The U.S. Government has long provided public aid to social services operated by faith-based organizations. But as the result of interpretations of the establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment, such programs have generally been required to be secular in nature. In recent years, however, a number of advocates have promoted the concept that the Constitution and public policy ought to allow faith-based organizations to receive public funds on the same basis as other entities that operate social services programs and to employ their faiths in carrying out such programs. The effort has had considerable effect. The Supreme Court has modified its establishment clause jurisprudence to allow a broader (Although as yet ill-defined) scope to public aid to religious agencies; Congress has enacted four "charitable choice" measures into law; and President Bush has now undertaken an initiative "to rally America's armies of compassion" as a centerpiece of his domestic agenda. Nonetheless, questions about the constitutionality, efficacy, and public policy implications of these initiatives. This book presents the background and defines the issues.
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