Lawmakers Discuss Impact of Granting Federal Money to Faith-Based Groups

( [email protected] ) Mar 22, 2004 09:23 AM EST

According to the report form the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, faith-based organizations have been receiving more funding since 2003 compared to the previous years, under the proposal of President Bush’s faith-based initiative.

Although the report is only based on the grants from five federal agencies – the departments of Labor, Education, Justice, Housing and Urban Development and Health and Human Services, much attention has been given in deciding whether or not the initiative is effective. Lawmakers will gather at a House Government Reform Committee Tuesday, to discuss the impact of the faith-based initiative.

With much criticism of the faith-based initiative saying it’s violation to ‘separation of church and state,’ President Bush couldn’t get his initiative approved by Congress, but his purpose of pushing faith-based initiative is clear – to change government’s hostile attitude toward faith-based service groups in using federal money to support their work.

President Bush has formed faith-based offices in seven agencies to provide systematic funding to social service charities and gave an executive order not to discriminate against faith-based groups in terms of granting federal funds.

According to the report, the Health and Human Services Department’s award increased 41 percent from $477 in 2002 to 680 $568 in 2003. At the Department of Housing and Urban Development, faith-based groups received $532 million in 2003 compared to$479 million in 2002. The two departments also increased in receiving federal grants for the new faith-based groups. At HHS, 129 grants went to faith-based groups that were first-time recipients in 2003, compared with 86 the previous year. And HUD gave 52 grants to first-time recipients, up from 37 in 2002.