Saturday, March 11, 2006

Onward, Christian Soldiers?

This would explain why New Orleans still looked like this when Bush arrived:

Chris, from Pennsylvania writes:
A group of men from my church traveled to Louisiana to help clear debris and assist in building some homes in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Are their other faith-based orgs out there that you know of that are providing similar assistance?

Jim Towey [Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives]
Hundreds actually. It has been phenomenal to see how many churches and synagogues opened their doors and converted their facilities to homeless shelters and feeding centers after Katrina hit. I have been to the region many times and I am in awe of what groups like your church did. And I have to say - please continue to help. There is so much that needs to be done in the months ahead, and for some residents, it may be years. The President at this very moment is there with Mrs. Bush meeting with officials in Louisiana and Mississippi and he will continue to attend to the needs of the displaced as well as those still in the region.

John, from Fairfax writes:
What is your office doing to implement recommendations made in the White Houses Katrina Lessons Learned report?

Jim Towey
Just yesterday, President Bush signed an order implementing one of the "lessons learned". He established a new faith-based and community office at the Department of Homeland Security to make sure that the armies of compassion are integrated with our disaster relief and recovery responses. For too long we have treated these vital groups as "candy stripers" when they have been the "foot soldiers".
As Don Byrd noted: "Churches are now the "foot soldiers" in "disaster relief and recovery reponses". I can hardly believe he said that!"

One look at New Orleans today, I can hardly believe it either.

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