Monday, January 03, 2005

Rhetoric vs Reality

The White House has claimed that over 1 BILLION ($1,000,000,000) dollars went to faith-based organizations in 2003 alone. Does that sound incredible? Sounds like Bush is really putting his faith into action and pushing for churches (but not mosques or synagogues as they don't appear on the list) to do more in the community.

However according to Christian News many of those on the list had completely secular agendas and some weren't even faith-based.

One such group Crisis Ministries, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen in Charleston, S.C.

"Someone has obviously designated us a faith-based organization, but we don't recognize ourselves as that," said Stacey Denaux, executive director of the group, to the Associated Press.

Another group was “You Gotta Believe!”, a Brooklyn-based group that finds homes for teenagers in foster care. You Gotta Believe! Is intended to invoke a belief that there is a home for every child.

According to White House officials, the faith-based list included groups that either identified themselves as faith-based or groups which officials thought were religious, based on their names.

The most interesting thing is that many of those on the list were already getting grants prior the the "faith-based" plans. They just got shifted into this column because the White House thought they were religious. Many are well-established, large social service providers that have received federal money for decades. More than 80 percent of recipients at HHS had received federal money before. At HUD, the figure was 93 percent. Two programs account for half of the $1.17 billion total: A HUD program known as Section 202 that builds housing for low-income poor people, and Head Start, a large preschool program for poor children. In my home state, the City of Spokane receieved the most grants. Last time I checked, that city wasn't faith-based.

So what is reality? Bush claiming that he is doing so much for the cause of Jesus and for churches. He gets the sound byte, but instead is just moving stuff around to get credit. Is this just the church being used by a politician? I would say yes. What do you think?