Op-Ed Articles Respond to Bush's Faith-Based Initiative

February 18, 2001

Source: The Washington Post

On February 18, 2001, The Washington Post published an opinion piece by Mark Silk on Bush's new faith-based initiative. Silk points out that although many faith-based service-providing nonprofits already receive government funds, Bush's plan is more complex because it calls for the mobilization of religious congregations, and because it calls for funding groups that believe clients can only be helped by faith. He warns that "enabling religious congregations to create new social services with government funds without increasing the total amount available will mean, by the law of zero sum, that existing providers, including experienced faith-based providers, will get less." He asserts that "studies have not yet been done to determine whether faith-based providers do the job any better than secular ones." The result of this initiative, he said, may end "up looking a lot like welfare as we knew it."