When running for the presidency in 2000, George Bush pushed for the inclusion of faith-based organizations (FBO’s) in the government grant making process. He targeting social programs, arguing that faith allowed these organizations to reach people in a way government simply could not. FBOs had traditionally been excluded from receiving grants because they practiced discriminatory hiring based on faith.
Though legislation in 1994 opened the government’s coffers to FBOs, it took Bush’s 2001 executive order creating the Office of Faith Based and Community Initiatives to get significant money flowing.
In the early months of his presidency, Obama followed Bush’s lead with an executive order of his own, essentially extending Bush’s faith office under the new name of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Community based social organizations are more effective in achieving their ends than larger government programs because they have a vested interest in the area in which they work. If they can decrease local poverty, drug abuse, and criminal activity they will be directly benefitted by a safer, more stable community.
FBOs go a step further. Not only are workers benefitted indirectly through the community, they are also benefited on a more personal level as they serve in response to a call from God. When they help others leave a life of drugs, crime or poverty, FBO workers get the added bonus of obeying God’s command to reach out the downcast and impoverished.
A similar benefit is given to FBO clients, who through these programs respond to God’s call to leave drugs, crime and injustice toward others. There is an extra motivation to succeed when one believes that by doing so, they will be pleasing God.
This extra benefit of faith comes to the tune of a 10% higher success rate for FBOs than community based organizations not based on faith.
But what has government funding done to this structure? Look for part two in the next few days.
Adam Rule – MCPP Intern