Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  If you broadcast our audio commentaries please consider a recurring donation to Black Agenda Report.

Obama Embraces Bush's Faith-Based Corruption

  • Sharebar
    Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version


    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford


    George W. Bush as his mentor, Barack Obama shamelessly dives into the political sewer of "faith-based initiatives," the Republican strategy to bribe the Black preaching class. Obama takes his cues from "W," who early in his first term lured hustler/preachers by the thousands into GOP ranks by grabbing them by the greedy-bones. Rather than prepare to cast out this great corruption along with the Bush regime, Obama adopts it as his own - a shocking display of cynicism and amorality. Obama's faith-based treachery will inevitably result in a weakening of the Black progressive tradition.

    We regret that the audio of this BA Radio commentary is no longer available.

    Obama Embraces Bush's Faith-Based Corruption

    A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford.  

    Broadcasters and others who desire an MP3 copy of this commentary should visit our Black Agenda Radio Archive page via the link at left.

    "Obama has become a convert to Bush's kind of evangelism: bribery on a huge scale."

    BushFaithBasedBarack Obama has wracked up a shocking number of betrayals of progressive ideals in the last several weeks, but his latest foray into the sewers of rightwing ideology puts him at the very heart of strategies developed by George W. Bush's presidency. By embracing so-called faith-based public policies, Obama has aligned himself with the most rightwing forces in American society.

    First, a brief history of what Bush called his "faith-based initiatives." Early in his presidency, Bush adopted two schemes developed by the Far Right Bradley Foundation, of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. One would allow churches and other religious organizations to use public money to take over public services to the poor, while at the same time cutting funding to public sector services in disproportionately Black, poor constituencies. The other Bradley Foundation project that became Bush administration policy was to provide public funds to private schools, through vouchers. Many if not most of these schools would be run by churches.

    Together, private school vouchers and church-based social services became the central domestic policies targeting Black America under President Bush. Vouchers and faith-based services were the Bush regime's tools of political outreach to African Americans. It would be more accurate to say that the two initiatives were designed to carve out a Black Republican constituency for Bush where none had previously existed, by offering billions of dollars in public funds to Black preachers. In a word, Bush would build a Black Republican base through bribery.

    "Bush's lavish use of public funds to solicit greedy ministers created grave divisions among Black clergy."

    To a large extent, it worked. Bush's faith-based initiatives and private school vouchers dangled unprecedented billions of dollars in the faces of the Black preacher class, and many were eager to cash in. The scheme was especially effective among previously nonpolitical Pentecostal clergy, many of whom suddenly became aggressively right-wing - in pursuit of federal dollars. It is widely believed that Bush garnered record-breaking numbers of Black votes in states like Ohio in 2004, based on mobilizations of Black ministers tied to faith-based Republican money. As should have been expected, Bush's lavish use of public funds to solicit greedy ministers created grave divisions among Black clergy, revealing a deep corruption in ministerial ranks.

    Now Barack Obama has again shown himself to be a rank opportunist, eager to use George Bush's corrupt scheme for his own benefit, as he seeks to attract voters deep in right-wing circles. In the process, he will further the "split" in the Black church and the African American body politic as a whole, with the inevitable result that the progressive Black tradition will be battered and weakened.  Once again, Obama has proven that he isn't about change - at least not change for the better. He has become a convert to Bush's kind of evangelism: bribery on a huge scale, under the guise of religious faith.

    For Black Agenda Radio, I'm Glen Ford.

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at

    Share this

    This Article Contradicts itself...

    What Colored Glasses are you wearing??

    Obama, Already has 90% African Americans, He does not need to employ George Bushes 'Divisive' Faith Based initiative...

    You are missing the point Ford,
    Its taking a misfired/devious IDEA, & making it Work for the PEOPLE...

    Exactly How Will Barack's "Faith-Based Initiative" Work For The

    First of all, I have to ask, how does what Glen Ford wrote contradict itself?

    I didn't see Glen say, "Bush's faith-based B.S. sucked but Barack's will rock". Didn't see that that, so no contradiction there.

    I didn't see Glen say, "Barack's faith-based propaganda will suck whereas Bush's was great for everyone". So no contradiction there, either.

    Explain the contradiction, if you please.

    Second, Obama has 90 percent African-American support. How exactly does that translate into not needing to employ Bush's B.S.?

    Finally, please, please, please explain how Obama is going to take Bush's "idea" and "make it work for the people".

