Faith-Based Controversy

Government-hired emergency workers are asking religious institutions to widen their role in providing shelter and relief from natural disasters. Civil liberty groups say that's fine, but religious organizations should not be refunded with taxpayer dollars.

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"Absolutely NOT! As a Christian conservative, I can tell you that would be a terrible idea! Churches should give out of their heart and soul and desire to do God's will. They should not be getting 'kickbacks' from the federal government for several reasons. The main one would be to keep our founding father's wishes true: to keep church and state separate. Thomas Jefferson, although a faithful Christian, was absolute about keeping church separate from state affairs and visa versa. If the government gave money back to the church, wouldn't that create a dangerous union between the two? Let's face it, God does not need money, especially from the U.S. Government!" — James (Charleston, SC)

"If government hired emergency workers are asking religious organizations to help with relief efforts then they should be able to receive government funds. The ACLU really should keep their noses out of it. They are just about the closest thing we have to the KGB. They are an oppressive organization with only their own interests as the main agenda. What possible harm could come from government relief agencies and religious organizations working together and sharing funds to help the people affected by disaster?" — Suzanne (Gainesville, GA)

"Religious institutions should not be reimbursed and with the same breath they should not be asked to 'widen their role.' What religious institutions do for the general public, whether it is shelter or food distribution, it is because the congregation of the institution is able to support this task. It is not because they have to." — Juan (San Antonio, TX)

"Having spent 20 years in assisting people in disasters and poor families in need, I understand why government hired workers want faith-based organizations to become more involved: they perform where FEMA and the Red Cross fail. Now as to these faith-based groups receiving government monies, let us thoroughly investigate just how many taxpayer dollars are going to the ACLU and how much money they are saving by being a non-profit organization. For years they have financed their own operations and with volunteers that serve because of the compassion they have for the needy. No government program will ever match the efforts that are produced from the heart. If the ACLU will give up their free ride, I am sure we will get by without government assistance." — John (Olive Branch, MS)

"Are you kidding? My mother & father work for FEMA and they say that even the RED CROSS gets reimbursed every penny that they spend to help people. Where does the money go from all the contributions from the public? That is not right! The Red Cross has been, in the past, partially political. But yet they CAN be reimbursed? OH, this IRRITATES ME SO!" — Misty (Garland TX)

"No! Religious organizations should not receive reimbursements for relief work. They weren't asking for it and it would spoil the whole impact they contribute." — Paul (Springfield, OH)

"Yes! What is the difference? If an organization, public or private, offers relief and their own resources have been taxed, then why shouldn't they also receive some kind of aid? Who does it really hurt?" — Jenna (Louisville, KY)

"No, but I am sure some bonehead, small-minded Republican will politick it do death!" — Sammy (Tulsa, OK)

"No way! Religious organizations are already receiving tax breaks." — Katie (Chicago, IL)

"Until civil liberty groups take over the role of ‘religious institutions’ in providing the unbelievable amount of relief and support to victims of natural disasters that these ministries offer. They should not even open their mouths on this subject. I am reminded of the phrase ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you.’ Although for those who think that reimbursing religious groups for the amount of aid they provide somehow violates the constitution, it is unfortunately more a case of biting the hand that feeds others." Chris (York, PA)

“I don’t recall Jesus asking to be reimbursed for turning water in to wine. I don’t recall Jesus being asked to be reimbursed for anything he ever did. Be a Christian. Walk in his path. He wanted very simple things from us. The government governs and religious organizations should do the work that the spirit leads them to.” Kari (Charlotte, NC)

"In my thinking, why should faith-based organizations be reimbursed with tax dollars? I'm a Christian, and as such I believe it is the church's place to help those in need. To be reimbursed for it just doesn't make sense in my thinking. The government could be doing far better things with that money then paying back a religious organization that is only doing what it is supposed to be doing." — Calvin

"When an organization hands out goods or services to others, it’s a form of proselytizing through action rather than words. For the government to reimburse religious organizations for this would be an establishment of religion issue, since it funds a form of religious proselytizing, and I oppose it. From a religious viewpoint, if you're essentially just handing out government benefits to people, then you aren’t really doing your own good works and making a personal sacrifice. You’re doing the government’s good works, and taking credit on behalf of your religion. In a very real sense, this is a lie, and you steal the gratitude and respect of the recipients, which should rightfully go to the taxpayers, not your church. It’s a bad idea for both sides." — Sharon (Carrollton, TX)

"A true person of faith would not dare to manipulate offering aid as a way to bring people into their fold or to maintain a budget. Lead in earnest and they will follow." — Jack (Dallas, TX)

"Personally I would approve of my tax dollars going to Christian relief organizations and NOT the Red Cross! It appears the Red Cross has more then substantial funds, but spend to much of it on unimportant factors!" — Kay

"Faith-Based organizations are probably much more efficient than any government agency so why not give them the money to do the work. The advantages are that the churches actually care about the people in the area so they are apt to do a much better job of handling a crisis. Unfortunately, we in the U.S. are too hung-up on the issue of separation of church and state so this may not be a realistic position." — Eric (Palm Harbor, FL)

"If a faith based organization is providing housing and other services for those affected by the hurricanes, then they should be compensated just as any other organization would be compensated." — Ed