November 13, 2008

Pastor Questions Faith-Based Programs

A reverend in Norfolk, Va., says U.S. President George W. Bush's faith-based initiative has been less than successful.

The Rev. Geoffrey V. Guns said since the president introduced the initiative seven years ago, a large number of those groups benefiting from the federal program are not related to church congregations, The Norfolk Virginian-Pilot said Thursday.

"Out of 100 churches, you'd be hard-pressed to find 10 local churches that have benefited directly from the faith-based initiative," the Second Calvary Baptist Church head said.

Among the regional groups with faith links that have been receiving federal assistance such as grants under the initiative are the humanitarian charity Operation Blessing International and the Virginia Beach homeless aid agency, the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center.

Guns told the Virginian-Pilot that many of the groups operating under the federal initiative appeared to be taking advantage of the faith-based effort.

"If you say faith-based, the understanding is you're talking about churches or synagogues," the reverend said. "You're not talking about a wholly separate identity."