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Conservative concerns – Role reversal

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Some conservative groups are worried that plans by President Bush to make it easier for congregations to get federal dollars could hurt religious charities serving the poor, The Washington Post reported Feb. 17.

“Faith-based groups that have so far escaped the outstretched hand of the federal government will discover that it is a federal fist,” Terrence Scanlon, president of the Capital Research Center, a group critical of the political work of liberal foundations, told the Post.

The group has issued a new report recommending charity policies to the Bush administration.

Bush’s plan has triggered opposition from some liberal groups that say it would erode the wall between church and state, causing religion to spill into the running of government services, the Post said.

For the opposite reason, the Post said, some conservatives believe the Bush plan could costs religious charities their spiritual independence.

Conservative critics include Marvin Olasky, a journalism professor at the University of Texas who has been a key adviser to Bush on social issues, and Michael Horowitz, a conservative analyst with the Hudson Institute.

Scanlon and Robert L. Woodson Sr., a conservative advocate of neighborhood-based programs, don’t rule out the idea of government funding for religious groups but prefer an expansion of tax breaks – killing the estate tax and easing rules on taxpayers who take charitable deductions – as well as relaxing state, federal and local regulation of religious charities, the Post said.

For full story, go to The Washington Post.

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