Choosing partners

New federal rules
George Bush’s “faith-based initiative” has generated fierce debate at every turn—in the courts, in Congress and in public opinion. Yet in some respects, the initiative is already in place. The “Charitable Choice” provision included in the 1996 Welfare Reform Act is still the law of the land, and faith-based offices in five federal departments are quietly bulldozing roadblocks to government partnerships with religious groups. President Bush continues to push the cause with bully-pulpit affirmations, as does James Towey, who took over the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) in February after John DiIulio’s resignation. Collaborations with faith-based programs are on the rise. On the other hand, so are court challenges and legislative obstacles.


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