Most in U.S. Support Funding of Religious Charities

75% Approve Bush´s Proposal, Survey Finds

WASHINGTON, D.C., APR. 12, 2001 ( Most Americans support President George W. Bush´s plan to allocate funds to religious institutions involved in social work, a survey finds. But opinions differ on how Bush´s policy should be carried out.

The survey, by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, found that 75% of Americans believe it is appropriate to allocate government funds to religious institutions involved in social problems, 21% were opposed, and 4% had no opinion.

In particular, 69% of those surveyed support the funding of initiatives of churches and synagogues. The Catholic Church attracted the highest consensus (62%) as regards public funding, followed by the Protestant churches (61%), Jewish synagogues (58%), and Christian evangelical churches (52%).

The consensus dropped markedly in the case of Muslim mosques (only 38% think they should receive state funds for charity works), Buddhist temples (38%), Nation of Islam (29%), and the Church of Scientology (26%).

On one hand, fully 68% worry that faith-based initiatives might lead to too much government involvement with religious organizations. On the other, six in every 10 express concerns that religious groups would proselytize among recipients of social services, and about the same percentage would prohibit groups that encourage religious conversion from receiving government funds.

Americans have an even bigger problem with government-funded religious organizations hiring only those people who share their beliefs — 78% oppose that concept.

The survey of 2,041 adults was conducted from March 5 through 18 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and the Pew Research Center for People and the Press. For more information see: