Weblog readers may have picked up from other publications a notion that evangelicals don't like Bush's plan to allow faith-based charities and organizations to compete for federal grants. In fact, Weblog believes most of these concerns have been mischaracterized as criticisms, rejections, and rebukes to the plan when in fact "critics" like Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Richard Land, Marvin Olasky, and others have all repeatedly supported Bush's plan. Still, the mainstream media has been busy characterizing religious conservatives as united in opposition. This week, evangelicals did unite, and actually came out supporting the concept of charitable choice—the underlying framework behind Bush's faith-based initiative. The resolution came out of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) annual convention, which wrapped up in Dallas yesterday.
Also attending the NAE gathering was John DiIulio, head of Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, who was apparently doing some damage control. DiIulio spent most of his time answering critics of his plan. "With all due respect, and in all good fellowship, predominantly white, exurban, evangelical and national parachurch leaders should be careful not to presume to speak for any persons other than themselves and their own churches," he said in a sharp response to some of his religious critics. "It's fine to fret about 'hijacked faith,' but to many brothers and sisters who are desperately ministering to the needs of those who the rest of us in this prosperous society have left behind, such frets would persuade more and rankle less if they were backed by real human and financial help." Many churches have ...1
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