The Washington Post reports that Bush's faith-based initiative is back on track largely due to America's response to the September 11 terrorist attacks. The bill had stalled in the Senate when Democrats opposed sections of the House version that allow religious charities to maintain hiring distinctives. It was widely reported that no action would be taken until 2002. But all that's changed. "There's an immediate need for an infusion of support to community-serving organizations," one "official close to the deliberations" tells the paper. The attack "has given a new focus" to the initiative, the official says. There's some discussion on splitting the bill in two and quickly passing the part offering tax credits for charitable donations. But the White House is "leaning toward pushing the whole package," reports the Post.
Court will finally rule on constitutionality of school vouchers The same Washington Post article reports that Bush is also working on a compromise on competing education bills. Many religious conservatives are upset that school vouchers have been eliminated from discussion, but they are thrilled with news this week that the Supreme Court will finally decide whether giving public money to students seeking religious educations violates the First Amendment's prohibition on establishing religion. Specifically, the court will hear Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, which challenges Cleveland's program that gives $2,250 vouchers to more than 4,000 students (The New York Times says 4,266, the Chicago Tribune says 4,095, and Cleveland's The Plain Dealer says "nearly 4,000"). Of those students, about 95 percent are enrolled in religious schools. Though the Supreme Court will ...1
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