The Religious Right Picks Up the Tab

Of the privately funded trips made by White House aides since 2006, guess who picked up nearly a quarter of the tab?

Churches and other religious entities.”

The review of government records, undertaken by The Hill, found at least 24 trips for staff members to President Bush were paid for by churches or other religious groups. Faith-based organizations paid for the most travel in the time period, followed by universities and think tanks, which paid for 15 trips each.

Groups paying for trips include the United Pentecostal Church, the Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.

Among presidential aides, the most frequent traveler was Goeglein, a former special assistant to the president considered a key part of the president’s political team. He took 23 trips worth more than $23,000.

[Former White House aide Tim] Goeglein, who is close to Bush’s former top political aide Karl Rove, often served as the president’s liaison to social and religious conservative groups and helped found the Faith-Based Office.

Rob Boston, a spokesman for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State , said his wish is to see the office shut down altogether.

“The office has become a system of rewards for conservative Christian groups who support the Bush administration,” Boston said.

This story is yet another example of how this administration has no respect for separation of church and state.

Does anyone really think it would get any better in a John McCain presidency?

Barack Obama may be expanding the Faith Based Initiatives office, but paradoxically, he is making it more secular than before. I would think a man who taught Constitutional Law would not let the Religion Right pay their way into his policies.

As Joseph Conn from AU puts it:

White House staffers and Religious Right lobbyists are singing from the same hymnal, and the Religious Right often picks up the tab.


  • David D.G.

    At least these are cases of the churches picking up the tab instead of the taxpayers doing so. But I agree completely that this “Faith-Based Initiative” nonsense has got to go.

    ~David D.G.

  • justin jm

    Look on the bright side; the more money they blow on these trips, the less goes to preaching. Seriously, though, this whole deal is wrong. The government has enough money to fund its own trips, and if it doesn’t, carpool.

  • Amy Black

    I always feel weird during atheist political discussions because I side more with the right than the left.

  • BK

    I say let them do it – church tithes are a tax on the gullible and foolish, much like the state lotteries. If the ‘faithful’ are willing to pay for it, then I don’t have to. I’m all for faith based initiatives – saves me money that I can direct to good causes.

    That being said, the fact that the administration is so much in bed with the ‘faithful’ is disturbing. I thought it was “of the people, for the people, by the people” – and some (many) of those people are not superstitious and do not feel the need to impose their fantasies on others.


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