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Bush, Cheny contradict

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A seemingly irreconcilable contradiction is baffling me. On the one hand, President George W. Bush is unrelentingly pushing his "faith-based social initiative," advocating channeling funding to churches and other religiously affiliated organizations in lieu of using government agencies at all levels to accomplish social and socioeconomic improvement goals. Faith is touted as a great vehicle, a powerful, dependable mechanism of change for the better.

On the other hand, we have Vice President Dick Cheney dismissing conservation from the administration's energy plan as nothing more than "a personal virtue." It would seem that Cheney regards faith in behavioral restraints for sustainably matching energy supply with demand as ineffective, if not undesirable.

The president regards, apparently, the ideological "feel" of providing for our society's needs as more important than the hard necessity actually to get it done.

OK, which is it? Should we have a faith-based missile defense system? Is more drilling the answer to Middle East peace and European solidarity?

Ivan Weber

Salt Lake City