Status report: Faith-based initiative breaks ten-figure mark
Despite Congress's refusal to guarantee faith-based organizations can compete for federal funds, President Bush's faith-based initiative has shows results through executive branch efforts, according to a Washington Post article today.

"The administration has stuck at it, and the dollars going to faith-based organizations are clearly going up. But in the overall scheme of things, we're not talking about huge amounts of money here," Alan J. Abramson, director of the Nonprofit Sector and Philanthropy Program at the Aspen Institute, told the paper.

But in Washington terms, "not huge amounts of money" are still pretty big. The Post reports that in fiscal year 2003, faith-based charities received more than $1.1 billion in competitive grants—a figure that doesn't cover "all agencies or the full gamut of government grants," says Post religion writer Alan Cooperman.

There's no figure for last year, but individual comparisons suggest significant change: The Department of Health and Human Services had a 41 percent jump in the number of grants given to faith-based recipients from fiscal year 2002, and a 19 percent rise in dollars to these kinds of organizations.

"I think that we're seeing that when the playing field is leveled, faith-based organizations can compete with other nonprofits, but by no means are they getting all the money," said Jim Towey, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

WSJ: Beware of secular absolutism, "the most potent religious force in America" Then again, perhaps we're entering a time when the "faith-based initiative" won't matter. After all, in the eyes of the California Supreme Court, none of the organizations that ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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