By Howard Bess
January 25, 2009
Editor’s Note: When the American Right began its dramatic rise in the early 1980s, one of its early slogans was “Defund the Left” — by gutting government-funded social programs managed by liberal organizations. Two decades later, George W. Bush’s administration went further, into “Funding the Right.”
In this guest essay, Rev. Howard Bess looks at how Bush institutionalized these political subsidies under the umbrella of his faith-based initiatives:
During the presidential tenure of George W. Bush, a very significant, largely unnoticed organizational innovation took place.
I am not writing about the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security is very visual. Anyone who travels is aware of Homeland Security. The agency has become a reluctantly accepted fact of American life.
Rather I am writing about the Bush administration’s Faith-Based and Community Initiative. With little scrutiny the U.S. government has fundamentally changed its approach to meeting the needs of Americans who are poor or in need of some sort of public help.