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Posts Tagged ‘government’

It’s a terrible job market for new college graduates. Lots of companies aren’t hiring at all this year. Many companies that are hiring have seen their reputations tarnished recently. And not everyone is self-motivated enough to follow Seth Godin’s advice.

That explains why a surprising number of college students are looking for (government / religious) jobs. Applications to graduate programs in (“public policy” / religion) are up substantially over previous years:

Though Attridge identified declining job prospects as a potential motivator for students to continue their education, he pointed to a crop of contemporary moral and (political / religious) issues as a key influence on students seeking [to] study (public policy / religion).

Among those relatively new issues are global climate change and “gross immorality in the financial sector,” Attridge said, which may have inspired students to take a more (command-and-control / command-and-control) approach toward community service.

“There are questions about whether the fundamental moral fiber of the country is corroded,” Attridge said.

The explanation resonates strongly with Stephen Blackmer, who will begin studying for a master of (public policy / divinity) at [Yale] this fall. Blackmer, 53, had worked in conservation and sustainable development for nearly 30 years before answering a call to join the (government / ministry).

Blackmer said his experience has taught him that the main obstacle to slowing climate change is not technological or economic, but (political / spiritual).

“Climate change is in effect a (political / spiritual) problem, because we’ve developed the technologies to protect the world from climate change, but not the (authority / wisdom) to use them,” he said.

Blackmer, who said he hopes to join an “environmental (lobby / ministry)” after graduating, said the slumping economy made his decision to attend (policy / divinity) school easier.

In fact, people like Blackmer are overwhelming graduate programs, who are seeing record numbers of applicants. Probably, though, there’s nothing to worry about:

Attridge and Aleshire take a positive outlook to the future of (political / theological) education, and both said they expect the applications to continue to rise.

“We’re at a cultural moment when there’s a lot of concern about the common good,” Aleshire said. “(Politics / Religion) is a social force.”

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Over the past year, I have encountered a number of “non-religious” types who were not only avid supporters of Barack Obama, but who also insisted that he was a “closet atheist”.

Although all evidence points to the contrary, they offered a number of plausible reasons like

  • I like him, so he’s got to be
  • sitting through years of Jeremiah Wright nonsense would make anyone an atheist
  • he’s only pretending in order to get elected, same as Sarah Palin

I found none of these reasons compelling, but articles about Obama’s “faith-based office” (“hey, do we have any stamps?” “not sure, why don’t you pray on it?”) are working harder to assuage my fears:

While the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has been around for eight years, the Obama White House is very keen to stress that their version of the office will have an entirely different mission. Whereas Bush established the office to “level the playing field” for faith-based service organizations that he argued were unable to compete for federal grants, Obama intends to use his faith office more for policy matters:

I mean, as long as they’re only working on “policy”, I don’t see anything that could go wrong with that. I bet that people chosen for their religious affiliations have all sorts of policy insights that people chosen for their competence or experience would never come up with:

  • “Now that we run GM, let’s put electronic Mecca-finders on every dashboard!”
  • “Let’s teach kids about Ganesh in biology class, so they’ll know that it’s possible to transplant an elephant’s head on a human’s body!”
  • “We should fund a NASA mission to visit heaven!”
  • “Can we make it so that churches don’t have to pay any income tax?” “We already do that.” “Oh, sweet!”

I look forward to the broadening of the policy discourse.

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