From 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to Main Street, USA, Beliefnet Washington editor David Kuo’s book, "Tempting Faith," about his struggle as a conservative Christian within the Bush administration’s Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, has sparked strong words of condemnation and support. Here's a sampling of the national debate over Kuo's story.
White House • Focus on the Family • The Church Report
Beliefnet Readers Respond
“When David Kuo left the White House, he sent the President a very warm letter, talking about how wonderful it was. He said, "two-and-a-half years later," after joining the White House, "I'm proud of all the initiative has accomplished. Building on the extraordinary work that John,"--John DiIulio--"started in 2001, we have advanced the cause of the faith-based groups, ensuring that they are treated fairly by the federal government and have the tools necessary to make their efforts successful. He said, "Ultimately, however, it's your staff's keen awareness of your unwavering support for this initiative that's made the difference."
When you're talking also--I know Karl Rove, we've asked Karl, did you say the things attributed to you? He said, no. These are people who are friends of many of us in the White House, when you talk about a Richard Land or James Dobson. These are people who are friends. You don't talk about friends that way. I don't--David has apparently written a book that has a lot of this stuff. I think we are going to need the benefit of being able to take a look specifically at what he says and how he frames it up, and all that, before we can give you detailed answers. I'm a little bit perplexed, because it does seem at odds with what he was saying inside the building at the time he departed.
--White House Press Secretary Tony Snow
"The release of this book criticizing the Bush administration's handling of its faith-based initiative program seems to represent little more than a mix of sour grapes and political timing. David Kuo's book doesn't hit shelves until next week, but excerpts released by media outlets paint the picture of a dissatisfied federal employee taking shots at the White House effort to connect faith-based nonprofit groups with legitimate societal needs. "Big media will no doubt play this story to the hilt in the next several weeks, because it allows them to take aim at two of their favorite targets: President Bush and socially conservative Christians. Sadly, Kuo's characterization of his former colleagues, bosses and mission--mischaracterizations, really--will be fed to the public as truth. "While Focus on the Family does not participate in the faith- based initiative program, we are allies with many who do--and they have far different impressions of the people and events documented in Kuo's book. Our support for the program is unchanged, and we applaud the president's hard work in reducing dependency on government programs while connecting people to their communities. It's a commitment that dates back to his time as governor of Texas and one that will be a large and important part of his White House legacy."
--Carrie Gordon Earll, Director of Issue Analysis, Focus on the Family
….Don’t be fooled by Kuo; he is someone who has been described as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” Don’t let his smarmy tones and pouty eyes fool you. Having done campaign work for several Kennedys, having contradicted himself and his own letters, Kuo is being used to try and prop up the liberal left, to breathe life into lifeless campaigns and his master literary work is a mere smokescreen. Questioning the faith and motivation of this administration is wrong. Millions of dollars are being given to faith-based groups, religious charities are being treated equally under the law and each day the armies of compassion move forward with the agenda that the Bush-lead White House outlined in 2001.
David Kuo forgot one important lesson: Judge not lest ye be judged.
--Jason T. Christy, publisher of The Church Report