A fortnightly report of developments in religion

It was like a summer romance which seemingly flourished during the vacation season only to break off abruptly. Gone, but not forgotten.

The parties to the short-lived affair were the U. S. foreign aid program and religious enterprise abroad, a pair of institutions traditionally kept apart by the American principle of separation of church and state.

The love letter which sparked the romance was a 2,000-word statement officially labeled “Policy Determination No. 10” issued by the Agency for International Development, successor organization to the International Cooperation Administration. AID is the government instrument of technical assistance to underdeveloped countries and it dispenses about three or four billion U. S. dollars abroad each year.

AID’s policy determination, drawn up as a guide for agency personnel, spelled out the means whereby the U. S. foreign aid program could enter into partnership with missionary endeavors. It declared that funds could be channeled to religious organizations abroad for missionary schools and other projects which are compatible with overall objectives of the country concerned and which meet the approval of its government.

Appropriate safeguards were to be required, however, to assure that religious agencies involved “will not proselytize or discriminate or otherwise take advantage of the relationships with A.I.D.”

The implications of the policy aroused the reaction of numerous church-state observers nonetheless.

A spokesman for the Baptist Joint Committee on Public Affairs had predicted that it would “cause grave concern to Protestants who feel strongly about church-state separation.”

Dr. Glenn L. Archer, executive director of Protestants and Other ...

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