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Always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience (1 Peter 3:15b-16a ESV)

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6/03/2004

Faith-Based Initiatives 

A lot has been said recently about President Bush's faith based initiatives. Most has been said by people who don't like the idea, and see it as the religious right trying to take taxpayers money to fund their evangelistic efforts.

Oddly enough, evangelicals don't always see it that way. In fact, the people who seem to be the most in favor of funding faith-based charities are fiscal conservatives, who see it as an opportunity to cut down the size of government and reduce federal spending.

I've talked to people on both sides of the issue; people who are eager to receive more funding for their work, no matter the source, and people who are afraid of what accepting federal money might entail -- if not now, then later.

I find myself increasingly in the latter category. I find myself wondering what strings might be attached to all that government money. Will we be able to evangelize? What about hiring practices -- can we still only hire people who accept our statement of faith? I know some faith-based charities who don't hire anyone who has been divorced -- what will happen to them if they suddenly are required to hire homosexuals? When we have to hire people who reject our beliefs, can we still seriously be called faith based?

I understand that there are a lot of groups who want the money. Many of these groups are more interested in social welfare than spiritual welfare. If that's their mission, then more power to them -- take the money and run. Don't complain in five or six years when Washington is less favorable to Christians and they try to restrict what you're allowed to do, say, etc. I don't worry about what will happen now as much as I do about what will happen then.

If you are truly faith-based, maybe it's time to exercise that faith, and let God supply all your needs, according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus. Get the government out of the way.


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