Survey Shows Americans Divided Over Funding for Faith-Based Groups

A new survey conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press shows that while the public expresses strong support for the idea of faith-based groups receiving government funding to provide social services, it has reservations about how such a plan might be put into practice. Most Americans, for example, would not extend the right to apply for federal funding to non-Judeo-Christian religious groups such as Muslims, Buddhist Americans, the Nation of Islam, or the Church of Scientology.

According to the survey, while 75 percent of Americans support federal funding for faith-based groups, fully 68 percent of those surveyed worry that faith-based initiatives might result in too much government involvement with religious organizations. Sixty percent of those surveyed also expressed concern that religious groups would proselytize among recipients of their services, and about the same percentage indicated that they would prohibit groups that encourage religious conversion from receiving government funds.

The survey also found that attitudes toward funding for faith-based groups have become more politicized since last year, with Republicans looking more favorably on faith-based initiatives and Democrats becoming somewhat less enthusiastic about such initiatives.

The survey of 2,041 adults was conducted from March 5-18 by the Pew Research Center and is the first of what is exepected to be an annual survey on religion and public life by the Pew Forum.

To view the results of the survey, visit: http://pewforum.org/events/0410/report/execsum.php3.

"The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life Releases First National Survey Probing Specifics of Support for Faith-Based Funding" Pew Forum on Religion Press Release 04/10/2001.