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Black America Today Debate: Faith-Based Initiatives
Hugh B. Price, National Urban League Hugh B. Price, National Urban League Robert L. Woodson, Sr. National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise Robert L. Woodson, Sr. National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise

How would you rate the success of the Bush Administration's faith-based initiatives program in responding to the needs of African American communities?

Robert Woodson's Response: Just as the human body develops antibodies to combat disease and illness, I believe that faith-based and community programs are the natural antibodies that spring up in our troubled neighborhoods. For the past 20 years the National Center for Neighborhood Enterprise has worked to provide them with training, technical assistance, and linkages to support, so that they can form an immune system. They have proved that they can solve the problems of substance abuse, homelessness, youth violence, family dissolution, and deterioration of neighborhoods. The initiative to remove barriers and increase support will make them even more successful, in all communities.

Hugh Price's Response: President Bush's faith-based initiative isn't really operational, so it is too soon to judge it. Faith-based groups have done important work for decades in providing human services, building affordable housing and so forth. That said, any federal effort to funnel more public money to faith-based programs must avoid breaching the constitutional wall separating church and state. And any faith-based recipients of government aid should be subjected to all strictures against discrimination and such that apply to secular recipients.

Robert Woodson's Rebuttal:There are legitimate concerns on both sides about relationships between church and state and the rights of individuals. I believe that much concern could be alleviated through a system of vouchers, so that individuals can have a choice among faith-based and secular providers.

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Debate Topics Menu
Affirmative Action
Diversity in Schools
Economic Future
Faith Based Initiatives
Knowing Each Other
Leadership Models
Media Stereotypes
Political Power
Race in the 21st Century
Slavery Reparations


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