WASHINGTON, DC, Mar. 12, 01 (CWNews.com) - The Bush
administration will delay proposing parts of its plan to
funnel social program funds through faith-based groups to
give it more time to quell opposition from some surprising
quarters, according to the Washington Post on Monday.
"We're postponing," Don Eberly, deputy director of the
White House Office of Faith-Based and Community
Initiatives, told the newspaper. "We're not ready to send
our own bill up." Eberly acknowledged that the proposal
"may need to be corrected in some areas."
While some opposition was expected from left-wing
church-state separation groups, some religious
conservatives such as Pat Robertson and even Marvin Olasky,
one of the idea's early architects, have expressed their
doubts. They worry that government regulations watering
down churches' missions would be attached to any government
funds or that objectionable sects would be included.
The newspaper said Bush's faith-based initiative is a much
broader program that includes non-controversial provisions
that will likely be implemented quickly and quietly. A
proposal to expand the charitable tax deduction to those
who don't itemize has almost no opposition. Some observers
said that could mean a $14 billion, or 11 percent, annual
increase in charitable giving.
The major argument is about a law passed in 1996 as part of
welfare reform and signed by President Bill Clinton. Bush
isn't proposing changing what is known as the charitable
choice provision-- which lets religious charities compete
for government welfare dollars-- but merely wants to expand
its reach to other programs.