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I told you so.

I warned you.

I explained right from the start what President Bush’s so-called “Faith-Based Initiative” was all about – a scam to score political points that would further marginalize faith in the public square, empower bureaucrats and compromise churches and synagogues who cooperate with it.

Many of you thought I was being an alarmist. Many of you thought I was over the top. Many of you told me to give the new administration a break and the benefit of the doubt.

Well, the proof is in.

Jerry Lawson, director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program – part of a large federal bureaucracy that has no constitutional basis for its existence in the first place – told a group of environmentalists in Washington that the “faith-based initiative” should and would be used to fan the flames of hysteria over the phony issue of global warming.

Is this guy off the Bush reservation? Apparently not.

David Kuo, deputy director of the White House Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives, called the EPA’s efforts to enlist religious groups in green causes a “great” idea, according to a report in CNSNews.com.

Do you remember the stated purpose of the so-called “Faith-Based Initiative”? As I recall, the idea was to encourage churches and synagogues to help the poor, to get involved in social welfare work, to feed the hungry and clothe the naked and to remove the federal barriers erected to prevent religious groups from doing all of these things.

Now it is becoming clear that the new bureaucracy will be nothing more than one more vehicle for the unconstitutional and immoral purpose of wealth redistribution and furthering the extreme, anti-American political agenda of people who don’t believe in liberty, free enterprise or good science.

“What the president really envisioned is a determined attack on need led by America’s charities and churches and synagogues and mosques and philanthropies and foundations,” Kuo explained. “That’s what this initiative is about. It is about encouraging the full participation by America’s armies of compassion in meeting the very serious social needs that exist.”

At the same time, Kuo said he welcomes the broadest possible interpretation of that mission, and, thus, is excited about spending taxpayer money to support religious groups fighting “global warming.”

“The original vision and the current vision is still social services,” said Lawson. “What I am doing and other people at EPA are doing is looking at the programs we have available today that can benefit faith-based groups. Those of us at EPA and the environmental movement are recognizing that the faith community is also interested in the environment.”

This is an example of how a perhaps well-intentioned federal program goes wrong fast.

Again, I told you it would happen. But, to be honest, even I – as cynical about government as I am – never imagined it would happen quite this quickly.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions. The road to tyranny, too. The road to slavery, too.

And that’s what we are becoming – slaves. Slaves of a system that robs us of our labor and wealth and redistributes it to those who oppress us further. Is there no end to this madness?

Once again, we see it matters not whether Democrats are in power or Republicans. The bureaucracies grow and grow. The political agenda remains the same. There’s no reversing bad old policy. But there’s always room to invent bad new policy.

My biggest worry about the “faith-based initiative” was that it would render previously effective religion-based charities ineffective. They would be neutered, I thought, by federal restrictions and red tape. Even I would not have imagined the very narrow social purpose of the initiative would be corrupted – at least not this quickly.

It’s amazing. There’s just no mixing compassion and government. Compassion equals love. Government equals force. Never the twain shall meet – at least not until the Good Lord returns.

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