Gorski's Position On Faith-based Programs>
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In The New York
Times On April 11, 2001, Laurie Goodstein reported the results
of the most extensive poll to date measuring public response
to President Bush's faith-based initiative to make more
government funds available to religious social services. The
survey of 2,041 adults was conducted from March 5 through 18
by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew
Research Center for People and the Press. Here's a
summary of the findings:
Americans approve of giving government money to religious
groups that provide social services but only if the groups
getting the money are either Christian or Jewish and do not
proselytize to the poor or use religious guidelines in
deciding whom to hire,
75% favored "government funding of faith-based
organizations," an increase since September, when 67
percent were in favor.
75% believed that churches and other houses of worship
contributed to solving social problems.
78% opposed funding religious groups if they only hired people
of the same faith. (Permitting religiously based programs to
hire and fire their staffs using religious criteria is a key
part of Mr. Bush's initiative. And it is already permissible
under law, having passed in 1996 as part of the Charitable
Choice provision in the welfare reform legislation.)
Majorities of those surveyed were opposed to giving government
money to unfamiliar, non-Western or new religions.
62% opposed government funding for Muslim mosques,
62% opposed government funding for Buddhist temples
71% opposed government funding for the Nation of Islam's
74% opposed government funding for the Church of Scientology
48% opposed government funding for Evangelical Churches
49% opposed government funding for the Mormon churches.
60% were concerned that religious social-service programs
would force the people they serve to participate in religious
68% were concerned that government would interfere with
religious groups that accepted government money.
President Bush has
His proposal is open to all faiths and funding would be
awarded to social service programs on the basis of proven
results, not creed.
Religious programs will not be required to omit their
religious components and teachings to receive government
Faith-based Programs would be exempt from any employment law
preventing them from hiring members of their own faith.