I finished reading David Kuo's "Tempting Faith: An Inside Story of Political Seduction" last night. Melissa Rogers ( HERE, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and HERE) and Fred Clarkson (here) have written some of the best reviews of Kuo's book, so I'll just add a few observations.
The book left me bewildered about David Kuo.
There were sufficient hints throughout the book to conclude that he knew from the beginning that faith-based initiatives always had more to do with politics than with addressing poverty.
Kuo has documented nearly every danger that opponents of charitable choice and faith-based initiatives raised, but he never sees the forest for the trees. He still seems to think it is a good idea.
There are times when I believe Kuo has deliberately obscured the truth about the logic behind much evangelical support for faith-based initiatives. He credits Marvin Olasky's book on The Tragedy of American Compassion for providing the rationale underlying the charitable choice and faith-based initiatives which became the basis for the politics of "compassionate conservatism" (pp. 74-75). Olasky is an unashamed advocate for a Christian Reconstructionist theocracy.
A few pages later, Kuo faults critics of the theocratic thrust of much evangelical politics saying, "Conservative Christian faith did not mean Christian theocracy was a goal." (p. 83) The discussion that followed, however, makes it clear that he knew that what Olasky and other "compassionate conservatives" were advocating "wouldn't pass constitutional muster." (p. 84)
Kuo clearly knows more about the theocratic ambitions of many conservative Christians than he is willing to admit. He needs to be forthright and honest about this and help make clear a distinction between the "compassionate conservatives" who respect pluralistic democracy and the theocrats who are deliberately working to undermine it.