Religion and Welfare Reform: Old Battles and New Directions

in God's Economy

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780226134833
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226134857 | DOI:
Religion and Welfare Reform: Old Battles and New Directions

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This chapter examines how charitable choice and the faith-based initiative departed from conventional conservative thinking on welfare reform and the role of the state. It discusses debates within the conservative movement and the religious right which intersected with the legal and legislative developments behind the Faith-Based and Community Initiative, focusing on the views of Conservative Catholics such as William Lind and William Marshner, of the Free Congress Foundation, and leaders of the Protestant far right, including George Grant and Marvin Olasky. Juxtaposed with what these and other religious conservatives wanted out of welfare reform, this chapter argues that the faith-based initiative was a strikingly “progressive” departure that promised to strengthen public welfare by creating a new class of faith-based stakeholders with reciprocal constitutional protections and obligations. The particular legal and administrative reforms of the faith-based initiative drew on and, for many, were an expression of the broader “civil society” movement that swept over American political thought in the 1990s.

Keywords: charitable choice; religious right; welfare reform; civil society; public welfare; religious conservatives; Marvin Olasky; William Marshner; George Grant

Chapter.  19111 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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