U-S Presidential election pivotal for faith based groups

By October 28, 2004

USA (MNN) — With just days before the United States selects the next president of the United States, Christian ministries reaching out to those in need are wondering about the future of the President’s faith based initiative.

President George W. Bush’s Faith-Based and Community Initiative represents a bold new approach to government’s role in helping those in need, allowing Christian and other religious groups to receive funding for humanitarian efforts.

However, Dwayne Hastings with the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a ministry of the Southern Baptist Convention, says that program could all be in jeopardy. “We know if the President’s re-elected there’s no reason that things would change. We believe that his executive orders would stay in place. If Senator Kerry was to win the election, we would not see such openness toward faith based groups under a Kerry Administration as we have seen under a George W. Bush Administration.”

Hastings says there’s a reason for that. “The President’s faith is very real and personal. He has made clear that it impacts his decisions, his policy decisions. He has made clear that he’s a praying man.”

However, Senator Kerry says his faith can be kept separate from his political life. Hastings says, “He has made that statement. He made that statement I believe in one of the debates. As an evangelical, I don’t see how you can separate your faith from your daily living from the decision you make.”

Hastings says while Christian groups who run homeless shelters, feeding centers and other similar programs could be affected, he says other outreaches could be hit hard. “Where there is faith based work going on in prisons, there’s a real risk that that faith based work, which has been shown to be more effective than any other sort of rehabilitation of prisoners, if that was to cease we would see some real negative impacts.”

Leave a Reply