This Week in God

News & Politics

First up from the God machine this week is a poll that didn’t get a lot of attention, but was actually pretty important.

A Quinnipiac University national poll released on Thursday covered quite a bit of ground when it came to “culture war” issues, and perhaps most importantly given the recent campaign discussion, produced some interesting data on faith-based federal funding.

American voters support 53 - 41 percent giving money to faith-based organizations to help them run social programs. But voters say 77 - 16 percent groups which receive federal funds cannot discriminate by hiring only members of their own faith.

This is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, that 41% of Americans don’t want faith-based groups to get social-service grants is a surprisingly high number. There’s a perception, which I’ll admit to buying into on occasion, that these kinds of partnerships and contracts — which have been around for years — are overwhelmingly popular. A poll like this suggests there remains some discomfort about mixing church and state, which I find encouraging.

But that second part of the question is even more striking.

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