept the government’s money, the government can tell you how to run your operation as a condition of continuing to get that money.
This is why I am opposed to vouchers for private schools and why I opposed President Bush’s plan to give federal aid to faith-based charities when he announced it in 2001. There is too much potential for a conflict of interest, and too much potential for Christians to be forced to choose between getting their money and compromising their principles. We are seeing that play out here.
If the aid organizations were not dependent on federal grants to do their work, they could take the administration’s request they provide abortion services (or refer refugees to abortion providers) and say, “thanks, but no thanks.” But because they are publicly funded, they now must make a decision that will have no good outcome. Getting entangled with government is almost never a good idea.
Christian schools that take vouchers, even in Republican states like Indiana, need to look at this controversy and consider how much they are willing to risk government telling them what to do as a condition of getting money from the government. Are they willing and able to immediately stop taking vouchers if forced to choose between vouchers and their faith? If the answer to either question is “no” they need to wean themselves from of this program before they forced to make that choice.