CommunityPam's House Blend

Faith-based billions and our dry-drunk President

Talk about a payoff with dividends. Here’s where your tax dollars were flowing while Chimpy was stumping for re-election. Bush Says $2 Billion Went to Religious Charities in ’04 (NYT).

“In his bluntest remark, the president said religious charities that accepted federal money were not allowed to discriminate against people of other faiths.

‘What that means,’ Mr. Bush said, ‘is if you’re the Methodist Church and you sponsor an alcohol treatment center, they can’t say, ‘Only Methodists, only Methodists who drink too much can come to our program.’

‘All drunks are welcome, is what the sign ought to say.’

Mr. Bush is a Methodist, and by his account used to drink too much.

The conference, organized by the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, intended to help religious charities apply for federal money for programs that help addicts, prisoners, the homeless and others. The ‘faith based initiative,’ as the White House calls it, is a central part of Mr. Bush’s ‘compassionate conservative’ agenda that tries to bring a new Republican approach to social problems and poverty.”

…Legislation that would have made it easier for religious charities to seek government money for social programs faltered in Congress in Mr. Bush’s first term, forcing the president to bypass Capitol Hill and sign three executive orders that established religion-based offices in 10 federal agencies.

…His critics have long countered that he is promoting the view of a highly religious White House, breaking down barriers between church and state and using taxpayer money to promote organized religion.

No wonder we have the black pastors bellying up to the trough. I’ve blogged plenty about this nonsense before, but I want to point you to another, great essay on this buy-out of the religious black faith leadership by Canaan Parker, “Thanks for nothing Reverend Fauntroy“. A snippet:

Rev. Walter Fauntroy, supporter of FMA and beneficiary of Bush’s faith-based largesse.

Like all gay people, I’m dismayed when Walter Fauntroy, a key lieutenant to Martin Luther King and pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church, holds a ballyhooed press conference with Bill Frist and the hateful likes of Rick Santorum in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. But let me be crystal clear. Right now I’m speaking as a black man, not as a gay man. As a member of Fauntroy’s African American constituency, I think I’ve been sold out. Fauntroy knew damn good and well he was helping to re-elect George Bush. Fauntroy went to the Capitol Building and all I got was Republican hegemony.

…As a black man, I feel culturally tarnished by Fauntroy’s peddling of his Civil Rights pedigree. A company can license its registered trademark for profit – it’s called franchising. McDonald’s make billions that way. By joining forces with the Republicans, Reverend Fauntroy in effect licensed the name of Dr. King like a trademark. Now whenever I see a debate on marriage, I see white conservative ‘franchisees’ brandishing Fauntroy’s Civil Rights credentials to shield themselves from charges of bigotry. The low point came when I heard right wing buzzsaw Ann Coulter invoke Civil Rights to attack gay rights. When you sell a license to Ann Coulter to speak for Martin Luther King, I’m sorry but that just stinks. Coulter, who publicized the possibility of ‘DNA evidence’ on Monica Lewinsky’s dress, befouls the legacy of Dr. King by even speaking his name. And the right wing has the audacity to accuse us of ‘highjacking Civil Rights’ when we march on Washington for gay equality.

Reverend Fauntroy’s argument against marriage equality is very feeble. First he claims that he’s defending the black family. Then he wanders off into the clouds to think up some vaporous link between gay marriage and the stability of Black families. He can’t find a link in concrete reality, so he has to wander way out into the moonie realms of existential sociological theory to find one. You want a link between gay rights and black families? AIDS destroys black families. Gay activists fight AIDS. There is nothing theoretical about that. Dick Cheney may not have a clue, but you won’t find a single gay AIDS activist who doesn’t know the mortifyng statistics on HIV reported by the Black AIDS Institute. I read the statistics in Gay City News. Reverend Fauntroy doesn’t read that paper or he’d know that when he attacks gay rights, he undermines the fight against AIDS. An army of gay and lesbian activists, some 10,000 strong according to Larry Kramer’s estimate, has been fighting a two-front war for 25 years. When Fauntroy attacks us on one front – the gay rights front – he weakens us on the AIDS front.

…Now, if Reverend Fauntroy claims that marriage equality is a greater threat to black families than HIV, he’s either seeing things or he’s taking money.

What an excellent rant…and Canaan’s just warming up. Go read the rest.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding