State's Faith-Based Programs Rack Up Grant Money

Montgomery, AL – Faith-based organizations in Alabama received more than $12 million in federal grants in 2003. New numbers from the White House say about 17 groups in the state were considered faith-based by the government and qualified for the funding as nonprofit organizations. A Marion-based organization got $1 million for Head-Start programs. Also, the Selma-based Rural Health Medical Program received $1.5 million. Some of the groups were also able to qualify for the first time since President Bush's faith-based initiative started in 2001. The initiative allows religious groups to compete for government money to operate social service programs. Bush's policy has drawn opposition from advocates of the separation of church and state who say the government could wind up funding religious activities.