Religious Right Groups seek tax funding for overseas AIDS programs.Angry Religious Right groups are pressing the White House to increase federal funding for evangelical Christian groups that say they want to fight the spread of AIDS overseas through abstinence-based programs.
Congress appropriated $2.4 billion for AIDS relief in 2004, and evangelical groups want to make sure they get their share. So far, they are not happy with their slice of the pie.
World magazine, an evangelical news journal, reported March 27 that "a number of well-known evangelical personalities--including James Dobson James Clayton "Jim" Dobson, Ph.D. (born April 21, 1936 in Shreveport, Louisiana) is the chairman of the board of Focus on the Family, a nonprofit organization he founded in 1977. and Chuck Colson" went to the White House for a private meeting with Randall Tobias, who heads the White House's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief.
World reported that the discussion, which also included Franklin Graham William Franklin Graham III (born July 14, 1952), known publicly as Franklin Graham, is an American Christian evangelist and missionary. He is the president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), as well as the president of Samaritan's Purse. , Todd Bassett of the Salvation Army Salvation Army, Protestant denomination and international nonsectarian Christian organization for evangelical and philanthropic work. Organization and Beliefs
The Salvation Army has established branches in 100 countries throughout the world. and Bailey Marks Jr. of Campus Crusade for Christ Campus Crusade for Christ is an interdenominational Christian organization, focusing on evangelism and discipleship in over 190 countries around the world. Its mission is "to win people to Christ, build them in their faith, and send them out to win, build and send others. , was "heated but helpful."
The Religious Right groups are angry because to date, little of the AIDS money has gone to evangelical groups that stress abstinence. So far, only $5 million has been appropriated for groups that promote abstinence. The conservative groups say congressional mandates mean those organizations should have received $320 million.
World reported that only a handful of religious groups have received federal support to combat AIDS, among them Catholic Relief Services Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community. Founded in 1943 by the U.S. bishops, the agency provides assistance to 80 million people in 99 countries and territories in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the , World Relief and Habitat for Humanity Habitat for Humanity, nonprofit ecumenical Christian organization that enables low-income people to own affordable, livable housing. Headquartered in Americus, Ga., it was founded in 1976 by businessman Millard Fuller and his wife. . Two groups that World calls "secular humanitarian" have also received funding: the American Red Cross American Red Cross: see Red Cross. and Save the Children.
Groups denied funding in the first round include World Vision, Graham's Samaritan's Purse, the Association of Christian Schools International The Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) is an association of evangelical Protestant Christian schools in the United States. Purposes
ACSI states that it "strives to enable and equip Christian educators and schools worldwide to effectively educate , the Salvation Army, Prison Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ's Cross-Roads program.
A staffer at CrossRoads told World that he believes that officials at the Department of State and the Department of Health and Human Services Noun 1. Department of Health and Human Services - the United States federal department that administers all federal programs dealing with health and welfare; created in 1979
Health and Human Services, HHS , which administer the program jointly, are biased against "faith-based" organizations.
"We feel that we've been the victim of some bureaucratic policies," Matt Kavgian said. "What has been changed at the political level by this administration has not been changed at the agency level. Much of the public-health establishment appears to be waiting for the end of the election season, and if Bush is not reelected I am sure they will simply return to the status quo [Latin, The existing state of things at any given date.] Status quo ante bellum means the state of things before the war. The status quo to be preserved by a preliminary injunction is the last actual, peaceable, uncontested status which preceded the pending controversy. of excluding faith-based organizations like us from the federal grant process."
Kavgian claimed that officials at the U.S. Agency for International Development urged his group to apply and then refused to tell the organization why it was turned down for funding.
Tobias apparently told the group heads to remain patient.
"I'd really like for people to judge me a year from now on what I have done, rather than being apprehensive about what I'm going to do," he told World. "I would be the first to say that we do not yet have answers to every question."
Tobias also assured the religious groups that he shares their opposition to emphasizing condoms as a way to halt the spread of AIDS in Africa.
"There's no evidence in generalized populations that a broad-based use of condoms as the backbone of prevention efforts has worked," he said. "I've come to believe, not just intuitively or by guessing about it, but based on a lot of I data that we've been able to collect, that abstinence is the best approach."
At least one of the organizations already funded is pursuing a religious approach. A representative at World Relief, which received $10 million in federal support, told Focus on the Family's Citizenlink, "World Relief mobilizes churches in developing countries, and these churches use a Bible-based teaching to guide people towards God's designs of monogamous sexual relationships and fidelity within marriage."