Thursday, March 09, 2006

White House Conference Today Will Tout Faith-Based Programs

A White House Conference on Faith Based and Community Initiatives today is expected to attract 1500 people, according to the Chicago Tribune. It is expected that President Bush will announce that 2005 showed record federal grants to religious charities-- over $2 billion, of which $127.4 million went to charities in Illinois. Recent legislation has assured that religious groups receiving TANF funds and funds under the President's Marriage and Fatherhood Program are able to take employees' religious affiliation into account in hiring. Yesterday, Jim Towey, director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, in an online chat, said "For too long we have treated these vital groups as 'candy stripers', when they have been the foot soldiers."

Rev. Barry W. Lynn, head of release yesterday criticized the President's Faith-Based program, saying: "The White House is using incense and mirrors to cover up its domestic policy failures. Presidential speeches and bogus reports about the faith-based initiative are no substitute for adequate funding of effective government programs."