The State of the Faith-Based Initiative

One year after Bush outlined his plan to let religious social-service groups compete for government funds, little has actually made it through Congress.

Last night's State of the Union address also marked the one-year anniversary of President Bush's announcement of his faith-based initiative. But last night, the subject warranted only a brief mention in a long list, after "productive farm policy, a cleaner environment, [and] broader home ownership." Though the House has passed a faith-based initiatives bill, the Senate is stalling. Are the Senate and White House letting the faith-based initiative die a quiet death?

Not necessarily. "I have not given up on my faith-based initiative," Bush told a meeting of mayors and country officials last Thursday at the White House. "I believe so strongly in the power of faith, I believe strongly that we must unleash the armies of compassion in every city in America to provide hope for people where hope doesn't exist. … I think we can get a bill out of Congress."

But that bill is unlikely to look much like H.R. 7, the bill the House passed in July. The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Bush will make a speech this week outlining his latest plans for the faith-based initiative. "This time around, he won't push for allowing religious groups that accept federal aid to discriminate against job applicants whose views or lifestyles they oppose, such as homosexuals," wrote Journal reporter Jim VandeHei (the article is available only to Journal subscribers). Bush will also announce a successor to John DiIulio, who resigned in August as director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. "Bush advisers will only say that the new 'faith czar' won't grate on Republicans and administration officials as Mr. DiIulio sometimes did," VandeHei wrote.

Details of what Bush will push for are already emerging. White House aides ...

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March
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