Freethinkers Criticize Faith-Based “Pork”

Faith-Based White House Creates “Level Praying Field”

(Madison, WI) The Freedom From Religion Foundation is protesting “faith-based pork” and the public funding of “boondoggles” through the White House Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

At the most recent conference, held in Denver on January 13, free lunches were provided for participants, who numbered about 1,000.

“We were appalled and shocked, at this economically uncertain time, with so many Americans living in poverty, that 1,000 individuals would literally ‘feed at the public trough’ and be instructed on how to get more faith-based ‘pork’ thrown their way,” wrote Foundation spokeswoman Annie Laurie Gaylor to the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.

Gaylor pointed to a revealing slip of the tongue by Jim Towey, director of the White House Office. Towey praised Pres. Bush at the event for creating a “level praying field” (he later said he meant “level playing field”).

She added: “It boggles the mind that Attorney General John Ashcroft suspended all his other important duties in order to give a pep talk for religion at this public-sponsored event.”

The Foundation has won the only explicit challenge of direct faith-based funding to be fully adjudicated, challenging federal funding of Faith Works in Milwaukee. Freedom From Religion Foundation v. McCallum & Faith Works, 00-C-617-C, Jan. 7, 2002.

The federal judge ruled that Faith Works is illegal public-funded indoctrination, although as a candidate Pres. Bush had singled out Faith Works as a prototype of faith-based funding.

The Foundation has asked the office of faith-based funding for full disclosure on its budget, and the cost on the three White House faith-based conferences held to date. The Foundation also asked the office to cancel any future faith-based conferences.

“Not only are your office’s schemes largely untested, but they are for the most part being carried out without the approval or oversight of the U.S. Congress,” Gaylor wrote Towey.

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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