Tuesday, February 15, 2005

A Sham?

According to Salon, this is what Bush's faith-based initiative is. Or rather according to David Kuo who used to be the deputy director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He has now written an essay for belief.net in which

...he says Bush's commitment to faith-based initiatives -- especially those aimed at helping the poor -- was essentially a sham.

Kuo says the Bush promises about being a "compassionate conservative" are today "unfulfilled in spirit and in fact." Kuo spreads around the blame. He says Republicans in Congress were ambivalent about the faith-based programs because they were indifferent about helping the poor, while Democrats took a "knee-jerk" position that opposed any linkage between government and religion.

Then there is the tiny problem that prayer might not work in a lot of the fields where the faith-based initiatives were promoted. But Kuo is probably right in arguing that Bush doesn't really care about the poor. Though he does care about the radical Christian right, so it's not really true that money has been unavailable. It has just been used where it gives a bigger bang for the buck: in abstinence education, for example. That abstinence education doesn't work is not something that would bother Bush a lot. After all, the point of the whole initiative is to serve as a kickback program for his voter base.