Corruption in the pulpit
I used to fuck men
A U.S. Faith Initiative for Africa
Secretary of State Rice and black pastors discuss a joint effort to fight AIDS.
By Peter Wallsten and Tom Hamburger
Times Staff Writers
May 29, 2005
WASHINGTON — Escalating its courtship of a politically powerful constituency, the Bush administration is teaming up with some of the nation's best-known and most influential black clergy to craft a new role for U.S. churches in Africa.
The effort was launched last week, when more than two dozen leading African American religious figures met privately with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and senior White House officials at the State Department, according to administration officials and meeting participants.
The hourlong session focused largely on how the administration's faith-based initiative could be expanded to combat the spread of HIV and provide help for tens of millions of children orphaned by the epidemic across Africa.
Some of the pastors said it was a matter of national security — that those orphans were susceptible to recruitment by Islamic extremists unless they could be exposed to churches such as theirs.
The gathering yielded no formal financial commitment from the federal government for the Africa effort. But participants said it marked a new era of engagement by black clergy with U.S. foreign policy.
The Rev. O'Neal Dozier, pastor of the Worldwide Christian Center in Pompano Beach, Fla., and a longtime Republican, said Rice's decision to huddle with the pastors gave them a "mandate" to craft Africa policy. He said the group had laid plans to meet again soon with State Department officials.
A senior aide to Rice, James Wilkinson, said the meeting reflected her belief that more African American organizations "need to get involved in the president's Africa agenda." Administration officials described it as a natural step in an Africa policy that has gained heightened priority under Bush in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and in the face of the growing AIDS epidemic.
If it goes forward, the collaboration could result in a substantial expansion of black church participation in the faith-based initiative, from a largely domestic focus to a broader overseas portfolio that pastors believe could make hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars available for the churches to combat AIDS and related social ills internationally.
The meeting was dominated, however, by evangelical pastors — many of them, like Bishops T.D. Jakes of Dallas and Charles E. Blake of Los Angeles, known to national television audiences.
White House strategists view black ministers as a path into a voter bloc that has traditionally been Democratic but is conservative on social issues such as abortion, school vouchers and same-sex marriage.
A relatively small group of sympathetic pastors has enjoyed extraordinary access to Bush and his top aides. Now, as the GOP outreach grows wider and more aggressive, some Democrats accuse the White House of expanding the promise of government grants to woo political support.
"I am concerned that this may be another enticement offered by the administration to African American clergy along the lines of the faith-based initiative," said Rep. Major R. Owens (D-N.Y.), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Sending U.S. grants to well-established faith-based groups in Africa such as Catholic Relief Services is nothing new. But a former diplomat who handled Africa policy under President Clinton expressed concern about an initiative that might favor denominations that were politically friendly to the administration.
Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman maintains a heavy schedule of meetings with black religious and political leaders and travels nearly every week to speak at historically black colleges. In addition, African American pastors are being courted by white evangelical church leaders, including the Rev. Louis P. Sheldon of the Traditional Values Coalition and James Dobson of Focus on the Family, who seek — and find — allies for their opposition to gay marriage and abortion rights.
In the first years of the Bush administration, many Democratic strategists dismissed the Republican outreach to blacks as pandering. But they no longer wave off its potential.
Some analysts maintain that the GOP's success in boosting the black vote for Bush in Ohio last year from 9% to 16% — an increase attributed to outreach to black pastors — secured the president's reelection. To fight back, the Democrats and their allies have launched an array of countermeasures, including last week's conference with ministers and the Congressional Black Caucus.
"We did not want these ministers to be in a position where they come to Washington, meet with the White House and just pass the black caucus," said Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), who is heading the group's outreach to pastors.
Cummings said the caucus was establishing regional forums, which would begin this summer, to educate clergy on national issues.
This month, a separate organization of black ministers backed by the liberal group People for the American Way met to mobilize black church opposition to President Bush's judicial nominees.
The group met May 6 at the Washington Hilton hotel to hear Democratic leaders, members of the Congressional Black Caucus staff and the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People blast Bush administration policies.
The leader of the black ministers' group, the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of Atlanta, said the effort was necessary to build a "countervailing force" against efforts by the GOP and their allies to woo black church leaders.
"We're losing ministers every week," McDonald said.
Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada has hired three new staffers to reach out to faith-based groups, including African American constituencies.
All this is about money. These corrupt motherfuckers are looking for a handout. That's it. They don't give a shit about AIDS at home, with their relentless homophobia, now they give a shit about Africa. Give me a fucking break.
The day will come when these sellouts face the wrath of their congregations for their naked greed. Or when they ask the GOP for something they will never get, like voting rights for ex-cons.
The Bush adminsitration is getting their parishoners children killed in Iraq and all they care about is having their TV megachurch. Well, the same racists who were pro segregation are now anti-gay and if they want to jump on that bandwagon, when they get treated like all blacks get treated by the GOP, with contempt and disdain, well, they were warned. The GOP has acted as if blacks were their mortal enemies and these money blinded fucks now want to cash in to get another custom suit and fancy cars. Living off the collection plate isn't enough for them. Now they have to sell their soul to the GOP as well.
posted by Steve @ 2:03:00 PM