IFAS | Freedom Writer | November/December 1999 | bush.html

Bush's faith-based plans

In an interview with Christianity Today [10/25/99] Texas governor George W. Bush discussed his ideas about "charitable choice," which would give taxpayer money to Christian charities. Bush, who said that he accepted Jesus Christ in 1986, said that if faith-based organizations are excluded from working with the government, "We lose the capacity of a nation under God."

While Bush doesn't favor the government getting out of the welfare business, he believes "The government ought always to ask the question first, is there a faith-based or private institution that can do the job? And secondly, government bureaucrats must welcome, not intimidate or threaten, faith-based institutions being involved in changing people's lives."

Bush doesn't feel that there's a danger of churches becoming dependent upon government funding. "We're not funding the church. We're funding programs managed by the church, or we're funding people who choose to have their needs met by the church."

Bush said he doesn't believe this type of program violates the separation between church and state. "The reason is that we're funding people and programs, not institutions. Some of my opponents worry about proselytization. I believe the power of the church is its capacity to change the heart, and we should not force the church to change its mission. There's a big difference between funding religion and funding the program managed by a religious institution."

The Republican presidential candidate concluded that faith-based institutions work so well "because they convince people to turn their life over to Christ."

© 1999 Institute for First Amendment Studies, Inc.