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The baseless, faithless initiative

There’s a new controversy swirling around President Bush’s so-called “faith-based initiative program.”

It shouldn’t surprise anyone – given that there is a national election a few weeks away. The stakes are high. There are books to be sold, money to be paid, votes to buy.

David Kuo, the former No. 2 guy in the White House’s faith-based initiative program (what a lousy name for a program!), has written a tell-all book. In it, he says Bush’s top political aides privately mocked Christian conservatives and evangelicals as “nuts” and “goofy.” Publicly, of course, they courted their votes and wooed them by meeting frequently with the leaders of the goofy nuts.

Nothing surprises me about this story. In fact, I virtually predicted it – exposing Kuo’s real agenda long ago and explaining countless times how the Republican establishment detests people of faith.

There’s really nothing new here. It’s no surprise that Kuo turned on his boss and his party right before an election so he could sell lots of copies of his book, “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction.” And it’s certainly no surprise that some people around the White House thought of Pat Robertson and James Dobson as political annoyances. It’s also no surprise that “60 Minutes” would try to engineer an October surprise with this bombshell in an effort to deter more evangelicals from going to the polls next month.

But I want to deal head-on with the substance, if you can call it that, of what Kuo had to say on “60 Minutes.”

Kuo was quite candid in explaining that he joined the White House team because of the promise of spending $8 billion on programs for the poor. He was disappointed at how little was actually allocated.

He blames evangelicals themselves for the indifference on that issue. He took Lesley Stahl to a convention of evangelical groups and walked around the display booths, looking for any reference to the poor.

“You’ve got homosexuality in your kid’s school, and you’ve got human cloning and partial birth abortion and divorce and stem cell,” Kuo remarked. “Not a mention of the poor.”

Kuo says it’s time for evangelical Christians to take a step back – “to have a fast from politics. People are being manipulated.”

I’m sure Kuo and Stahl and their comrades in the Democratic Party are hoping evangelicals take his advice – conduct a fast from politics.

Don’t forget, as I told you back in 2003, Kuo was the guy who wanted to use the “faith-based initiative” to enlist religious groups in environmentalist wacko causes. You may not have heard of him before “60 Minutes,” but I was on to him.

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.

In 2003, I told you the mission had already been betrayed. It had become, thanks to people like Kuo, 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 welcomed the broadest possible interpretation of that mission, and, thus, was excited about spending taxpayer money to support religious groups fighting “global warming.”

So who was perverting the mission in 2003? It sounds like it was Kuo. I recognized it. I blew the whistle on it. How is it possible that people inside the administration didn’t see this coming?

I opposed Bush’s “faith-based initiative” from the start and warned it would blow up in his face. It has. There’s nothing constitutional about taking people’s money by force and then giving it to someone else in the name of compassion.

There’s a reason evangelicals aren’t involved in promoting government spending on the poor – because they recognize there is no constitutional role for the government to be involved in such matters, because they know government only exacerbates problems like poverty when it does get involved and because they know this is the role of the individual and the church – not government.

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