State and Federal Government Funding of Non-Profits with a Religious Mission

In the United States, the phrase “church-state” separation is related to the Free Exercise Clause and the subsequent Establishment Clause which provided for non-interference and autonomy in the function of these two entities. It is, therefore, no wonder that President George W. Bush became the center of controversy when he commissioned a federally-funded liaison between faith-based bodies and the government. The general idea behind this initiative was to provide these organizations with funds that would enable them to expand their scope of action in providing social services to deprived local communities. The controversy herein lay in the fact that it was taxpayer’s dollars that were being used to bankroll religious organization, which did not go down well with a section of Constitutionalists in the United States. It is for this reason that I also seek to provide a succinct discussion on the degree to which the state and the federal government should provide financial assistance to religious organizations or non-profits with a mission statement that espouses a similar rhetoric.

It is vital to acknowledge that the implementation of the aforementioned initiative is a subject of heated debates since it walks a fine line in relation to the constitution. Although this is the case, the initiative is still achievable if clear policies are put in place to mark a clear demarcation. The state should not be seen as a benefactor expecting favors in return for providing this financial incentive while religious organizations need to ensure that they steer off matters politics. State and federal governments are at liberty to provide these organizations with the funding they require, but it is also vital to specify how this money is to be spent (Winer & Crimm, 2016, p. 56). One ingenious way of curbing misuse of these funds begins by limiting activities where the money can be spent. These grants should only be limited to social services and should not, in any way, be used to fund any religious activities directly.  Moreover, these organizations should also be vetted periodically to keep track of the money and how it is being spent. By so doing, the government lowers chances that the funds provided may be misappropriated, therefore ensuring that accountability becomes a leading factor when funding them.

State and federal governments should provide funding only to those organizations that have been registered and vetted. The degree to which funding is to be provided will depend on the manner in which money was utilized in the previous financial year and headway made in their initiatives. Furthermore, assessing the conduct of these organizations goes a long way in ensuring that they receive funding on a regular basis.  Non-governmental organizations with a religious mission statement have to make certain that their activities are separate from those that would be funded by the state. In addition to this, they should not provide preferential treatment to a particular group but treat all those in need as equals. Bias should be avoided at all cost, and bodies found culpable should be blacklisted without any possibility of ever receiving grants in future. Funding should also be provided to organizations that have proven beyond any reasonable doubt they practice fair employment practices. They should have a reputable background that involves hiring LGBT persons and practice inclusivity in terms of racial composition.

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