Missouri: the scam me State

Faith-based disaster relief sounds a bit like a contradiction to me. Why did God send the disaster in the first place? But what do I know. I'm an atheist. I'm also an American, however, and it seems passing strange to me that money raised from Missouri taxpayers should be used to support religious organizations to "transform lives and empower Missourians." That's what Republican Governor Matt Blunt is doing with his faith-based disaster relief initiative, designed "to increase cooperation between state government and faith and community-based groups in providing services to Missouri families during times of emergency." Doesn't really sound that nefarious. Who can object to neighbors helping neighbors through their churches? Me, that's who.

What's my problem? My problem is that this is part of a much larger effort to support religious groups with state funds. It isn't just "neighbor helping neighbor":

Last year Gov. Blunt unveiled Faith-Based Missouri, and charged a five-person team with studying how we can improve relations between state government and religious and secular charities. The team's charge and Faith-Based Missouri's goal is to find ways to partner with religious charities to make Missouri a better place for all Missourians. The governor and agency directors will rely on the Faith-Based Missouri team for guidance and suggestions as to how the state can better transform lives and empower Missourians.

Several state agencies already have successful partnerships with faith-based organizations. The Department of Corrections cooperates with dozens of faith-based groups in drug counseling, anger management, parenting classes, job training, and the successful Missouri Re-Entry Process, which Blunt started two years ago to cut down on recidivism.

The Department of Health and Senior Services works with faith and community-based organizations to provide child care, food banks, health care, and the Alternatives to Abortion Program. The Department of Mental Health works with several groups to stem alcohol and drug abuse and with charities for psychiatric services. The Department of Social Services has more than 2,300 contracts with faith and community-based organizations to provide services to Missourians in need. (Big Medicine)

These programs sound like they are missionary efforts disguised as social service operations. If a radical political organization wanted some taxpayer money to help make Missouri a better place to live do you think they'd get it? What about the ACLU? And why should public monies be used to "transform lives"? What does this mean? Taking Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour? The legislation is meant to promote private community services to Missourians in need of assistance. Will there be a means test? Or will "need of assistance" mean those who have particular religious views (and not others)?

The whole thing looks more like a poorly stocked convenience store fronting for a numbers racket. It doesn't pass the smell test.

More like this

First, there was this awful news about Obama's support of "faith-based programs": Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is announcing plans to expand President Bush's program steering federal social service dollars to religious groups and -- in a move…
So, you may or may not recall that last week, Matt Nisbet posted about a study purporting to show that religious people were more generous in their charitable giving than atheists. One of his commenters opted to go for the "sour grapes" response, claiming that religious charities were all stupid,…
(Note Addendum before commenting, please.) Is there any candidate who still supports the separation of church and state anymore? Heck, even Barack Obama seems to be pandering to the religious base these days: CHICAGO -- Reaching out to evangelical voters, Democratic presidential candidate Barack…
Renegade Evolution encourages us to spend some time today blogging for sex education (she has a great feminist blog by the way). I thought to further this aim I'd talk about this recent Nation article about the scam that is the abstinence education industry. Basically, it's just pork for the…

One more thing that we can blame Bush for IMO.

Doesn't anyone study the Constitution in Mizzou?

Last year Gov. Blunt unveiled Faith-Based Missouri, and charged a five-person team with studying how we can improve relations between state government and religious and secular charities.

The team's answer? Tax secular Missourians and give their money to churches to evangelize captive audiences.

I don't think that (for example) the Mennonite Disaster Service (http://www.mds.mennonite.net/) sees their work as missionary efforts disguised as social service operations. It transforms lives to be helped by a group of people that don't want to take something from you. It transforms lives to get a roof over your head where there was none anymore. Imagine that your faith compels you to help your fellow man.

At the same time, there are organizations that could be like you suspect and I don't see the need to fund them (or those like MDS) from the state. Those that are careful with their reputations can gain what they need from private donations and volunteers.

Is there a need for state and faith based partnerships? Probably not although some faith based groups are very efficient at providing disaster relief. But generally, disaster relief is not a ruse to proselytize - it is to address genuine need.

Well, now that they have the ok from the courts, what can we do besides watch how they determine who is eligible for assistance? I too, do not like how this is developing, but I don't know how many secular programs like these are available.

Well now J-Dog you go that one completely wrong. This was initiated long before Bush took office, and it was under the Clinton Administration that the American Red Cross became a recognized organization for relief operations. No God in that. Now if Revere wants to investigate a scam, look at what was going to happen with the ARC in charge of all of the money from the telethon for the survivors families of 9-11.

They were going to pay out about maybe 15 million out of 1 billion point five and put the rest into CD's and investments. This is the same ARC that refused to test blood for AIDS even though they knew it was in the pool that they were administrating. So, no not another GWB.

I do for the better part give my money to the Salvation Army because they dont live like kings but their upper leadership kind of annoys me as they have some pretty nice houses to stay in. Nice cars too.

