An interesting exchange
George Bush's press conference yesterday has received some attention in the media, and his comments on his faith-based initatives were duly noted. "Queried on his commitment to separation of church and state, he vigorously defended his proposal to provide federal help to religious and charitable organizations that help the needy," reported the Associated Press. The Washington Post was a little more accurate about the nature of the exchange, noting that Bush "refused to give ground when challenged on his plan to encourage religious groups to provide social services with federal money, which he calls his faith-based initiative." Just for fun, here's the exchange between Bush and the unnamed reporter:

Q Mr. President, why do you refuse to respect the wall between the church and state? And you know that the mixing of religion and government for centuries has led to slaughter. I mean, the very fact that our country has stood in good stead by having the separation—why do you break it down? THE PRESIDENT: Helen, I strongly respect the separation of church and state— Q Well, you wouldn't have a religious office in the White House if you did. THE PRESIDENT: I didn't get to finish my answer, in all due respect. I believe that so long as there's a secular alternative available, we ought to allow individuals who are helping to be able to choose a program that may be run by a faith-based program—or will be run by a faith-based program. I understand full well that some of the most compassionate missions of help and aid come out of faith-based programs. And I strongly support the faith-based initiative that we're proposing, because I don't believe it violates the line between the separation of church ...
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