Faith-based initiative backfires |

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Bush’s “faith-based initiatives” seem to have backfired.

Bush predicted that his faith-based initiative would be his great legacy. And it does send an estimated $2 billion to religious charities…The initiative did leave another legacy: It gave spirituality a bad name in social-service circles.

The article does not go into detail about why the faith-based approach isn’t working, preferring instead to focus on how clinicians and other professionals could offer a wider selection of spiritual alternatives to patients. But it’s not too hard to see why social services professionals are less than enthusiastic about “faith-based” care: it puts the caregiver at risk of legal consequences without providing any significant benefit.

Of course there are First Amendment issues. Of course the “faith-based” caregiver has to tread carefully to avoid getting sued by one party or another. But we’re talking about addiction treatment programs and similar intractable human problems. If caregivers could obtain vastly superior and more successful results by involving God in the patient’s care, they’d do so, and let the insurance companies worry about hiring the lawyers. Results are results. If “faith-based” care worked, the pros would rally behind it.

Except that it doesn’t work, and therefore the pros are not impressed. “Faith-based” initiatives are having their predictable result: they’re backfiring by demonstrating that they’re not worth the faith people are putting in them. Billions of dollars are being funneled into groups promoting superstitions that don’t work, and you and I are footing the bill.

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