Although faith-based organizations within the U.S. have received the most funding and controversy, government funding of these groups abroad is raising similar church-state questions. In the Review of Faith & International Affairs (Spring), Robert B. Lloyd writes that in 2002 President Bush issued executive orders that would eliminate barriers from faith-based organizations abroad getting funds from the United States Agency for International Development, the main agency for international foreign assistance.
Although most of the federal funding for faith-based organizations has been spent on the domestic level, the amounts given to foreign FBOs have increased, with the Catholic Relief Services (71 percent) and World Vision (23 percent) receiving the highest percentage of government revenue.
The sticky issue for faith-based groups are the requirements the USAID has laid down in order to receive funding, especially those restricting money to any specific religious activity and prohibiting religious discrimination in employment. Lloyd studied one foreign FBO to ascertain how such funding may change a faith-based organization. The official from this (unnamed) group claimed that such funding has brought closer scrutiny of international activities from church/state watchdog groups.
But such pressure has not affected its faith identity at “higher levels“ of the organization. Other FBOs may not preserve religious hiring rights so they can accept contracts. In contrast, an FBO may, for example, take the abstinence part of a contract for AIDS services and subcontract the part providing condoms to another organization.
(The Review of Faith & International Affairs, P.O. Box 14477, Washington, DC 20044)