May 2007 Church & State | People & Events

An official in the Department of Health and Human Services who founded a national group to promote the Religious Right’s view of parenting used his position to steer money to that organization.

Wade F. Horn, until recently the assistant secretary for children and families, allocated a “capacities building” grant worth $999,534 to an effort he founded in 1994 called the National Fatherhood Initiative, reported Cyn Cooper on the Web site, which monitors the Religious Right. Another $4 million followed over the years.

Horn founded the fatherhood group from his home in Gaithersburg, Md., 13 years ago with a $40,000 start-up grant from the right-wing Scaife Foundation. Its original name was the National Organization for Fathers, reflecting Horn’s objections to what he has called “radical feminism.”

Under Horn’s tenure, the HHS division began funneling money to “marriage en­rich­ment” programs based in churches as well as “abstinence-only” programs that were aimed at adults. He even arranged a grant to a syndicated newspaper columnist, Maggie Gallagher, who then wrote columns promoting the administration’s views on marriage and family issues.

Horn has always been controversial. Feminist groups opposed his appointment to HHS, noting that his views are reactionary and out-dated. Horn has publicly stated that men should run households because “the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church.”