DeMint: 'Serve America' Dangerous to U.S.

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WASHINGTON - The Serve America Act, named for Massachusett's Senator Ted Kennedy, is an effort to increase volunteerism.

But some lawmakers say its patriotic name that hides a dangerous agenda.

Click the player to watch the report from CBN News Washington Correspondent Jennifer Wishon followed by comments from Pat Robertson.

"A new era of service" -- that's how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. described it.

The Serve America Act more than triples the number of volunteers nationwide by expanding existing programs like Americorps and creating four new service corps focused on education, healthcare, energy and veterans.

"This is one of those times where we have a bill that has a clear connection to millions of Americans and also, not only to them in terms of the use of their time, but the generosity of their spirit," Speaker Pelosi said in a video posted on YouTube.

A generous spirit will earn participants up to $5,300 towards a college education -- a number expected to grow as the cost of college goes up.

Critics say cost is just one of the reasons why Serve America is so wrong.

"I think what we're going to see is secular causes, political causes being supported with this program," Sen. Jim DeMint R-SC told CBN News.  "But you won't see this money running through faith organizations, because of this line that we've created: what we call church and state."

DeMint expects organizations to emerge that counter efforts of Christian charities and for money to start flowing through groups with political agendas like ACORN.

He also fears government intrusion into the private charitable sector will be devastating.

"I've seen this work at the local level and it is everything that government is not. It's small, it's accountable, it's personal and it's responsible," DeMint said.

DeMint believes Serve America takes the U.S. down a dangerous path that will lead to participants forming unions and demanding healthcare.

President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law soon.

*Originally aired April 2, 2009

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Jennifer Wishon

Jennifer Wishon

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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