2016-07-27

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 HouseFocus on the FamilyThe 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  

Beliefnet Readers Respond to "Tempting Faith"


In the midst of the partisan wrangling (on all sides) and the cynicism and disillusionment with the political process, your appearance on last Sunday's 60 Minutes program gave me some hope for America. Someone who puts conscience above partisanship.... I can remember when this wasn't a rarity! Hang in there: the mean-spirited attacks will soon move on to the next target of opportunity, but your courage will be remembered as one of the few high points of 2006.

 --Phelps Gates (Beliefnet reader, posting a comment on "J-Walking," David Kuo’s blog)


There are many ways to look at what the results will be of what Mr. Kuo has done. But in the end the most important thing is that the truth be told. I think Mr. Kuo tells the truth. What impact this truth will have on voters in Nov I do not know. I do think, perhaps, in the future leaders will think more about whether they are really doing the things they say they are. They might consider longer the chance that someone like Mr. Kuo will tell the truth and thus reveal their hypocrisy. And so, perhaps they won't engage in hypocritical acts in the first place. Perhaps Christians will be smarter in the future and inquire more into what the people they put into office are really doing what they claim to be doing. Mr. Kuo thank you for telling the truth. God bless you.

--john (Beliefnet reader, posting a comment on “J-Walking,” David Kuo’s blog)


David,

Thank you so much for coming forward. Please don't let the tremendous backlash that is sure to come get to you. Keep your focus on God, who loves you, and it is He who you need to be true, and to also show the truth of who Jesus is to the world--which, quite honestly, His name has been very badly misrepresented. The way this administration has been, and the "evangelicals" who "represent" Christians has been horrible and damaging. Christianity's image to the world, thus the image of Jesus to the world has resulted in many people being completely turned off to, and wanting no part of Christianity--including me, a Christian!

Stay strong and I will pray for you. Thank you again for speaking up. We need more Christians like you, Jim Wallis, and Tony Campolo.

--In Christ's Love, Annette Packard (Beliefnet reader, posting on “J-Walking,” David Kuo’s blog)



I just wanted to thank you for speaking up about this most vital issue... as a Christian I have been long appalled by things which are being done politically in the name of my faith, and as a student of social work had already been doing research which echoes much of your "insiders" experience of the faith based initiative.

Taking a stand for something true, and something right is never easy... I want to let you know you are being prayed for in the midst of all the firestorms you're dealing with. May the God of peace and truth be the Eye in your storm, and enable you to continue speaking truth, to the credit of our great tradition and all people who believe that faith is precious.

In Jesus' Name, Amen

--Kieran Conroy (Beliefnet reader, posting on "J-Walking," David Kuo’s blog)



Mr. Kuo: By your logic, if God is not 100-percent happy with what is going on with His followers here on earth, then He should simply abandon them for .... let's say, two years, just to teach them a lesson.

No. I don't think so, Mr. Kuo. Especially not if the end result of that 'abandonment' is to hand this country over to people who openly advocate a desire to rip any mention of God out of the fabric of public life.

One can only hope you would rethink your childish quest to teach us all a lesson.

To willingly give up our "right to vote" that was purchased by the blood of so many (Christians included) would be the ultimate snub, don't you think? DS

Dave Sommers (Beliefnet reader, posting a comment on "J-Walking," David Kuo’s blog)



Of all the self-appointed, holier than thou, sanctimonious, self-righteous, psuedo-pious Pharisees I've ever met, you David Kuo take the cake. Are you so arrogant as to assume that you (and only you) have figured out there is a difference between being a Christian and being a Republican and that if you let everyone know (in your breathless tone, like a junior-high girl with a bit of gossip) it would finally make you popular with the cool kids over at moveon.org? Christians should take two-years out of politics? Unless you are being deceitful and manipulative, just whom (and whose agenda) does that leave in charge? That is the real illumination, the real revelation, the real YOU. You were the one placed in authority and you proved to be inefficient and ineffective, and yet you point your judging finger at others. Just in time for the election. If your book and your interviews do what you want them to then every cause that Christians cherish will suffer, the new Democratic Senate will make certain that only a pro-abortion judge will be allowed on the Supreme Court, the new Democratic House will make certain to undermine every effort in the War on Terror, and all of our security will be further moved to the good graces of the UN and the ICC.
Hope you have your speech ready when the Democrats use you to headline their impeachment proceedings of the President. You have become a tool for those who hate our country and our faith. Take a bow.

--Dennis Castle (Beliefnet reader, posting a comment on “J-Walking,” David Kuo’s blog)



What do you say to those who are using your book as a hammer to bludgeon all republicans & the entire Bush Administration as evil hypocrites, & attempting to use this as a wedge to keep persons of faith who normally vote for conservative faith & family values?

-- Whitehorse (Beliefnet reader, posting a comment on “J-Walking,” David Kuo’s blog)
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