Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Shameless self-promotion: faith-based initiatives

Posted by Mollie

It’s an opinion piece, not a news article, but some of you might be interested in something I wrote for the Wall Street Journal’s Houses of Worship column yesterday. I took a look at how President Barack Obama’s faith-based initiative office compares with Bush’s. After reminiscing about some of the warnings that Bush’s office was leading the country to a theocratic form of government, I wrote:

Now that Mr. Bush is gone, however, no one seems particularly worried about the entanglement of the federal government with religious organizations. A recent study sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that President Obama’s “faith-based initiative has so far generated little of the contentious press coverage associated with Bush’s effort.”

According to Pew, the media ran nearly seven times as much coverage of President Bush’s faith-based initiative during his first six months in office as President Obama’s. And the stories on Mr. Bush’s initiative were almost 50% more likely to be on the front-page, emphasizing the controversial nature of the program. The stories on Mr. Obama’s initiative were buried deeper in the paper and focused on procedure. Few, if any, stories questioned whether the current president would use his office to advance a religious agenda, a major theme of coverage during the Bush ­administration.

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