The Boston Globe is running a fascinating series right now about the implications of Bush’s faith-based foreign aid.
The State department spends hundreds of millions of dollars every year paying contractors to deliver foreign aid — health care clinics, schools, clean water — to impoverished towns and cities in the third world. The Bush administration has doubled the portion of that aid that is delivered by faith-based groups, many of them evangelical Christian missionaries. The upside of this program is that missionaries often go places that secular social service organizations can’t, or won’t. The downside is detailed in today’s installment from Pakistan: Many of the missionaries are sent to Muslim countries, where they try to convert souls at the same time as they’re dressing wounds. This only convinces more Muslims that the American government is on a Christian crusade, while at the same time turning these missionary outposts into targets for violent jihadists. It’s an interesting story; check it out.