[Hpn] FW: United Methodist Social Action Agency Expresses Concerns about Faith-Based

coh coh@sfo.com
Fri, 06 Jul 2001 09:11:14 -0700

From: "Chuck Currie" <ccurrie@fumcpdx.org>
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 08:33:53 -0700
Subject: United Methodist Social Action Agency Expresses Concerns about


June 28, 2001
CONTACT: Erik Alsgaard (202) 488-5631

United Methodist Social Action Agency Expresses Concerns about Faith-Based
and Community Initiatives Legislation

The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) today
announced their opposition to House Resolution 7, legislation intended to
support and implement charitable choice and faith-based initiatives that
was marked up in the House Judiciary Committee today. Representatives J.C.
Watt (R-OK) and Tony Hall (D-OH) introduced this legislation in the House.

The GBCS said that they opposed the so-called "charitable choice"
legislation because it supports discrimination, it sets religious
providers at a higher level than non-religious, it gives religious groups
special treatment by allowing them to sue the federal or state government
if denied a grant, and establishes no safeguards to guarantee that tax
dollars will not be used for proselytizing.

"The United Methodist Church supports continued church-government
partnerships, but this legislation makes charitable choice basically the
guide for any other kind of granting process," said the Rev. Eliezer
Valentin-Castañon, Program Director at GBCS. "We must oppose this
legislation because it is discriminatory. It allows groups to discriminate
against people in the hiring and firing process based solely on their
religious affiliation, or lack thereof. We are also concerned because this
legislation breaks down the wall of separation between church and state.
It brings a level of entanglement that we consider unhealthy and

Valentin-Castañon based his remarks on United Methodist official policy on
church - state relations. A resolution adopted by the 2000 General
Conference, the only body that officially speaks for the church, set forth
"minimum criteria" that must be met by church recipients of government
money. Among them are: "The services… shall meet a genuine need; the
services… shall be designed and administered in such a way as to avoid
serving a sectarian purpose or interest; the services… shall be available
to all persons; and the services… shall be performed in accordance with
accepted professional and administrative standards."

The United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries, the
General Council on Finance and Administration, and GBCS have recently
published a helpful guide on the issue of charitable choice for local
churches. The 52-page booklet, available from any of the above agencies or
on their web sites, contains information on official United Methodist
Church policy, offers six "case studies" on community ministry
partnerships with government agencies, and offers a look at some of the
legal ramifications of such partnerships.

# # #
Only General Conference speaks officially for The United Methodist Church.
The General Board of Church and Society is the international public policy
and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church.
Chuck Currie
Director of Community Outreach
First United Methodist Church
1838 SW Jefferson Street
Portland, OR 97201
503-228-3195 ext 215