Stealth promotion of federal funds for faith-based programs, or just a nice story?

As I alluded to earlier this week, SCOTUS decided to preclude taxpayers from suing the U.S. government over how it uses money via the White House’s faith-based and community initiatives office. The case involved funding for conferences that inform religious organizations on how to get the federal money.

This evening, the Plain Dealer posted this article, which I would guess will be in print tomorrow, “Feds fight gangs by strengthening families.”

Here’s where my background makes it sooooo easy to see weaknesses:

1. I worked in a children and family mental health agency.

2. I just read the SCOTUS decision on Monday and I read how proponents of faith-based funding lamented how services would never occur without the money.

3. When I read “feds fight” and then read “strengthening families” – it’s like reading code language to me for: look at how nicely the federal taxpayer money that’s being used by faith-based initiatives is being spent.

But did the news item mention the SCOTUS decision?


Did the news item mention the faith-based part?

No. (Eight paragraphs into the piece, it says, “Family members participate in the program through churches that agree to offer it.” Earlier in the article, we learn that the kid-oriented part of the program is school-based.)

Is the program in fact a recipient of the faith-based initiative money?

Don’t have a clue, based on the PD piece. However, the G.R.E.A.T. website indicates that, at least for the main program, and I don’t know if also for the family component, the Bureau of Justice Assistance funds the program. (I also don’t know if dispersements go to BJA from the White House faith-based/community initiative office.)

Naturally, if there is in fact no connection to the faith-based office, then of course we wouldn’t read about the SCOTUS case. I get that.

But, if there is, it would’ve been nice if the reporter or the editor tied all this together. And it still could be just as positive a piece as it is now. Seriously. Especially since we do get a mention about some oversight – which is exactly what I want to see, especially if I can’t challenge the use of my taxes for social causes.

I left a comment for the bylined reporter re: might have been nice to tie it in. It’s totally within the realm of possibility that she had done that and it was edited out. I don’t know.

But I hope to hear more about it.

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