Monday, January 03, 2005

Pray for Me

Since you will be funding such prayer from your taxes, anyway, you might as well just pray for me. Pray that I don't overuse nectar or take up other sinful habits.
The Bush administration believes in faith-healing and is lavishing money on it:

President Bush has succeeded in opening the checkbooks of five federal departments to religious organizations. Now he's setting his sights on money doled out by the states.
The goal is to persuade states to funnel more of the federal money for social service programs that they administer to ``faith-based organizations.''
Federal regulations now allow federal agencies to directly fund churches and other religious groups. Bush acted alone to rewrite these regulations after failing to persuade Congress to change the law.
Partly as a result, in 2003, groups dubbed ``faith-based'' received $1.17 billion in grants from federal agencies, according to documents provided by the White House to The Associated Press. That was about 8 percent of the $14.5 billion spent on social programs that qualify for faith-based grants in five federal departments.
That's not enough, said Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. An additional $40 billion in federal money is given out by state governments, he said, and many states do not realize that federal rules now allow them to fund these organizations.
``We're on the sunrise side of the mountain,'' he said.

We certainly are the sunny-side-up, in a giant faith-based frying pan. The results will be like my omelettes: raw in the middle and burnt around the edges. And very bad for you. But nobody listens to a goddess in this faith-based world of ours.

Why am I so negative about all this? How about because of this:

Also advancing Bush's initiative: a drug treatment program that is just getting under way. Called Access to Recovery, it gives drug users vouchers to take to any organization they choose - including those that rely on a religious conversion to break the addiction. Because the program uses vouchers, it can legally fund explicitly religious activity.
``Many people have overcome addition through faith transformation,'' Towey said. Counselors in these programs won't have to meet the same medical standards that drug treatment counselors typically must, he said. ``There's going to be standards in place, but also, in addition to science, some faith.''
That's what worries people like Lynn.
``Some of them are not qualified to do this work,'' he said, ``particularly in areas where medical expertise is needed but is no longer apparently necessary.''

I should put a ticking clock in the right uppper corner of my blog: Time left to Middle Ages. Or to the Tally-Ban (the Texas version of Talibanization)? What do you think?