Magazine article The Christian Century

Faith-Based Compromise Surfaces in U.S. Senate. (News)

Magazine article The Christian Century

Faith-Based Compromise Surfaces in U.S. Senate. (News)

Article excerpt

A drastically scaled-back version of the White House's faith-based initiative has emerged in the U.S. Senate. President Bush's original $80 billion plan has been reduced to a proposal that will cost about $11 billion, and includes many provisions that will expire after two years.

"This legislation will not only provide a way for government to encourage faith-based programs to exist without breaching the separation of church and state, it will also encourage charitable giving as well," Bush said February 7. The bill crafted by Senators Joe Lieberman (D., Conn.) and Rick Santorum (R., Pa.) would create tax incentives to encourage charitable giving, remove barriers that prevent faith-based social service providers from qualifying for federal aid, and expand ways to help low-income working families save money.

Previous versions, including a bill passed by House Republicans last summer, were stalled by concerns about church-state separation and questions of whether some faith-based organizations would be permitted to discriminate in hiring while receiving federal funds. The new bill drops an expansion of "charitable choice" legislation, the 1996 welfare reform program that opened government funding to faith-based social service groups.

Under the new version, an organization applying for government grants cannot be "disqualified" if it has a religious name, has facilities that contain religious art, scriptures or other symbols, or has religious criteria for its governing board.

Lieberman said this new version should attract support from both parties, but he conceded that it still has to be reconciled with the more comprehensive House version. The legislation is designed to help stem what the White House calls a "charities crisis"--a decrease in contributions due to September 11 relief efforts and a weakened economy. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.