President George W. Bush renewed his pledge to work toward the faith-based initiative and give religious groups that offer social services, equal access to federal funding, as long as their services are available to anyone.
Bush made the announcement at the Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship in Dallas Oct. 29, when he dedicated a new youth education centre that will offer job and literacy training.
The Associated Press reported Bush as saying: “We don't want the church to be the state and we don't want the state to be the church, but the government should support the good work of religious people who are changing America.”
Despite the fact that the faith-based initiative was stalled in Congress, Bush created the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives with the purpose of strengthening and expanding grassroots and faith-based services.
“The office will take the lead responsibility in the Executive Branch to establish policies, priorities, and objectives for the Federal Government’s effort to enlist, expand, equip, empower and enable the work of faith-based and community service groups,” reads the White House document.
The new initiative will ensure that faith-based programs have equal opportunity to compete for federal funding and that it “will benefit all nonprofit service organizations, but especially small and faith-based groups that have traditionally been neglected or excluded in the past,” it reads.