BostonGlobeonforeignaidI

BostonGlobeonforeignaidI - THE BOSTON GLOBE PART 1:...

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THE BOSTON GLOBE PART 1: CHANGING THE RULES | EXPORTING FAITH Bush brings faith to foreign aid As funding rises, Christian groups deliver help -- with a message President Bush, shown addressing a conference on faith-based initiatives in March, has said he made changes "on my own." (Doug Mills/ The New York Times) October 8, 2006 This story is the first of four parts. It was reported and written by Farah Stockman, Michael Kranish, and Peter S. Canellos of the Globe Staff, and Globe correspondent Kevin Baron. LAKARTINYA, Kenya -- The herders of this remote mountain village know little about America, but have learned from those who run a US-funded aid program about the American God. A Christian God. The US government has given $10.9 million to Food for the Hungry, a faith-based development organization, to reach deep into the arid mountains of northern Kenya to provide training in hygiene, childhood illnesses, and clean water. The group has brought all that, and something else that increasingly accompanies US-funded aid programs: r regular church service and prayer. President Bush has almost doubled the percentage of US foreign-aid dollars going to faith-based groups such as Food for the Hungry, according to a Globe survey of government data. And in seeking to help such groups obtain more contracts, Bush has systematically eliminated or weakened rules designed to enforce the separation of church and state. In Lakartinya, a simple hut built with funds from the US government is the first in the area to have a tin roof. It serves as a station for weighing babies, distributing food, teaching health classes -- and, until recently, initiating local people into the rites of Christianity, according to Food for the Hungry staff. Classes begin and end with prayers, and in some cases are followed by Christian services.
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For decades, US policy has sought to avoid intermingling government programs and religious proselytizing. The aim is both to abide by the Constitution's prohibition against a state religion and to ensure that aid recipients don't forgo assistance because they don't share the religion of the provider. Since medical programs are aimed at the most serious illnesses -- AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis -- the decision whether to seek treatment can determine life or death. But many of those restrictions were removed by Bush in a little-noticed series of executive orders -- a policy change that cleared the way for religious groups to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in additional government funding. It also helped change the message American aid workers bring to many corners of the world, from emphasizing religious neutrality to touting the healing powers of the Christian God. Bush's orders altered the longstanding practice that groups preach religion in one space and run
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BostonGlobeonforeignaidI - THE BOSTON GLOBE PART 1:...

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