Thursday, March 09, 2006

We ought to say, hallelujah and thanks, at the federal level

Bush has been hanging around today with what he insists on calling the “faith community.” He wants to ensure that “the White House effectively reaches out to people to assure them that if they participate in the faith-based initiative they won’t have to lose their faith. It’s hard to be a faith-based program if you can’t practice your faith, no matter what your faith may be.” “And for those of you who are finding those who have heard the call to help interface with those in need, I thank you from the bottom of my heart.” Interfacing with those in need; kinky.

Bush says there’s been a “quiet transformation, a revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment.” This is of course code for religion. He wants to encourage corporations to contribute to religious charities, saying “we all ought to focus on results, not process.” Wow, that’s a message that’s the precise opposite of the message of every single religion. Really, try that line on your minister, rabbi, or guru. He adds, “If you’re addicted to alcohol, if a faith program is able to get you off alcohol, we ought to say, hallelujah and thanks, at the federal level.” Later, he talked about Teen Challenge, which treats drug-addicted teenagers, and which now gets federal grants. Federal funding of programs that work with adults is bad enough, but minors, and especially vulnerable ones at that?

If you’re wondering about numbers, these are the ones he gives: “The federal government awarded more than $2.1 billion in competitive social service grants to faith-based organizations last year. That’s an increase of 7 percent over the previous year, and that is 11 percent of all federal competitive social service grants.”

By the way, some good responses to yesterday’s contest about what Homeland Security’s new Center for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives will do. And I want to suggest a motto: “Too Busy Preparing for the Rapture to Prepare for the Next Hurricane.” (I also tried to come up with something along the lines of Putting the Father Back Into Fatherland, but it didn’t quite gel.)

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