Faith-Based Initiatives Shift Constitutional Separation

August 18, 2004

Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer

On August 18, 2004 Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported that, "a study, compiled by researchers at the Rockefeller Institute of Government in Albany, N.Y., is one of the first comprehensive looks at administration efforts to redirect government grants to churches and other faith-based groups... Taken together, the report finds that the Bush programs 'mark a major shift in the constitutional separation of church and state'... The study focuses on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which has set up faith-based branch offices in 10 federal agencies ranging from the Department of Health and Human Services to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Administration officials say the faith-based initiative is meant to merely 'level the playing field' so churches and other religious groups can compete for billions of dollars the federal government hands out each year through government social service contracts... Most of the report relies on the government's own statistics and Bush administration statements about expanding church involvement in social welfare programs."