Charitable Choices: Religion, Race, and Poverty in the Post Welfare Era

By John P. Bartkowski; Helen A. Regis | Go to book overview

3
Faith–Based Poverty Relief
Congregational Strategies

Coauthored with Louis Bluhm, Neil White, and Melinda Chow

Having provided a broad historical overview of American social welfare and religious benevolence, we now turn our attention to local narratives and practices of faith–based poverty relief in Mississippi congregations. In many respects, Mississippi is the ideal state in which to study faith–based poverty relief. Despite recent reductions in welfare caseloads, Mississippi has long been marked by high rates of poverty and public assistance use. The state also has a distinctive history of racial struggle. And like many of its neighboring states in the South, Mississippi features a highly churched population that is dominated by Southern Baptists, Black Baptists, and United Methodists. (The social and religious ecology of Mississippi is discussed more extensively in the appendix to this volume.) In this chapter, we explore the origins of faith–based welfare reform in Mississippi and the organizational strategies that local religious congregations have developed to minister to the poor in their communities. We outline four key strategies that local congregations utilize to provide poverty relief—intensive benevolence, intermittent relief, parachurch collaboration, and distant missions. We also carefully assess the motivations and implications associated with each of these aid–provision strategies.

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Charitable Choices: Religion, Race, and Poverty in the Post Welfare Era
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • 1 - The Welfare Revolution and Charitable Choice 1
  • 2 - Social Welfare and Faith–Based Benevolence in Historical Perspective 27
  • 3 - Faith–Based Poverty Relief 60
  • 4 - A Tale of Two Churches 86
  • 5 - Debating Devolution 101
  • 6 - Invisible Minorities 121
  • 7 - Street–Level Benevolence at the March for Jesus 142
  • 8 - Charitable Choice 160
  • Appendix- Milieu and Method 179
  • Notes 188
  • Bibliography 192
  • Index 204
  • About the Authors 214
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