During a trip to Uganda last fall, I travelled through small villages near Jinja, a city about 71km from Kampala and home to the source of the Nile. Young Mormons, wearing the uniform of crisp white shirt, black tie, nametag and backpack, walked from hut to hut.
They travelled in pairs: one white Mormon and one black Mormon. My driver and guide told me that having a black missionary made the approach easier. Presumably, the young black missionary would speak at least Swahili.
However, those rite-of-passage mission trips are funded by the church, enabled through strict adherence by congregants to its aggressive tithing requirements.
But it is when mission trips - by any other name - are funded by US taxpayer money that we must put a stop to it.
George W Bush ushered in an era of unprecedented funding to faith-based (read: Christian) organisations.
The US has always funded religion in one way or another - think of tax-exempt status for churches and all houses of worship no matter the religion and multi-million dollar support of Catholic hospitals.
But Bush's vision was special. Billions in US taxpayer money was doled out to the Evangelicals who got him elected, a de facto payoff. The funds came through virtually every department under executive branch oversight, including the Department of Defense, Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services