This MSNBC/ Washington Post article
talks about how huge the funding for faith-based and conservative groups has gotten:
Programs new under Bush
Most, but not all, of the money going to conservative groups has come from two programs that did not exist before Bush took office in 2001. The Compassion Capital Fund, which distributed $148.3 million from 2002 to 2005, was created "to expand the role that faith-based and community groups play in providing social services to those in need," according to the White House.
The Community-Based Abstinence Education grant program was enacted by Congress in 2001, and $391.7 million has been appropriated for it.
Beneficiaries of more than $2 million each from the compassion fund include five organizations run by black and Hispanic leaders who endorsed Bush and Operation Blessing, a charity run by television evangelist Pat Robertson. It has received $23.5 million, which includes $1.5 million from the Compassion Capital Fund and $22 million in surplus dry milk from the Agriculture Department.
Hundreds of struggling antiabortion and pregnancy crisis centers have received federal grants that often doubled or tripled their annual budgets, allowing them to branch out and hire staff, especially for abstinence education.
The Door of Hope Pregnancy Care Center in Madisonville, Ky., a small outfit of four part-time employees committed "to the belief in the sanctity of human life, primarily as it relates to the protection of the unborn," operated on an annual budget of $75,000 to $79,000, most of it raised from an annual banquet and a "walk for life." Last year, Door of Hope got an abstinence education grant of $317,017, allowing it to hire staff and expand.
The distribution of new money to conservative organizations is a small part of an estimated flood of $2 billion a year in federal grants to religious and religiously affiliated organizations. For decades, in Democratic and Republican administrations, well over $1 billion annually has been going to such groups, most of it to mainline organizations such as Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and Lutheran Social Services.
The shift under Bush in part grows out of the administration's Faith and Community Based Initiative. Under the initiative, White House officials and new offices in 10 Cabinet-level departments have aggressively sought to widen the "pool" of applicants for federal grants for all kinds. Faith-based organizations are encouraged to apply for grants to operate Head Start and subsidized housing programs.
But only Christian groups need apply.
Happily, there are people- including Republicans- who are becoming alarmed about this largesse, and what it is doing to secular programs once run by the government. Head Start was mentioned, but it is now being run by religious interests.
In addition to liberals, there are conservative critics of taxpayer funding of groups on the right.
Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, said the grant-making is "corrupting."
"The danger is that any group that gets money from the government will end up serving the interests of the state rather than the constituencies they are trying to serve," he said. "The guy who writes the check writes the rules."
Of course, it's OK to write the rules if it is to your advantage. He who has the gold, rules.