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U.S./world – Heeding the call – Diverse groups gear up

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Religious groups outside mainstream denominations aim to seek federal dollars that President Bush wants to make more easily available to faith-based groups delivering social services, The New York Times reported Feb. 20.

Smaller groups with less traditional faiths are likely to test Bush’s promise that his new White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, which opened Feb. 20, will judge religious programs on their impact, not on their beliefs, the Times said.

Earmarking funds for selected religious groups also could trigger conflict, the Times said, with one group already trying to bar another from participating in the faith-based funding program.

While established charities such as those run by Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army are likely to land funds through Bush’s faith-based initiative, the Times said, non-traditional groups such as The Church of Scientology are preparing to seek funds, the Times said.

With Bush’s initiative focusing on literacy, sexual abstinence and substance abuse, the Church of Scientology plans to seek funds for its drug rehabilitation and literacy programs, and The Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s church, now called the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification USA, plans to promote its abstinence program in the schools.

For full story, go to The New York Times.

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