But as for the churches this is new stuff in a new land. Kind of like Islamic Charter schools "not teaching" kids to be Islamic. But thats a whole different issue.

Trust me, if this crosses the line the ACLU will find a left wing crack to slide between and have Catholic priests delivering aborted fetuses. They will of course have fathered them too.

Revere-One other thing, there is no way you or anyone else could say that all the progressive rehabilitation programs have worked either for the last 40 years. It has made black Americans and quite a few whites expectant of the government dole for everything. They work no jobs, they live in subsidized housing, and they account for almost 80% of all of the crime in America. Hey, if the churches are willing to do this under a contract and put some sense back into their heads and make them productive citizens then fine. They dont have to become Christians, or anything else for that matter. But they have really only one choice and that is to become part of the system rather than a part of the problem to the system.

We have tried it both ways now. It will return to the days of yesteryear pretty soon as crime continues to increase unchecked. So we will go back to the courthouse squares and start hanging them next time out. Is like terrorists, dead ones dont come back.

Harsh? You danged skippy......


By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 11 Apr 2008 #permalink

Sorry to be off topic Revere, but I just read this and am concerned. Given the information I have read here about accidental releases at labs like the one proposed, wtf is the Bush administration thinking of doing???
"The Bush administration is likely to move its research on one of the most contagious animal diseases from an isolated island laboratory to the U.S. mainland near herds of livestock, raising concerns about a catastrophic outbreak."

By G in INdiana (not verified) on 12 Apr 2008 #permalink

GinIndy: I saw it, too. Given the experience in the UK at their F&M labs you'd think . . . .

Of course that would mean you were thinking.

It always takes an a-ole like you to question the good that some do and see the what you perceive to be a wrong.

If you think it is so wrong, call the ACLU yourself you whinner! Don't you think someone else has questioned this and called them already and it passed the smell test? Come on, if it is violating someones senitivities, there would be complaints all over the place, not just your lonely whinning. So write the govener and ask your silly questions you Godless, soul-less, faith hating, human. You oblious have no interest in helping people out with your tax dollars, so make sure no one else can and make sure there is still a good measure of suffering there in Missouri. You will feel so good that you made a difference for your fellow man making them suffer all the more and made sure no Christian organization did not help them. What an idiot, who cares who helps tham as long as they get help. I bet you wouldn't even mention this if the tax money went to Islamist organizations helping the needy.

By bigdudeisme (not verified) on 14 Apr 2008 #permalink

G&Revere.... Well, just about every state has a bug lab of some kind now. One day something will get out, kill a shit load of people and they'll impose new regulations that will be there until the next accident. Its like Vieques in Puerto Rico... They didnt want them shelling the island any more. So the Navy packed up their stuff and left. Now they are bitching because they left. No jobs. Same thing here. They'll kill a bunch of people, then they'll leave and then someone will bitch about unemployment.

But I wouldnt call these faith based operations. They do serve a good purpose. Rev. Jimmy Stroud would go down to the jail and pull people out without bond and put them into the Memphis Union Mission where they wouldnt be on the dole and only waiting on a court date. Same applies to this and disaster relief. The lefties and the righties both agreed that to have an organization you have to have focal points. That means churches, synagogues, mosques and prominent businesses for them to collect and gravitate to if something happened. Those are groups that have always helped out in a disaster and maybe MO is onto something.

But, I would rather that they be contracted out and demand results because our public schools have become so politically correct that its impossible to teach. This is going to result in a whole new crop of criminals because without rules you got no respect.

Besides Revere, the lefties signed on for the above. Faith based organizations might just be able to take the little shits that we are producing now and keep them out of jail. they have no respect and even my kids are dumb enough to test me every now and then. You and your kids might be a bit different because you are educated but without religion down here the crime rate would be completely off the scale. It is the ONLY form of discipline some of them ever see. We are creating a permanent sub-culture of poor in the US to ensure that the progressives always have a disenfranchised, disgruntled group upon which to draw from when its voting time. But nothing ever changes except for the bills for it.

Guess what though? This is about to change. We are running out of taxpayers and they cant inflate the economy to produce the results we used to. The train wreck has started and its slow as these things are. In five years it will be bad, in ten devastating and poverty in America is going to be huge. Why? Because you cant tax what you have already taxed to get into the system. COLA's, Medicare, Medicaid, maybe some well intentioned but unpaid for mandate in UHC. Its all going to come to roost all at once. Think about money thats worth about zip. But we wont be the only ones. UK, France, Germany, Italy...

So maybe its better that we see these faith baseds get their shots at these people to see if they can turn them from the dark side of the force. Else with that poverty runaway crime will be the result. Is it the fact that they are faith-based that gets you or is it the use of public money? If its the latter then I agree. But in that agreement it goes back to the contracting. If the religious governor wants religious organizations in particular in this then we have to remember that he was elected on that morality base. Its an administrative function to contract them rather than a religious one. It will pass the smell test but it will have a tinge....and thats fine by me.

By M. Randolph Kruger (not verified) on 14 Apr 2008 #permalink