Is Obama administration a threat to faith-based organizations?

By January 23, 2009

USA (MNN) — The implications of a change in administration in the United States could be potentially harmful to some faith-based organizations.

U.S. leadership has supported faith-based groups for the most part in the past and has especially recognized the importance of their service within the last eight to ten years, according to Ben Homan of Food for the Hungry.

Although all major presidential candidates in the recent election spoke in favor of faith-based organizations at some point in their campaigns, the Obama campaign also made movements in another direction. Within his campaign, suggestions were made about creating a nondiscrimination policy within faith-based organizations, therefore barring these ministries from hiring people based on their religion.

As this idea began to reappear, Food for the Hungry, along with World Vision and other major faith-based organizations, began to dialogue with Obama administrators to plead their case against such a decision. Since conversations began, the policy seems to have subsided, and Homan is hopeful that this will remain the case as relationships continue to be built.

"A change in leadership and the burden, the responsibility, that comes with that actually gives the church and faith-based organizations an opportunity to step up and to walk with a new leader," says Homan. "I think one of the callings that we have as followers of Christ is to walk in relationship with leaders and to stay in conversation, to stay in relationship, to stay engaged."

Homan has more reason to hope as both Biden and Obama have expressed the desire to raise the priority of foreign assistance — a notion supported by other government branches as well. Homan says the new administration seems to have serious interest in helping to stop the growing HIV AIDS pandemic and in dealing with the global food crisis. A more than noticeable amount of the work being done to help solve these issues comes from faith-based organizations.

Regardless of whether new leadership makes alterations or not, Homan says Christians have a responsibility to continue dialoguing with the administration and to continue concern for world affairs. "The important thing in moving our civil society forward, and the important thing in moving the Gospel forward, is to stay in conversation and in relationship with leaders; and we're not always going to agree," says Homan. "I think this is a time for God's people to step up and make a difference."


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