    And exactly which people are you talking about?

    The government is not Bush

    The Faith Based programs were used as tool to stiffle African American opposition not only to Bush but American corporate policies in general. As we have seen with Senator Obama's rightward shift his goal his also to promote the American corporate agenda. Thus why not complete the circle and stifle the only real consistent dissenting group in the United States and that is African Americans. The corporate government is not just Bush or the Republicans. Senator Obama realizes that his adminstration in substance will not move from corporate rule so he nees something to keep the masses silent. This is the perfect mechanism to to accompolish those aims. The problem is most Americans political intellect is very limited. Thus under Bush Faith Based is bad but under Obama its good. This is simplified nonsense to its core.

    Obama may have 90 per cent, as Identier says, but he's tending to the poppy fields to make sure it stays that way.

    I'm not disillusioned, what troubles me is that the man is every bit as venal as I thought he was the first time I saw him speak at the Democratic convention four years ago, and like a lot of other people, I really wanted to be wrong. But he is a sideshow huckster, and we will be paying heavy dues for his emergence as a political leader. Eric Gairy U.S. style.

    Mark of the Beast

    Obama's Faith based initative is just another trick from Obama's magic act. Obama studied and taught Constitutional Law. He knows better but true to form his doesn't give a damn!

    An article in my local paper points out exactly what Obama's motivations are:

    "The Obama Campaign is mounting an unprecedented effort to attract votes from religious conservatives a group, whose overwhelming support was the foundation for Mr. Bush's two White House Victories." How can anyone with any type of progressive thoughts even think of voting for the Manchurian Candidate?! Or as Mr. Ford so perfectly coined "Damien the Omen."

    The article goes on to say:
    The Rev. Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, and a long standing critic of Mr. Bush's Faith Based Office told the Associated Press that "Mr. Obama was moving precisely in the wrong direction. "This [Bush] initiative has been a failure on all counts, and it out to be shut down not expanded" - he said.

    Barak Obama is very dangerous not just for Americans but the Whole World.

    Jeb Bush is doing his thing in Florida

    Between No Child Left Behind, Faith based School Vouchers and Booker T. Obama our children's chances of getting a good education or slim and none. And so many of them are the fast track for the "School To Prison Pipeline"

    I used to say I don't like Obamas Policies but now I have to say I just don't like him Period!

    There is an article on Alternet's Rights and Liberties Section Titled:
    Jeb Bush and his Cronies - Have Big Plans for Govt. funded Religious Schools in Florida.

    "In 1999 Jeb Bush pushed through the Florida Legistature an "Opportunity Scholarship Program that gave students in public schools state funding for tuition at religious and other private academies, Americans United for Seperation of Church and State and allied groups immediately challenged the voucher scheme in State Court.

    After years of legal wrangling the Florida Supreme Court in the 5-2 majority said vouchers violated a provision of the State Constitution requiring a Uniform System of Free Public Schools.

    Bush then went to Plan B He left office in 2007 but he and his top advisors crafted a backdoor maneuver to reverse the state Constitution and advance vouchers. They decided to stack the States Taxation and Budget reform Commission.

    State provisions like FL. are critically important now that the Supreme court is taking a less rigorous approach to religious funding . President George W. Bush urged states to delete the provisions from their constitution.

    If Fl adopts the Bush Brothers approach the major political campaigns in other states are certain to follow."

    Now they have a good friend on their side, in the Person of that Shyster Booker T. Obama.

    On a bright note though everyone if you get a chance Dr. Lenore Daniels on Black Commentator wrote a beautiful article about a beautiful teacher in The LA School District. Her name is Karen Salazar, she is Second Year English Teacher Because she doesn't have Tenure yet she is under threat of termination by get this - An African American principle - for teaching to Afro Centric!! She teaches the Autobiography of Malcolm X among others. Her students and some colleagues are fighting for her and there is Video on You Tube. Please check it out and pass it on!


    Clintons Also Considered Faith-Based Policyes

    It seems the idea of faith-based initiatives did not necessarily originate with the Bush administration.

    Of course he masterfully and calculatedly put in place a program that mostly benefitted the evangelical right. However, the idea of faith based initiatives may have originated under the Clinton administration.

    There was a 1996 law banning the federal government from discriminating against religious organizations seeking funding available to groups delivering social services.

    The Clintons supported this nlegislation, and Senator Hillary Clinton affirmed this support in 2005:

    A split in the church ranks???

