02 January 2006

Frank James of The Chicago Tribune runs through the laundry list of lawsuits pending against faith-based groups accused of proselytizing while they provide the community services they’re funded for. A number of the cases are familiar: Silver Ring Thing’s high-budget altar calls, and the recent jailing of Catholic pot possession convict, Joseph Hanas, after he complained that the Pentecostal rehabilitation center to which he’d been sent had called his Catholicism “witchcraft.” It’s good to see these stories written about, and a reporter attempt to connect the dots between official party line, federal funds, and the actual faith-based operation working on the ground, even if a line at the end of James’ report — that he wasn’t able to find out what taxpayer money went to support Inner City, the Pentecostal rehab center mentioned above — suggests the difficulties in reporting on these groups and their tangled connections to Bush’s Faith Based Initiative.