Wednesday, September 21


When George Bush (or, for that matter, any member of the American Taliban) gets an idea into his head, there's just no convincing him that he's wrong, no matter how much evidence is amassed. The problem is, when you use an entire great nation as your personal social laboratory and the results of your experiments are unsatisfactory, real live people suffer the consequences.

That the Federal Emergency Management Agency mismanaged the Hurricane Katrina relief effort is old news. But there's more to FEMA's failure than simple bungling. The Bush administration's core belief that faith-based organizations can do the job better than the government or experienced nonprofits has compounded the problem.

Immediately after the hurricane, there were only two secular organizations to which FEMA's Web site urged that contributions be made; all the others were faith-based. What's worse, in at least some instances, FEMA relied on faith-based charities to spearhead the emergency-relief effort, regardless of whether they had expertise.
[Note: since when has Bush been bothered by lack of experience or expertise? The fool seems to believe the "divine right of kings" is his -- and claims a divine protection and blessings of success on all his decisions. That's some trick -- it allows the intellectually lazy Bush to avoid the "hard work" of the presidency.] Case in point: Tulsa, Okla." [Hat tip to Existential Ramble.]

As with so many of their undertakings, the Bushies are anxious to "prove" their success, and they don't mind fudging or spinning the facts to do so.

I'm cynical enough about this administration and the "religious right" to believe that the real motivations for the movement to use government/taxpayer funds to support faith-based social services are to promote religious conversions and to defund and destroy local, state and federal social services networks -- to get government out of the business of helping the poor and needy.

There are other, dangerous implications of the movement:

Ultimately, public funding of faith-based institutions is one of those rare proposals that harms virtually everyone affected by it. The initiative promotes publicly funded employment discrimination, it threatens the religious liberties of beneficiaries, it jeopardizes the freedom of our faith communities and it undermines the rights of all taxpayers.

Dubya has exposed this nation to so many dangers, follies and disasters, it is no wonder that so many progressives experience bouts of sheer despair -- not simply for ourselves, but for our nation and for future generations. I am a "person of faith" -- a believing Christian, in fact. But anyone who has read the Bible from cover to cover, as I have several times, cannot fail to note that from the beginning to the end God warns his children not to confuse religion with government. "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." It is curious that the American Taliban, who are so anxious to make Biblical law the law of the nation, don't exhibit much faith in its teachings.


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