Bill Berkowitz notes, rightly, that the Bush Administration's "faith-based initiatives" program seems to have dropped off the Administration's radar, and that legal challenges to it are working their way through the courts. On the other hand, most of the action has transferred to the state level, where block grant money has been distributed to religious organizations since the Clinton era.
My off-the-cuff reaction, though, is to say a program has to have had a legitimate purpose before it can be described as a "failure." Not that Berkowitz uses the term.
[..]Contra David Kuo, the point of this program was never to effect a policy solution, nor to enact a "compassion agenda". The change it aimed to make was a shift in how government pork was distributed, allowing small, mostly evangelical organizations to get their fingers in the pie.
It's accomplished that much, but it failed to meet its larger goal, which was to fund a change in political allegiance in the black churches. They've gotten into the game, true, and many of them are happy to use the money to meet pressing needs in their communities. But they're also smart enough to know that a little walking-around money isn't going to make those needs go away - and that the current Republican party will never vote for the social legislation needed to make a dent in the underlying causes of poverty and violence. Even if had they taken the lure, Katrina would have been enough to shake them off it.
By Nicole Belle — February 19, 2007