Bush supports 'vouchers' by name; Supreme Court may have helped faith-based initiative
Remember the controversy last year over federally funded school vouchers? It turns out that even during that entire debate, President Bush didn't ever use the word vouchers. At least that's what The Washington Times says today. Speaking in Cleveland yesterday, three days after the Supreme Court ruled the city's school voucher program is constitutional, Bush finally said it for the first time as President. "We're interested in aiming toward excellence for every child. And the voucher system is a part of the strategy to achieve that here in Cleveland," he said. "One of my jobs is to make sure that we continue to insist upon reform, to take this court decision, and encourage others to make the same decision at the local level."
Bush used the word voucher only twice in the 38-minute speech (full text | audio), but used compassion or compassionate ten times. This wasn't just a push for school choice reformthis was an effort to get much of his domestic agenda back on the table, and much of the speech also centered on his faith-based initiative.
"Our government should not fear programs which exist because a church or a synagogue or a mosque has decided to start one," he said. "We should not discriminate against programs based upon faith in America. We should enable them to access federal money, because faith-based programs can change people's lives, and America will be better off for it."
In fact, says The Christian Science Monitor, the two items may be very closely tied together by the Supreme Court's ruling. "Christian organizations and scholars have been working to nudge the court into a new interpretation of the First Amendment that would ...1
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