Thursday, October 19, 2006

Breath of 'Fresh Air'

Caught a terrific 'Fresh Air' episode on NPR yesterday, featuring David Kuo, former White House official in the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. He has written a book called "Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction," all about the misrepresentations this administration has made about its true religious intentions.

Kuo's testimony was striking in its candor. He took the job because he saw it as a terrific opportunity to help the poor--or rather, help the administration help the poor. However, Kuo quickly realized that his responsibilities fell more along the lines of getting faith-based groups into the Republican corner, rather than putting government support in the corner of the faith-based groups.

Kuo hit the nail on the head when he said Jesus knows no political affiliation, and doesn't distinguish right from left. Jesus' mission was to serve the poor. Kuo saw his personal mission as serving Jesus. His job did not align with those goals, and now Kuo is calling out the troubling disconnects.

That's the tough thing about politics: Its functions often override its strategy. By that, I mean the mechanations of rallying voters, getting elected, and fundraising overshadow the actual policy creation ... essentially, the lifeblood that stands the best chance of saving the poor.

Kuo's testimony adds an interestng angle to the social justice discussion. Any administration of any affiliation is capable of enacting social justice. I agree with Kuo--religion is not, nor should it be, a party issue. Yet that is exactly what has happened, and with disastrous, divisive results.

Anyway, check out the audio archive, and let me know what you think. (Personal chuckle moment: Kuo referring to Bush's idea of himself as "pastor in chief.")

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