CommunityPam's House Blend

Why Bush's faith-based BS has little to do with faith

Scout Prime at First Draft has a great post on two examples of the lack of accountability in the Chimp’s “faith-based initiative.”

Case 1: The WaPo features the tale of House of Refuge in Salt Lake City. An alleged rehabilitation program at a church, the entity is facing allegations that it forced people to work as telemarketers for 28 cents an hour under the threat they could go back to jail. Oh, and the church withheld even those pitiful wages and pocketed it all.

Case 2: The New Orleans Times-Picayune reports an outfit called Lighthouse Disaster Relief, hastily put together by Pastor Gary Heldreth in the aftermath of Katrina, was hired by FEMA to construct a base camp for first responders and St. Bernard Parish employees. For this, Lighthouse was paid $5 million taxpayer dollars — and didn’t do the work according to the GSA.

The General Services Administration spokespeople couldn’t even confirm how Lighthouse cropped up on the list of approved, qualified contractors or whether anyone ever vetted Heldreth’s “faith-based firm.” Jeebus, in a PBS interview, Heldreth didn’t even claim that Lighthouse had any experience: “About the closest thing I have done to this is just organize a youth camp with my church.”

Even worse, after FEMA shelled out the $5.2 million and ended its contract with Lighthouse — the incompetent agency had to bring in another company to finish the job.

Scout nails this outrage cold.

Can anyone claiming to work for God belly up to Bush’s faith-based tit and suck away with no questions asked? I’m sorry Pastor Gary, if you are indeed a pastor, the taxpayers have the right to ask questions and receive answers before, during and after your work for us. As we can see now it would have been best to ask question BEFORE hand. Better yet dump the Christian moocher initiative all together and give us good government.

BTW, there is a fundraising drive to send Scout Prime, who has done superb reporting on Katrina-related events, to NOLA to do on-site reporting in March.

[UPDATE: Scout emailed and said that the fundraising goal was met in less than 24 hours!!! She’ll be blogging from NOLA Feb. 27-March 7.]


Oy, Spindentist over at All Spin Zone reports House of Refuge bears a strange similarity to another slavery-based organization called Disciples House.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding