It is no secret that President Bush has made it a priority of his administration to increase the role of faithbased institutions in meeting the social service needs of the nation. The major questions for such entities, however, are: 1) how much of a role will they play, and 2) what demands, if any, will be placed upon their beliefs in the process. The answer to the first question is that they have been offered a rather large role, whether one looks at the President’s proposals or those in Congress, all of which provide potentially billions of dollars for charitable work. The answer to the next question, though, is less clear. Certainly, President Bush has made efforts to reassure faith-based groups. Yet, based on the latest Senate proposal, which apart from more limited efforts presently underway (including executive orders) reflects the most likely form the project will ultimately take,
there is reason for these groups to hesitate. Indeed, such hesitation is particularly warranted in light of the proposal’s potential impact on the ability of faith-based entities to make employment decisions in accord with their religious beliefs. Upon further reflection, however, there may be cause for hope - at least on some level.