Update: MS Dept. Of Human Services returned my call and is going to check on whether or not any DHS money was used for event. Salvation Army has donated space in the past. Truth in Action may have provided their own transportation, etc. However, DHS/MDH do in fact support the Governor’s Healthy Teens for a Better Mississippi program – support seems to vary – whether in-kind (time, collateral materials) or directly. Will post follow up when find out exactly where money came from.
Video from the publicly funded faith based summit in Jackson, MS.
Salvation Army hosted the Healthy Teen faith based summit
On Tuesday, December 11 I attended a “Faith Based Summit” as part of Governor Bryant’s Healthy Teens for a Better Mississippi initiative (HTBMI). HTBMI is supported (read: funded in part) by both the Mississippi Department of Health (MSDH – as confirmed by MSDH representative in a previous post) and the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MSDHS) confirmed by Vera Butler at MDHS. Butler heads the abstinence education grant program for the state which is funded by a Title V block grant.
Although no Title V funds were used for the faith-based gathering, it was supported by public funds. Butler is tracking down someone within her agency she hopes can tell me how. She is the coordinator of the program,which means she is in charge of aggregating data and narratives from around the state to fulfill grant requirements and apply for the next round of funding if needed.
This is all a very confusing business. For those of us who are entrenched in following federal and state funding as well as the layperson. But for this post, there are only a few things you need to know to proceed.
First is that I have met on two occasions Nycole Campbell-Lewis, PhD LMSW and state coordinator Governor Bryant’s Teem Pregnancy Prevention Department of Human Services. Our first meeting was at the Governor’s teen pregnancy summit on December 6th. The second time was at the faith based summit Tuesday.
We made an 11:00 AM appointment for this morning. She cancelled the meeting after a brief text message exchange about wanting a list of questions prior to our interview. I told her I didn’t have a list of questions but instead an outline for a backgrounder meeting. I also let her know I was interested in discussing funding of the HTBMI overall and specifically the FB gathering. That is when she cancelled the interview and said I would have to go through the press office.
So, here is what I do know for sure.
Some form of public funds were used for this conference. Brochures list the MDHS as the contact agency for all things teen pregnancy and summit related. I know that what I sat through cannot accurately be called a faith-based summit. “Faith Based” implies “faith” – non-demoninational. In reality the event was a sales pitch by a Christian organization named Truth in Action Ministries (TIA) to dispatch a discipleship program called Community in Action (CIA). TIA is famous for anti-gay and other short-films that lament the moral decline of America. For example:
(Click here for TIA‘s take on America’s slide into Nazi-Germany-ism)
Testimonies were given by a handful of men who have successfully implemented TIA/CIA in their respective communities (see the TIA agenda below for names, church affiliation and location of each person speaking at the conference).
As you can see, Governor Bryant spoke at this conference. I met him briefly and made small talk. He told me he had a niece named Andy, with a “y” as well.
Governor Bryant at the faith based conference right before he went on stage