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the jesus factor

» Student Worksheet

The Faith-Based Initiative and
 Faith-Based Organizations

Background: Through a series of executive orders (see the Glossary of Key Terms and Ideas to review what an executive order is,) President Bush has opened the possibility for "faith-based" groups to receive United States government funds to provide social services. "The Jesus Factor" notes that to date almost 100 percent of groups receiving federal funds are Christian.

Directions: Research each of the issues below by consulting the Web sites. Since the faith-based initiative is controversial, you will encounter contradictory opinions. Try to learn as much as you can about the faith-based initiative and the role and practices of faith-based organizations. Write your notes and answers on another paper.

1. Executive Order 13199 created the White House Office of Faith-Based & Community Initiatives on Jan. 29, 2001. Executive Order 13279 requires equal protection for faith-based and community organizations as of Dec. 12, 2002. Read each of these executive orders, which can be found at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/fbci/executive-orders.html

  • What groups are affected by President Bush's executive orders?

  • What services will they provide?

  • How do the executive orders justify assigning funds to religious/faith-based groups?

2. A report issued by the White House says that part of the goal of the executive orders you read about is "identifying and eliminating improper Federal barriers to effective faith-based and community-serving programs through legislative, regulatory, and programmatic reforms." Read the report at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/reports/faithbased.html

  • Based on your reading and discussion, write a short paragraph explaining what you think the report means by "improper Federal barriers."

3. Opposition to federal funding of "faith-based organizations" has come from a range of areas. Read the articles from the links below, and write a sentence or two for each article, explaining its main point.

  • Based on your reading, write a short paragraph evaluating the opposition. You will use your ideas and evaluation in discussion.

4. Click on the following link to listen to "Ex-Staffers Sue Salvation Army over Religious Bias." http://www.npr.org/dmg/dmg.php?prgCode=ATC&showDate=17-Apr-2004&segNum=8&mediaPref=RM

  • Are the ex-staffers right? Write a short paragraph stating your opinion.

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