    Glen Ford writes ‘. . . he will further split the Black church and the AA body politic as a whole, with the inevitable result that the progressive Black tradition will be battered and weakened.’

    NOT! Have you seen the kool aid drinkers, the adoring crowds, the tent revival fainting spells, the bumper stickers, etc.? These folks are hog wild about Obama. To them, getting a black man in the White House is ALL that matters – to some it is better than winning Lotto.

    Just how many black preachers have criticized ANYTHING Obama says or does not say? Not too damn many and those that do will not see any significant media time to express their misgivings to the masses. Even blustermeister Reverend Wright goes silent on challenging his former congregant to step up to the progressive agenda plate.

    Progressive tradition, be it black, white, religious, or whatever is beyond saving. These self defeaters have and will continue to shoot selves in the foot by 1) not demanding from vote seeking politicians any commitment to a progressive agenda and holding accountable those who offer promises only to disappoint grandly once in office; 2) total fealty to the Democratic party as opposed to independent promotion of progressive issues.

    Regardless of what Obama does with his faith-based program – or any program, he will continue to have the undying loyalty and support of 90 percent of the black preacher lobby along with its faithful flocks.


    What will it take for the Americans who support Obama to see through him. I am a white independent American. I vote for the person, not the party. This election has made me just heart sick. Obama had a chance to really change things in America, but look what he has done. All the ideas, speeches, etc. he claims are his he has taken from others. I read over at, what he really did in Chicago. He did not help those people. I also know that I probably won't be allowed to post here again but I have to say this. I think I am a very objective person. I really get tired of people trying to form a comspiracy with the GOP and Obama. Look, the DNC, the leaders of the Democratic party, and Obama did this. If you really look into the bills that have been passed, it is the Republican party who mainly has tried to help African Americans. The Democratic party has just used the race card and promises to get votes...what have they done for all of you...NOTHING. The one person or I should say 2, who have had your interest at heart are the Clintons. Now they have been thrown under the bus. Look how Obama is flip-floping. What does he tell you all, you need to be better fathers. Obama and the Dems want to keep us all divided as that is how they fool everybody. Alot of you probably disagree with me, but I honestly feel like this. If Obama had been true to the African Americans he would have tried his hardest to set a really good example of honesty, but NO, he is doing exactly what Rev Wright said, he tells everyone what he thinks they want to hear. His ego gets bigger and bigger, and each time it does he feels more free-er to toss people aside. He is only out for himself and each throw away is a calculation of what votes he can get. In the meantime he tries to divide us all even more. I don't know how people can support him. I read something somewhere that said why isn't Obama addressing the needs of the African know why, he can't. He can't because he is by definiton an Arab American..he is almost 44% Arab, 50% White, and 6% African American. He can't relate to what you all have been through. And to be honest, I really don't think he cares. Just like in some of his ads, he is white when he feels white will help him, African American when he thinks that will help him, this guy is a danger to our country. I am sorry if I have offended anyone but I am just sick of the way he does things. Alot of my friends are African American and it really makes me angry because I feel he is disrespecting them and actually all of us Americans by making us look like we are too stupid not to see through him. How many lies will he get away with. We all need to stand together and say No...we will not allow you to use us or our country for self profit. I myself am voting for John McCain, and I will also vote for anyone who opposes Obama, Those who have jumped on board with Obama don't deserve to be re-elected as they are themselves out for their own profit. I say this because this man is not right to lead our country and I don't see how they could endorse such a person.

    Paranoid Fruitcakes...

    OMG what & where is this place...

    Dameion, Manchurian candidates, & the sickness of USAPROUD. the baleful expectations of doom & tragety overflows.

    Adios People!!

    This wolf is pretending to be a sheep...

    USAPROUD, welcome to the world of free speech, free flow of ideas and uncensored speech. Your fear that you may not be allowed to post here again is based on your experiences with corporate media, where certain topics and ideas are censored especially if they have anything to do with advancing and spreading knowledge that will make us smarter and therefore, capable of making our minds up and making our own independent decisions without the spectre of propaganda.

    You may even find allies here!. But you must be prepared to support your ideas with facts not slogans and please, understand that this is a forum for progressive ideas that your Republican party regards as problematic since they cut through the BS that elevates corporations to the status of humans and humans to the status of pigs. It is your prerogative to vote for any buffoon out there, since you have no "chains to lose and no world to gain". You are a victim of capitalist exploitation but you have been inundated with the promise that you may become one of them if you work harder since you were born. You need to think twice before you expose your backward view of contemporary american political demagoguery and lack of knowledge of how this society is run by the rich, for the rich and is doomed to collapse sooner or later. That may happen tomorrow,next year, ten years from now, a hundred years from now,but collapse it will!

