U.S./world – Divided on faith – Keeping beliefs separate

Americans like President Bush’s idea of getting more federal dollars to faith-based social-service groups, but only if they are Christian or Jewish and won’t push religion in hiring or serving clients, a new survey says.

Three of four people surveyed by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for People and the Press said they favored government funding of religious groups, up from two of three people surveyed in September, The New York Times reported April 11.

And three of four respondents said churches and other religious groups helped solve social problems.

But more than three of four don’t want religious groups to get government funds if they hire only people of the same faith, the Times said.

Forty-six percent of survey respondents oppose grants to Muslim and Buddhist groups, with 38 percent in favor, The Washington Post reported April 11.

Fifty-three percent oppose support of Nation of Islam groups with 29 percent in favor, while 52 percent oppose support of Church of Scientology groups, with 26 percent in favor.

Six in 10 respondents fear religious groups might force their views on clients, while two-thirds worry that federal funding could weaken religious groups, the Post said.

For full story, go to The New York Times and The Washington Post.

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