[Hpn] Faith-based funds to chill "social justice activism"?

Tom Boland wgcp@earthlink.net
Mon, 19 Feb 2001 09:12:51 -0800 (PST)

Will federal funding for "faith-based services" mute "church-based criticism" of social injustice? "Our job isn't just to provide (homeless) shelters, but to ask why they're needed." http://www.ocregister.com/community/faith00218cci6.shtml FWD Orange County Register - February 18, 2001 AVOID POLICY INFLUENCE, AUTHOR SAYS RELIGION: ACTIVIST CAUTIONS GROUPS GETTING FEDERAL FUNDS. By JAN NORMAN ANAHEIM -- Faith-based social services must not silence their voice for social justice in exchange for federal funding, evangelical activist and author Jim Wallis told a Catholic workshop Saturday. Wallis, editor-in-chief of Sojourners magazine, spoke at the Los Angeles Religious Education Conference at the Anaheim Convention Center, sponsored by the Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles. An estimated 30,000 people attended the congress, which ends today. Wallis' presentation comes less than three weeks after the creation of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. "It's not a new idea; it's not a Republican idea," Wallis said, pointing to Catholic Charities, which receives 68 percent of its income from the federal, state and local governments. "The politicians will fund results, not religion." Public funding for showers in homeless shelters shouldn't be denied to church programs, but the money shouldn't pay ministers, he said. On the other hand, religious groups that apply for such funding would be remiss if they stop questioning public policies that hurt the poor, he said. "Our job isn't just to provide (homeless) shelters, but to ask why they're needed." Ed Dunn of the Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights in San Diego, said that programs will always be at risk of losing public funding when they speak out. He pointed to legal aid for the poor that lost funding when they sued government agencies. Wallis said "Faith-based initiatives should never be dependent on government funding. Never." Magda Saborio-Saldona of Huntington Beach said she would favor government-church social programs if Wallis' safeguards prevail. "At first I opposed it because I felt that people would stop giving to charity if they thought government would pay." Michaeleen Saint-Laurent, a teacher at Rosary High School in Fullerton, added, "This initiative shouldn't be an excuse for government not to provide other services" for the needy. END FORWARD **In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, this material is distributed without charge or profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this type of information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.** Visit HPN for CONSTANTLY UPDATING NEWS on Homeless People: *************************************************************** Over 10,000 articles by or via homeless & ex-homeless people Been Homeless? Then JOIN! EMAIL Tom Boland <wgcp@earthlink.net> Nothing About Us Without Us - Democratize Public Policy ***************************************************************