Friday, May 19, 2006

That Loving Faith Based Organization?

Dear President Bush,

You repeatedly have said government cannot love, implying faith based organizations are the better dispenser of such. There are numerous examples of inappropriate physical love administered by religious leaders. The news ran two such stories today of Catholic priests abusing children. It turns out they can also pick the pocket of unwary churchgoers.

In Colorado a former pastor and his two associates have been arrested on fraud charges. Investors were recruited through evangelical meetings. The three Colorado Springs men bilked 350 people of their money, much of it from 401(k) and retirement accounts. The con men purchased a corporate jet, a $600,000 home, and real estate in Colorado and Florida. The cons netted $23.8 million in their evangelical scheme and investors expect to lose much of their money.

In Connecticut a private investigator found another faith leader used at least $200,000 in church money to support the priest’s lifestyle with a male companion. Personal trips and jewelry were charged to the church’s credit card.

The inappropriate love in the news today included the Spokane Washington diocese’s attempts to settle sexual abuse cases via bankruptcy court. That diocese has 185 cases of alleged sexual abuse. A priest in Hawaii pleaded guilty to molesting a boy over 60 times during a 3 year period. When asked why he pled guilty, the priest replied “Because it is true.”

These cases show faith based organizations are susceptible to the same imperfections as government, corruption and inappropriate behavior. Your assertion that government cannot love is as categorically untrue as faith based organizations are the only ones that can. Both can do good and both can do bad. Please keep this in mind as you lead our country.

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