Helping "Faith-based" Charities

Cal Thomas | Syndicated columnist | Wednesday, January 31, 2001

Helping "Faith-based" Charities

President Bush wants to help what he calls "faith-based" charities help others. He says they often do a better job than government programs in producing the objectives government seeks, but often does not find.

I'm not opposed to this in principal, but I have some concerns. As a Christian, I see no biblical mandate for government to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit those in prison. That's our job. Money would go not only to Christian organizations, who would share the gospel of Christ in order to transform people, but to charities whose theology is wrong.

Government programs have largely failed to produce their expensive and advertised results. If the objective is to change lives, the evidence is that so-called "faith-based" programs succeed more than their secular counterparts. But what happens if charities become dependent on the favor of a particular party or president and water down their primary calling, or the charity is punished by a competing party or president? Government aide can be a two-edged sword. We should be careful and move ahead slowly.

I'm Cal Thomas in Washington.