Thursday, July 24, 2008

Faith-based Government?

"Senator Obama should be seeking to have government programs and employees be judged effective in part by the degree they convey genuine care and loving."

Michael Lerner, "What state can learn from church," San Francisco Chronicle, July 22, 2008.

Do I want a faith-based Department of Motor Vehicles or Zoning that provides "subjective caring" as well as good customer service? Does one depend upon the other?

My sense is that good customer service derives from job quality, team management, work process flow, skills, and emotional intelligence. Let's not make this more complicated than we have to.

Lerner's point is that liberals need to emphasize the human dimension as well as economic and political rights. I agree. I would argue that this is not just a problem for government but a big time challenge for the private sector -- where we work and purchase goods and services -- and the non profit sector, including faith-based organizations.

I'm not convinced that any one set of institutions has a monopoly on "subjective caring" and how it can be spread.

Call me libertarian, but I much prefer a grassroots movement for more caring and dignity than an empty edict from above. But a more active national bully pulpit for more love in the world couldn't hurt.

No comments: