Sunday, January 21, 2007


Faith in Social Change?
by pam ashlund

Let's face it, so much of the nonprofit world has its foundation in activism. Not counting such venerable institutions as the Red Cross and the YMCA, so many nonprofits were born in the '60's & '70's.

It's always struck me as odd that the very reasons people are motivated to create change, are the same reasons that make them vulnerable to attack. I presume that were government funding not involved, none of this would have been an issue. Where did we get this idea that neutrality of ideas was a prerequisite for the use of public monies?

Ironically, this notion was successfully challenged by faith-based organizations. It's gone in and out of vogue, but in some years pushing a religious agenda, requiring a prayer for service, would exclude an organization from the use of federal funds. Politics found a way to justify this.

At the same time that the faith-based organization was placed squarely on the legitimate table, nonprofits with a political agenda were challenged and found their funding on the chopping block.

Now here's the twist: now we found churches under attack...for pushing political agendas!

Would somebody please make up their mind.

In the end it seems that faith-based and social change organizations are natural partners. Who would have thunk?

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Churches have their own agenda when it comes to political issues and this has been going on for a very long time.

IRS has to look at churches that are pushing the extremes of what they are allowed to do for years, either let IRS investigate churches for political activity or change the law and allow them to do what they want to do .....