The Faith-Based Trojan Horse

April 8, 2003

By Tom DeWeese

After fifty years of having their heads handed to them by the liberals, you would think conservatives would finally figure out the game. But they don’t. Liberals use conservative terms, indicating family values, limited government and religious faith to slip through legislation that engorges government and reduces liberty. And they are able to do it – almost every time – with the enthusiastic support of conservatives.

* Sell the most intrusive federal education bill in history as “restoring local control with accountability,” and conservatives rush to defend its virtues – even though it was written by Ted Kennedy.

* Set up a massive billion dollar trust fund to provide the federal government with the means to condemn and grab private property and then add enough pork to entice any special interest group, then get a former Democrat and a turncoat Republican to sponsor it and call it “our nation’s conservation legacy,” all the while pretending it has anything to do with the Constitution’s guaranteed protection of private property. Conservatives tell us they must support the Conservation and Reinvestment Act (CARA) because they must not look anti-environment, property owners be damned.

* And now, we get President Bush’s faith-based initiative. We are told that the program is designed to be an innovative initiative to use private citizens in private programs in order to cut federal intrusion in our lives. If there were any hope of that happening, The DeWeese Report would be the first to endorse the program with banner headlines. It is not. Instead, the faith-based initiative is little more than a Trojan Horse for the federal government and its mass of conservative-hating bureaucrats to bring their brand of poison to the last bastion of resistance, the Christian church.

First, lookout for that double-speak the liberals are so good at dispensing to gullible conservatives. Note the title: “faith-based.” What does that mean to you? Is your faith Christian? Then, to you, faith-based probably means Christian-based. Therefore you believe that the faith-based program will enhance your church. You’re a volunteer. You help with the church’s homeless program. If only you had a little more money from the program, think what you could do. The government programs don’t work. Isn’t it about time someone in the government got smart and stopped trying to duplicate your work? Isn’t it time the government stopped wasting tax-dollars and put it into the hands of programs like the one at your church? Gotcha! That is exactly the pitch the Bush administration is selling. Only reality doesn’t match the snake oil.

There are lots of “faiths” in America. Many of them have nothing to do with Christianity. Environmentalists worship the Earth goddess Gaia. So do the Wiccans (you know – witches). Then there is the Americans United for Separation of Church and States, better known as atheists; certainly not Christian – but a religion under Federal guidelines. That makes it, by definition, a faith. Don’t forget, Jesse Jackson is the “Reverend.” What’s his faith? I’ll bet he’s got one to fit the definition necessary for a chance at the federal pie. Are you getting the picture? Conservatives – flimflammed again.

Second, as reported in the April issue of The DeWeese Report (Vol. 7, Issue 4) federal money will corrupt the charity system by bringing federal regulations into private operations. The compliance paper work, alone, will require full-time staffers and probably prove a bonanza to attorneys.

Public policy 101: Once a private organization accepts public funds – it is no longer private – nor is it in control of its own affairs.

In this day of anti-Christian federal policy which bans displaying the Ten Commandments in public buildings; blocks the use of school buildings by religious groups during after hours; and disallows student prayers before sporting events, conservatives must be aware of how federal policy is enforced. There is enough evidence to say without reservation, that governmental shackles will be applied to any church taking federal dollars. First, regulations will require that no religious material will be permitted in soup kitchens or shelters in which government funds are used to provide the service. The giving of bibles or tracts or discussion about the bible to those aided by the shelter will be prohibited. Churches will be effectively silenced if they take those funds. History proves this to be correct. Liberal groups like the ACLU will file suit to make it so. Today’s mantra of separation of church and State will assure that they will win.

It won’t help to argue that amendments can be made to the law to assure that government checks may be issued with no restrictions as to how they will be used. The liberals have a long history of funding their cause this way. Right now, the Legal Services Corporation (a program of the federal government) can write checks to almost any liberal cause, even creating new organizations to further their goals, with no oversight whatsoever. That is very bad policy. In the end, this is the game the liberals are playing in endorsing the faith-based initiative. More government control = neutralized Christian churches.

Need more proof? Then just look as a few of the folks who are endorsing the President’s government-cutting good deed:

Senator Charles Schumer (D,NY); “I agree with you that faith-based groups, which provide invaluable services to the most vulnerable in our society, ought to be eligible for federal funding.”

Senator Joseph Lieberman (D,Conn); “To his credit, I think the President has made a convincing case for the constructive contributions that faith-based groups can make to meeting real social needs.”

NAACP Chairman, Julian Bond; Quoted in USA Today saying that “his group is likely to reconsider its opposition to the faith-based legislation once Congress and the White House make several planned changes in the legislation.”

United States Conference of Mayors; 70% of whom are Democrats. This group knows full well how to maneuver federal funds to their advantage.

These are just a few of the very liberal leaders who are coming to the support of the faith-based idea. These leaders have never supported limited government. So what do they know that you and I don’t? Why do they support this idea? Did they finally come to their senses… or are they in full understanding of the liberal trap that’s yet again been set for conservatives? And the list of groups with their hands out, shamelessly endorsing their coming wealth, is almost endless, but includes: Habitat for Humanity, the YMCA, the Salvation Army, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (one of the most liberal Catholic groups in America), National Association of Evangelicals (which is part of the UN’s very left-winged, pagan, Religious Partnership for the Environment).

Conservatives beware! These should be alarm bells telling you that President Bush’s faith-based initiative is yet another wrong-headed idea that will lead conservatives down a path very different from where they think they are going. You are not going to get what you want with this bill.

If you want to help private groups with their charity efforts, then work to get regulations off their backs like, for example, the Americans with Disabilities Act, so they can spend their precious dollars helping those who need it instead of paying for government-dictated building requirements and lawyers. That kind of action will reduce government and get the liberals out of our lives – and it won’t cost us anything. Or reduce taxes even further so that private citizens can support the charities of their choice, with no strings attached.

These are the only ways in which conservatives can achieve their goal of less government and a more human, charitable world. Conservatives once knew as a matter of fact that only less government will ensure more freedom and quality of life. Some now need to be reminded that dancing with the Devil will not bring you salvation in the morning.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods ( He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.