Bush launches faith-based initiative
As expected, President Bush on Monday unveiled what he calls the "most important initiatives" of his administration; namely, allowing religious organizations to receive government funds for social services. With executive orders, he established the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, and established centers at five federal agencies to encourage cooperation between government and charities. "It is one of the great goals of my administration to invigorate the spirit of involvement and citizenship, Bush said as he signed the orders. "We will encourage faith-based and community programs without changing their mission. We will help all in their work to change hearts while keeping a commitment to pluralism." In the spirit of that pluralism, he said, "We will not fund the religious activities of any group, but when people of faith provide social services, we will not discriminate against them." On Tuesday, he detailed more of his plans, which include tax changes to encourage more charitable giving, and new federal grants. He also outlined some of the rules and guidelines faith-based organizations must follow to receive federal funds. For example, a secular alternative must be available in a neighborhood if a faith-based program in the area is to get funds, and the money can't be used to buy Bibles or crosses, or other uniquely religious items.

Bush named University of Pennsylvania social scientist John J. DiIulio Jr. as head of the White House office, and said DiIulio will report directly to him. The appointment was generally praised, particularly because DiIulio isn't a typical White House denizen. "John J. DiIulio Jr. is going to get noticed around the White House," ...

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