The head of the Iowa Civil Liberties Union says there’s no evidence faith-based charities do any better than the government’s welfare programs. I-C-L-U executive director Ben Stone objects to President Bush’s call to have churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations take over some government welfare programs. Stone says there are plenty of ways for religious organizations to good work in the social arena. Stone says federal tax dollars should not be funneled to religious organizations. Stone says it will undercut the organizations ability to raise funds, he says there could be discrimination from untrained church employees. Stone says the churches could also try to convert people who use their services.But Iowa Family Policy Center executive director Chuck Hurley says churches and other “faith-based” organizations can provide charity better than the government. He says we’re in a transition to more personal compassionate help for the needy. Hurley admits churches are worried government money will come with too many strings. Hurley says too many churches became “country clubs” afraid of “getting dirty” and helping the downtrodden. Hurley hopes President Bush’s initiative will prod the religious community to action. Hurley and Stone will debate the issue Sunday on Iowa Public Television’s Iowa Press.
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