During the 2000 presidential campaign, a reporter asked George W. Bush if the Nation of Islam would be among the beneficiaries of "faith-based" funding. Bush demurred, insisting he had no intention of subsidizing those who "preach hate."
What a difference two years make. In October, the Bush administration announced its first round of grants to faith-based and community groups through a program called the Compassion Capital Fund. Among the 21 organizations to receive a portion of $30 million in taxpayer funds was a religious charity run by TV preacher Pat Robertson.
If White House officials were looking to break the campaign pledge about funding hateful religious figures, they succeeded spectacularly. One would be hard pressed to find a more prominent religious/political figure in American life who preaches hate as often and as vigorously as Robertson.
The Christian Coalition founder is on record hating virtually everyone who dares to oppose his agenda or to embrace a theology different from his own. Robertson has described Islam as "a religion of the slavers," Hindus as "devil worshipers" and Methodists, Presbyterians and Episcopalians as reflecting "the spirit of the Antichrist." In recent years, he's made vicious attacks on Wiccans, liberals, Mormons, gays, feminists and nonbelievers.
A federal grant to Robertson rewards bigotry. It forces taxpayers to support his ministry against their will and illustrates why the Bush faith-based initiative should be scrapped. Keep church and state separate!