Compassion Capital Fund Denied Funding from Government (Yay!)

A few years ago, President Bush said he would create a $700,000,000 “Compassion Capital Fund” which would launch faith-based programs in inner cities.

… The initiative was supposed to help churches pursue their “focused and noble mission” of stamping out teen pregnancy, drug addition, illiteracy, and homelessness.

It was pledged but the money never appeared.

More recently, that same Compassion Capital Fund was mentioned in the House version of the economic-stimulus bill.

While the $900-billion stimulus package being considered in the Senate does not have funding for faith-based programs, the bill that passed the House includes $500 million for the “Compassion Capital Fund” to go to eligible faith-based and community groups. Among that allocation, $250 million would be spent immediately after the start of fiscal year 2010, in October.

Not good. That money would have been given to groups who support religious discrimination — most likely Christian groups who don’t like gays or Jews or anyone else not in their club.

Thankfully, we won’t have to see their bigotry play out.

The compromise economic-stimulus package passed [Friday] by the House of Representatives would provide $50-million for a new program to strengthen nonprofit groups so they can help people suffering from the economic downturn.

Where is that money coming from…?

The $50-million for nonprofit groups is earmarked for “capacity-building” grants, according to a report by the House-Senate conference committee that drew up the compromise. “The conferees expect that grantees have clear and measurable goals, and must be able to evaluate the success of their program,” they wrote. This money comes in place of $100-million that the House proposed for the Compassion Capital Fund, a program created by President Bush to provide money to religious and other charities.

That’s a victory for advocates of separation of church and state.

Congratulations to Americans United, the Secular Coalition for America, and all other groups who were doing all they could to make sure the money didn’t fall into the wrong hands.

If churches want to provide services to help communities, they’re welcome to receive funding. Some of them might do a great job. But if they want federal money, they cannot be allowed to discriminate in their hiring and they shouldn’t be receiving special treatment when getting the money. Our government should only give taxpayer money to groups that help and hire all types of people regardless of beliefs or orientation, groups that don’t proselytize when providing services — People need real help in these times, not a god.

(Thanks to Sasha for the link!)

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