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White House Releases Public/Private Guidelines for Faith-based Groups

The 50-page report was issued Friday.

A new White House report that offers guidance on public/private partnerships between the government and faith-based groups leaves critical questions unanswered and does not resolve the issue of religious groups' ability to discriminate in hiring and firing, church-state watchdogs said.

The 50-page report, issued Friday, comes 18 months after President Obama issued an executive order calling for more transparency as faith-based groups work with the government to meet social needs.

The report breaks little new ground, but reaffirms that:

– A faith-based organization can provide federally funded social services without removing religious art, scriptures and symbols from their facilities.

– Explicitly religious activities can't be supported by federal funds but are permitted if they are funded privately and occur at a separate time and location from programs that receive government money.

– Beneficiaries who object to the religious character of a provider must be referred ...

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