Magazine article Church & State

Iowa Religious Right Group Awarded $3 Million in 'Faith-Based' Funds

Magazine article Church & State

Iowa Religious Right Group Awarded $3 Million in 'Faith-Based' Funds

Article excerpt

An Iowa Religious Right group received more than $3 million in federal grants for marriage counseling through the "faith-based" initiative, an online publication has reported.

The Iowa Family Policy Council (IFPC) received the money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reported the Iowa Independent. The tax funds were awarded even though the IFPC is not normally known as a provider of social services.

In fact, it is a state affiliate of James Dobson's Focus on the Family. The IFPC seeks governmental policies that "honor a biblical standard" and has led an ongoing effort to overturn same-sex marriage in Iowa.

IFPC Communications Director Bryan English told the Independent, "This isn't a civil rights issue. [Homosexuality] is a choice in behavior and as a Christian organization we don't believe this is a right, it is a sin against Jesus Christ."

The Independent reported that in 2004 and 2005, the IFPC received a total of $850,000 from the Administration for Children and Families' Compassion Capital Fund. From 2006 to 2009, the group received $2.2 million through the U.S. Healthy Marriage Demonstration Fund.

Those monies were parceled out in annual increments of $550,000 and were to be awarded to IFPC through 2011. In light of the controversy, however, the group said it would not accept the last payment.

Tax support for the controversial group sparked an immediate response. Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu wrote, "Given the center's religious orientation, its prejudices against a particular set of Iowans and its overtly political agenda, it would seem to defy logic and propriety for it to get taxpayer money. …

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