By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country
The bombshell from the new Pew survey on government faith-based initiatives: Democrats are now more supportive than Republicans of houses of worship getting government money for social services, a turnabout from 2001, when George W. Bush launched the White House faith-based office.
A large majority of Americans continue to support faith-based programs, the new Pew Research Center survey shows, though support has slid from 75 percent in 2001 to 69 percent now.
Other key findings from Pew:
- Three quarters oppose George W. Bush's policy—yet to be reversed by the Obama administration—of allowing faith-based organizations receiving federal funds to hire only like-minded believers.
- Just more than half of Americans, 52 percent, oppose permitting Muslim mosques to apply for government dollars, up from 46 percent in 2001.
- Slightly less than half of Americans, 48 percent, support permitting Mormon churches to apply for government funds.
- There's been a marked increase in the percentage of Americans who say religious groups are best poised to feed the homeless. Check out this graph:
- Most Americans don't know President Obama's position on government faith-based initiatives, nor did they know Bush's. Twenty-seven percent know that Obama supports faith-based funding; 36 percent knew that Bush backed it.
- About 1 in 10 Americans (9 percent) reports seeking help from a religious group during the recession.
Read the full survey report here.