Early this month Pat Robertson picked up a half million dollars from government coffers. The money came from discretionary funds administered by Bush appointee Tommy Thompson at the Department of Health and Human Services, reports Working for Change.

Specifically, it was Robertson’s faith-based charity called “Operation Blessing” that received the cash grant.

Ironically, the star of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) was once critical of the program to fund social services through religious groups. He referred to the Bush “faith based initiative” as a “Pandora’s box” that once opened might benefit such groups as Scientology or the “Moonies.”

However, now that “Pandora’s box” has turned into a cash box for the good reverend his criticism has apparently ceased. He certainly didn’t turn down the grant.

According to reporter Bill Berkowitz “Operation Blessing” once blessed CBN with a $2 million dollar grant of its own. Perhaps that’s why the Robertson charity has its own critics.

Pat Robertson the head of Christian Broadcasting Network once condemned the Bush “faith-based initiative,” which is designed to give money to religious groups for social service programs. The TV preacher said he was worried that “cults” would exploit such funding.

However, Rev. Robertson apparently has changed his mind and accepted $500,000.00 from Uncle Sam for his “Operation Blessing” reports the Washington Post.

The grant to the Robertson charity was one of 25 dispersed yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

There are many groups called “cults” that have programs, which they claim, are designed to help the larger community. Critics have charged that such programs are often little more than fronts for proselytizing.

Scientology promotes “Applied Scholastics,” which has been endorsed by President Bush Sr., Barbara Bush and Mr. and Mrs. Colin Powell. The Krishna Consciousness movement runs soup kitchens. And Rev. Moon’s Unification Church has sponsored abstinence programs through “Pure Love Alliance.”

It is not clear what “cult” organizations may receive a share of the $30 million dollars being doled out by the Bush program this year. But it is likely that some “cults” will at least try to get their own piece of the pie.

It seems improbable that religious groups known for fervent proselytizing can somehow compartmentalize their core beliefs when doing “social work.” But President Bush thinks so. And Pat Robertson once a staunch critic of this controversial formula, has now become its first “poster boy.”