Many churches and mission boards, some with a tradition of church-state separation, may not care to admit it, but they are getting money from government agencies in both Canada and the United States to help fund overseas programs. There are strings attached: the church agencies must agree to use the money solely for development of needy countries and not for proselytism. It comes from the U. S. Agency for International Development (AID) and from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).
Some groups—World Vision, Christian Children’s Fund, and Lutheran World Relief—collect from both governments by having both Canadian and U. S. offices. World Vision, for instance, gets more than $1.4 million from the Canadian government plus another $250,000 in ocean freight subsidies from Washington.
Both governments demand that the grants be given to specific overseas development programs. Both require accountability, involving reams of paper work.
An AID official said his agency tries to safeguard the independence of each mission and church organization. “They may get into trouble with their constituency if they’re too involved with government,” he said. “We respect that and would never consciously try to jeopardize that independence.”
In the 1970–71 fiscal year, CIDA helped twenty-one religious organizations, including eleven distinctively evangelical groups. Among the aided are Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship ($30,000), The Evangelical Church ($50,000), Overseas Missionary Fellowship ($390,000), the Sudan Interior Mission ($615,000), and the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada ($1,400,000). Many U. S. groups receive food under the PL480 plan (a public law superseding the Food for Peace plan), ocean freight subsidies, and surplus ...1
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