Dark Christianity
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May 2008
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dogemperor [userpic]
Avast, Matey!: ‘Faith-Based’ Pirates Sail Away With Coast Guard Cutters

LJ-SEC: (ORIGINALLY POSTED BY [info]navytron89)



The “faith-based” initiative is closely tied to the Bush administration, which has been pushing for government-funded social services provided by religious groups since 2001.

But members of Congress have long sought to slip a little taxpayer largess to their favorite religious groups. Consider, for example, the curious case of Canvasback Missions in Benicia, Calif.

The evangelical group was given, courtesy of the U.S. Congress, two decommissioned Coast Guard cutters in 1999. As The New York Times reported on Wednesday, the group was supposed to use the ships to provide medical services to people residing on islands in the South Pacific. Instead, it sold both boats – without following the law and telling the Coast Guard first.

Worse yet, Canvasback Missions then dumped the money from the sales into its general budget, meaning some of it may have been used to pay for evangelism.

According to The Times report, Canvasback decided that the two cutters, the White Sage and the White Holly, would be too costly to maintain. The White Sage was sold almost immediately for $85,000. It eventually ended up in Nicaragua. The White Holly was sold a few years later for $330,000 to a company that uses it for eco-tourism around the San Francisco Bay. Neither ship was ever used to provide medical services.

Government officials were surprised. On decommissioning papers, the Coast Guard listed the ships as being used in the South Pacific.

Jamie W. Spence, president and founder of Canvasback Missions, told the newspaper that the sales are above board. He insisted that the money raised was used to provide medical and dental services to people in the Marshall Islands.

But there’s one problem: Like a lot of faith-based organizations, Canvasback mixes evangelism with its efforts. Once the boats were liquidated, the money ended up in a pot that pays for medicine and preaching.

The Times noted, “The Coast Guard ships were given to Canvasback for a secular purpose, providing medical services. But Mr. Spence said Canvasback did not isolate the sales proceeds; instead it mingled them with its general revenues, which also cover activities that include evangelism. And under most court decisions, evangelism cannot be paid for with federal grants.” (Spence insists the money did not pay for evangelism.)

This situation is bad enough, but The Times reports that it’s not isolated. As the newspaper put it, “The gift of the two cutters was one of almost 900 grants Congress has made to faith-based organizations since 1987 through the use of provisions, called earmarks, that are tucked into bills to bypass normal government review and bidding procedures.”

There’s a lot here to chew on, but one fact sticks out above all others: This abuse would not have occurred if lawmakers had respected the Constitution. We need to get back to basics. Religious groups should use money they raise voluntarily to pay for their endeavors and not expect handouts from the taxpayers. As for faith-based earmarks, they sooner they are torpedoed, the better.


And this is one of the reasons why I believe in eliminating earmark funding, let the churchs' get their own funds from their congregation and not take from the taxpayers, especially if they are a 503 non-taxable enitity.  

I think maybe Congress should repeal the tax codes on all churchs like the EU did and lets see how much funds are really slipping out of the coffers and into the pockets of not only the clergy but the politicians as well.

This group should be prosiciuted or at least fined for breaking the law and just because its a faith group it shouldn't get special treatment.

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