Pew Research: Faith-based programs still popular

A comprehensive poll done by The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life concluded that Americans on the whole support faith-based programs but maintain concerns over blurred lines between church and state. Sixty-nine percent of the roughly 4,000 people surveyed in August expressed support for government funding of churches and other religious organizations for social service programs. Only 25 percent were in opposition. Since faith-based initiatives were instituted in 2001 under the Bush Administration, the greatest jump in support for faith-based programs came in regard to caring for the homeless. This year 51 percent said that religious organizations were best equipped to work with the homeless, up from 40 percent in 2001. A clear majority of respondents approved of funds going to a variety of religious organizations, including Christian ministries plus Catholic, mainline Protestant and evangelical churches. Muslim mosques and groups that encourage religious conversion were the only ones where a majority felt they weren’t worthy of public funding. Survey respondents, by the same 69 percent margin who voiced general approval of faith-based programs, sought limitations on the programs so the government would not become overly involved in promoting religion. Sixty percent were also concerned that organization would be using public funds for proselytizing specific belief structures. Link: Full survey data from Pew Research: http://pewforum.org/docs/?DocID=483

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