    I'm sorry for you. You have been brainwashed by the party of Reagan, something you share with Obama yet you think he is bad for America. How could he? Look at him again. Pay close attention to what he says. He says everything that has been said by every democrat or republican president in the past and then more, does'nt he? He has told you that he admires the guru of neo-conservatism, Ronald Reagan who, I have no doubt, is to you what Elvis Pressley was to music.

    You say, "a lot of my friends are African American". Tell me what you mean by that. I'll tell you what I think. I think you are like all other caucasian snobs. You are telling an African-American audience that " I have come down to your level, I look at you as human and I deserve credit and recognition for that. I am no fan or supporter of Obama, but you would never vote for a black man if he promised to let you marry his sister rather than rape her-something your ancestors did with monotonous regularity and are still doing to this day. McCain or Obama?. Toss a coin. You can't go wrong. Take that to the bank!


    Sorry but one thing that has been bothering me is this false idea floated by liberals and conservatives that this is a new idea that Bush had. This is not true. Ever since the Great Society government has been teaming with faith communities. In many parts of the country organizations like the Catholic Charities and Jewish Federation provide secular services and have been long than I’ve been alive. In fact, some of these organizations have long have large parts of their budgets for secular humanitarian work come exclusively from government grants, way before Bush got close to the White House.

    This is an old program in new dressing. What Obama is doing is rolling back Bush’s use of partisanship and religious inequality which characterized the “new” program under him. While I agree with some of the issues raised it is untenable to act as if this idea were pure pandering when it is in fact returning government grant initiatives back to their pre-Bush status. It was an excellent political move for Obama to “re=brand” this great society initiative, but little more.

    In a way it seems as if Bush has poisoned political discourse so much that we can’t even see the world as it was before his presidency. Or too many people are ignorant of the way in which our government has worked historically.

    It is disingenuous to represent what is basically a roll back of Bush's corruption as some new plan that seeks to do the same thing. Your analysis is so weak it is appalling.

    While I think there are legitimate issues for which we should criticize this policy choice and others that Obama has, many of the above reasons fail to accurately reflect the history of government-religious cooperation.

    In this issue history is our friend, and despite the current political climate, political history did not restart under Bush II.

    Obama the Arab?

    Is USAPROUD saying that Obama is an Arab and therefore not worth supporting? The ammount of Anti Arab racism that passes for "political commentary" in this country is shocking.

    That's exactly what he's saying comrade.

    Now who you are is determined by percentages? Those who say; "I'm 10% this, 40% this and so forth tend to be people who are running away from their true identity. In most cases people are running away from their Africanness!!. You have heard them insisting on being called black rather than Africa-American. They will tell you that they hate the hyphenated designation. Some, black as the African coal, will tell you that they are American. Of course there are many brothers and sisters who have no shame at being African. They insist on being called African.

    Let me explain that I'm not recruiting to fill our ranks as Africans. I could care less if you don't know who you are, because I know who you are! USAPROUD is employing this uncivilzed and barbaric system of percentagizing identity. He says Obama is almost 44% Arab, 50% white and 6% African American. Almost 44% Arab?; how is that determined? He could have been 44% Arab but... but what? To top it all, my brother, Obama becomes Arab, not white, although he is 50% white!! USAPROUD knows that Arabs are treated as subhuman in this country. He did not think about what to say. He merely assumed that his audience agrees with him in insulting and villifying Arabs. The shame of all this nonsense is that he just might be right!. Obama is the leader of Arab haters, a leader of Muslim haters. Why does he run away from his name Hussein? Why does he treat Muslims as pariahs? I know, we think that Obama says anything to get elected. We are daydreamers. Obama will not say the truth when it comes to the Israeli oppression of Palestinians or the oppression and exploitation of Africans, mulattos, chicanos in this country. He can never talk about racism. If he does, it's to deny its existence. He will not say anything negative about white absent fathers, although many white kids are walking the streets of this country without an idea where or who their fathers are. It has been said before, I'll repeat here; Curses are like chickens, they come home to roost...

    faith based program

    Whereas Obama offers hope in that he has knowledge of the constitution he must respect the separation of church and state and cancel all faith based programs