President Bush signs executive orders to advance his "faith-based initiative" at a meeting of religious and charitable leaders in in Philadelphia. Hoping to involve churches and religious organizations more deeply in government efforts to address social ills, Bush signed executive orders aimed at giving those groups a leg up in the competition for federal money. The U. The recent expansion of government funding for faith-based social programs, however, has sparked concerns about the constitutionality of such assistance. Although most scholars agree that the establishment clause of the First Amendment forbids government from favoring any particular faith, they differ over whether government efforts to enlist the aid of religious social service organizations threaten the healthy separation of church and state, which the establishment clause protects. Government and faith-based organizations have been partners since Colonial America.
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The Federal government does not set aside a separate funding stream specifically for faith-based groups. Rather, they are eligible to apply for government grants on an equal footing with other similar non-governmental organizations. All Federal grants must be announced to the public and the most comprehensive source is www. You can search Grants. Department of Justice" , or by category e. You will see a chronological listing of open grants which you can then click on individually to access and read the solicitations. The various WebPages of our Federal Partners are also good sources.
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The United States Supreme Court has said that faith-based organizations may not use direct government support to support "inherently religious" activities. Basically, it means you cannot use any part of a direct Federal grant to fund religious worship, instruction, or proselytization. Instead, organizations may use government money only to support the non-religious social services that they provide. Therefore, faith-based organizations that receive direct governmental funds should take steps to separate, in time or location, their inherently religious activities from the government-funded services that they offer. Such organizations should also carefully account for their use of all government money.
Religious discrimination is treating a person or group differently because of the particular beliefs which they hold about a religion. This includes instances when adherents of different religions , denominations or non-religions are treated unequally due to their particular beliefs, either before the law or in institutional settings, such as employment or housing. Religious discrimination is related to religious persecution , the most extreme forms of which would include instances in which people have been executed for beliefs perceived to be heretical.