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Robertson’s Charity Has Been Big Winner Under Bush

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Under President Bush, conservative Christian leader Pat Robertson’s international “charity” Operation Blessing has increased its annual revenue from government grants from $108,000 to $14.4 million.

Ironically, Robertson expressed public misgivings about the Bush Administration’s “faith-based initiatives” back in 2001. “I really don’t know what to do,” Robertson told viewers of his TV show, The 700 Club. “But this thing could be a real Pandora’s box. …What seems to be such a great initiative can rise up to bite the organizations as well as the federal government. And I’m a little concerned about it, frankly.”

Guess he had a change of heart.

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Why should you be concerned that your tax dollars are helping to fund Robertson’s charity?

Consider that Operation Blessing has come under fire for questionable activities:

QUESTION MARK ONE: In the late 1990s, it was learned that Operation Blessing was diverting its medical missionary planes in Africa in order to pick up equipment for Pat Robertson’s gold mining operations in Zaire. Robertson refunded the charity out of his own pocket, supposedly to avoid prosecution.

QUESTION MARK TWO: Operation Blessing practices discriminatory hiring — it only hires Christians. (That’s not liberal speculation. It was confirmed last week by Deborah Bensen, the charity’s director of media and government relations.)

QUESTION MARK THREE: All grantees are required to follow guidelines that say federal money must not be used for “inherently religious activities.” But that’s a gray area. Operation Blessing provided money for a refrigerated trailer and computers for Lighthouse Mission on Long Island, New York, which proclaims on its Web site. “Through the love of God, the volunteers at the Mission help people in need on a daily basis through prayer and God’s Word.”

Doesn’t that mean federal money is being used for “inherently religious acitivities”? Operation Blessing says no. Others say yes.

The Bush Administration? It apparently has no plans to investigate, perhaps because it doesn’t want to upset its large conservative Christian base.

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This item first appeared at Journalists Against Bush’s B.S.

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About David R. Mark

  • lumpy

    only your first issue seems truly objectionable. the second is true of any charity. they all hire who they like by whatever criteria they choose. why is that a problem? the third is just silly. do you expect them to turn atheist because they got some federal money?

  • david r. mark

    Not every charity practices hiring discrimination, and you have no evidence to back that statement. It’s a violation of federal law. Whether the federal governent wants to enforce the law is another matter.

    Regarding point three — my opinion doesn’t matter. The question is whether the existing federal law is being violated. I don’t know the answer, but it’d be nice if the Bush Administration did.

    You do believe in following the law, right? Or should we only follow laws that are convenient?

  • http://biggesttent.blogspot.com/ Silas Kain

    One agency – The Internal Revenue Service. One word – AUDIT.


    And here’s to you, Reverend Robertson,
    Jesus loves you more than you will know,
    God bless you please, Reverend Robertson,
    Heaven holds a place for us gays
    Hey, hey, hey

    We’d like to know a little bit about tax breaks you get
    We’d like to learn how you help yourself
    Look around you and you’ll see our unsympathetic eyes
    Stroll around Leavenworth until you feel at home.

    And here’s to you, Reverend Robertson,
    Jesus loves you more than you will know,
    God bless you please, Reverend Robertson,
    Heaven holds a place for us gays
    Hey, hey, hey

    Hide the cash in places no one ever knows
    Put it in your wallet with your black book.
    All those little secrets coming out to bite
    Most of all you can’t hide it from the Feds.

    Koo-koo-ka-choo, Reverend Robertson,
    Jesus loves you more than you will know.
    God bless you please, Reverend Robertson,
    Heaven holds a place for us gays
    Hey, hey, hey

    Sitting on a church pew on a Sunday afternoon,
    Sacrifices made to fund your cause.
    Laugh about it, shout about it
    You never have to choose
    It’s these poor suckers who always lose.

    Where have you gone, Lady Liberty,
    Our nation turns it’s lonely eyes to you.
    What’s that you say, Reverend Robertson?
    Lady Lib’s a lie and gone away,
    Hey hey hey.

    Poor Peppermint Patty.

  • http://njdc.typepad.com/ Jeff H

    The National Jewish Democratic Council is working this issue aggresively, seeking to end the funding and get the RNC to cut off ties to Robertson. For more, please go to this link