Some Americans assume that religious groups offer aid to entice converts. That’s incorrect. Today, groups like World Vision ban the use of aid to lure anyone into a religious conversation.
Some liberals are pushing to end the longtime practice (it’s a myth that this started with President George W. Bush) of channeling American aid through faith-based organizations. That change would be a catastrophe. In Haiti, more than half of food distributions go through religious groups like World Vision that have indispensable networks on the ground. We mustn’t make Haitians the casualties in our cultural wars.
A root problem is a liberal snobbishness toward faith-based organizations. Those doing the sneering typically give away far less money than evangelicals. They’re also less likely to spend vacations volunteering at, say, a school or a clinic in Rwanda.
That is Nick Kristof in the New York Times. I’m going to have to agree. If a faith-based organization wants to provide secular services, I see no reason the US government shouldn’t fund them. The average quality (I would bet) is better, and few use their position to proselytize. If they do, let there be penalities.
In northern Uganda, World Vision used to hold the bible in one hand and child assistance in the other. The backlash in the aid community was huge, they started to see their funding plummet, and quickly changed course. Incentives matter.