Here's FEMA's internet website on August 31, 2005, where it lists 17 organizations to which it recommends people donate for hurricane relief. In the top three is Operation Blessing, an organization founded by Pat Robertson, and which has had its share of problems.
Operation Blessing claims to be a "member" of, among other organizations, FEMA and USAID. Now I don't seem to remember when Congress approved those two federal government agencies actually having "memberships."
Of the 17 organizations on the FEMA recommended list, 15 of them are self-avowed Christian organizations. Convoy of Hope, for instance, which, at first blush, seems to be an organization that simply provides relief, describes itself this way: It began by networking with churches within communities to hold an outreach that would give away groceries, help people find jobs, and present the Gospel. So, it's "Here's a blanket. Want some soup? and, by the way, have you met Jesus?
Here's that same FEMA page today, after FEMA was shamed into making changes. FEMA added in a much more representative listing which includes other religious and non-sectarian organizations like Humane Society of the United States, United Jewish Communities, Feed the Children, and B'nai B'rith International.
Another interesting organization on the list to which citizens are urged to make cash donations is the Corporation for National and Community Service which describes itself as an independent federal agency. If memory serves me correctly, I make cash donations to the federal government in the form of taxes. Even in its description of what it does with its General Funds, this "Corporation" puts it this way:
Supporting operations and systems such as faith-based and community initiatives, technical & training assistance, research & development, recruitment and Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service.
The very first thing on this independent federal agency's list of what it does is support faith-based initiatives!
Thanks to Rep. John Conyers and PJB.