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Faith-Based Initiatives' Democratic Forbears?


In her column for USA Today's Monday religion slot, TIME mag editor/Democratic faith expert Amy Sullivan reveals the surprising history behind George W. Bush's White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. In arguing for the expansion of the program, Barack Obama isn't simply co-opting one of Bush's signature programs; it turns out that he's reclaiming an idea with some well-established Democratic roots:

For decades, religiously affiliated organizations like Lutheran Social Services and United Jewish Communities received, without a hint of controversy, government funds to provide social services.When candidate Bush pledged in his first campaign speech in 1999 to "rally the armies of compassion," he was not blazing new ground but rather following in the steps of Bill Clinton, whose Cabinet secretaries had worked closely with religious nonprofits and Al Gore, who had endorsed the funding of faith-based organizations six months earlier. Even the most conservative ...
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