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  • Sunday, June 19, 2005


    Flaws of Religious Charities

    Charities come in many stripes, fulfill many different services. There is a huge problem with current government focus on religious charities to minister to social needs, the so-called faith-based charities. Religious charities often focus on particular solutions which include proselytizing and they prioritize applicants by how open they are to the religious messages accompanying the charity offered. Will a devout Muslim be welcome in a Christian homeless shelter? Will accommodations be made for dietary restrictions? Is such a Muslim being overly-demanding to ask for some recognition of his/her religious needs, particularly when very obvious allowances are made for Christians?

    Religious charities should be able to offer services and aid to people in the manner that suits them. If a Catholic charity would like to focus on servicing their own denomination, I think that's their choice. But when a government gives money to a religious charity, very distinct problems arise as to how that money is spent and which people the money serves.

    This is merely my conjecture but I would guess that of the money that goes to "faith-based" charities, very close to 100% goes to Christian charities. Are there non-Christian "faith-based" charities? You bet. There are Muslim and NeoPagan charities, to name two I know of. Suppose there is a Satanist charity? Are they eligible for funds? (Given what I know of Satanism, it seems unlikely they are big on charity work but the point remains.) If they aren't eligible, why not?

    Giving money to Christian charities but not to other faith's charities amounts to state sponsorship of Christianity in very real, monetary terms. That is not broadly "faith-based", that is quite specifically "Christian-based". It needs to be called that. I don't play that "Clear Skies Initiative" game of false and misleading names.

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