Sunday, October 22, 2006

What a surprise

Stephanie Salter: Putting faith into action dangerous in Washington Terre Haute Tribune-Star (IN)

TERRE HAUTE — Something strange is happening to David Kuo. The former deputy director of the White House office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives is losing his right-wing, conservative Christian credentials. Fast.

Before taking the White House post, Kuo worked for and with the créme de la créme of the Christian conservative right, most notably, Pat Robertson, Ralph Reed, John Ashcroft and William Bennett. We are talking speech writing and strategizing, not coffee fetching. He also has composed articulate essays on about Jesus and a Christian nation’s responsibilities to its poor.

Kuo’s zenith, of course, was his two-plus years as second-in-command in the Faith-based and Community Initiatives office in the White House. Created by George W. Bush, the program was, Kuo said, “my dream come true.”

Kuo left the Bush administration of his own accord in December 2003. At least 20 months ago, he began publicly to say why. Especially among White House senior staff, when it came to action instead of words, to funding instead of photo ops, “there never really was great concern over what he [President Bush] called ‘the poor people stuff.’”

Back in February 2005, when Kuo shared that disillusionment with Beliefnet readers, barely a flutter occurred in Washington or in Christian-right circles. But Kuo made the mistake of putting his criticisms between hardcovers. “Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction” (Free Press), appeared last week.

In it, as generous excerpts all over the Internet reveal, Kuo expands on his Beliefnet revelations. Still admiring of Bush, Kuo nevertheless delivers a picture of the administration as manipulative, politically craven and, often, contemptuous of the evangelical Christians to whom it has so tightly tied its identity and moral authority.

Kuo writes that, in addition to “the poor people stuff” getting the short end of every budgetary stick, policy makers in the White House made fun of such evangelical loyalists as Robertson, Jerry Falwell and James Dobson. Respectively, Kuo writes, the three were termed “insane,” “ridiculous” and “had to be controlled.”

As Kuo told Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes” last Sunday, “You name the important Christian leader, and I have heard them mocked by serious people in serious places.”

White House staff, Kuo says in his book, mocked “the millions of faithful Christians who had put their trust and hope in the president and his administration. Bush knew his so-called compassion agenda was languishing and had no problem with that.”

Much of Kuo’s book — he has tried to explain — deals with his own relationship to Jesus, God and Christianity. His scope is considerably broader than White House hypocrisy. His pointed criticisms also include plenty of Democrats and their party’s approach to legislation, which Kuo has described as “allergic to faith.”


That's the problem, both parties are "allergic to faith". The Republicans "get religion" every two years, but mostly work on taking care of their real constituency....the "economic conservatives" who are cutting taxes and running the government on a Nation-State sized Option-ARM and the "neo-cons" who thought invading Iraq was a brilliant idea. The Democrats go into hysterics and assume a fetal position in the corner when they hear of Christians acting out their beliefs in public life (I still remember listening to Prairie Home Companion half-jokingly suggest Evangelicals shouldn't be allowed to vote). We have the party of Mammon and the party of Berkeley liberalism. Not much of a choice.

1 comment:

Seven Star Hand said...

Hey Hoosier Daddy,

David Kuo's book, Tempting Faith, does nothing to dispel claims of an American theocracy as some are asserting. In fact, he has inadvertently provided stunning insights into their true nature and purpose. No leader of an empire ever truly believes the religions used to manipulate subjects. That would be like a drug dealer hooked on his product; its bad for business...

Understanding why religion is strong delusion

Christians often quote things like "know them by their fruits," yet after millennia of being duped into abetting blatantly evil scoundrels, many still don't understand the meaning or import of much of what they read. The same canon paradoxically propounds "faith," which means the complete opposite of "know them by their fruits," i.e., to discern the truth by analyzing deeds and results (works) and to weigh actions instead of merely believing what is said.

The deceptive circular logic of posing a fantasy messiah who urges both discernment of the truth and faith (belief without proof) clearly represents a skillful and purposeful effort to impose ignorance and confusion through "strong delusion." Any sage worth his salt could understand the folly of this contradictory so-called wisdom. This and mountains of evidence demonstrate that faith and religion are the opposite of truth and wisdom. It is no wonder charlatans like Rove, Bush, and others have marked Christians as dupes to be milked as long and as hard as possible. Any accomplished con artist easily recognizes religion as the ultimate scam and fervent followers as ready-made marks and dupes.

We now live in an era where science has proven so much about the vastness, rationality, mathematical preciseness, and structural orderliness throughout every level of our 11-dimension universe. Nonetheless, large percentages of people still conclude that these flawed and contradictory religious canons are the unmodified and infallible "word of God." People who can't (or won't) discern the difference between truth and belief are easily misled about the differences between good and evil, wisdom and folly, perfection and error, reason and irrationality, and right and wrong.

The fact that political leaders have always had close relationships with religious leaders while cooperating to manipulate followers to gain wealth and power is overwhelming evidence that the true purpose of religion is deception and delusion. People who are unable to effectively discern basic moral choices or to reason accurately are easily indoctrinated to follow the dictates of national and imperial leaders who wrap themselves in religious pretense. Truth and wisdom are direct threats to the existence and power of empires. That is why imperial leaders always strive to hide so-called secret knowledge and impose deception and ignorance upon their subjects.

What then is the purpose of "faith" but to prevent otherwise good people from seeking to understand truth and wisdom?