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CHURCHES' ACCEPTING GOVT. MONEY 'RISK INTEGRITY'
A new report warns that Church-based welfare agencies accepting Federal government contracts to provide welfare services are at risk of becoming "corrupt", The Catholic Weekly reports.
    Playing With Fire: Churches, Welfare Services and Government Contracts, a paper by The Centre for Independent Studies, a right-wing think tank, says welfare bodies run by Christian Churches risk losing their autonomy if they accept government contracts.
    Dr Samuel Gregg, the author's report, said: "As the funds from state contracts begin to constitute the bulk of the financial resources of Church welfare groups, the culture of these organisations changes - for the worse."
    Dr Gregg said Church agencies could find themselves developing into "pseudo-state organisations", as well as being forced to dilute their message to avoid losing state funding.
    "There is," he said, "much evidence to suggest that government contracts gradually corrupt the culture of Church welfare groups. "Already, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has issued guidelines that, if they had any legal force, would severely compromise the ability of Church welfare bodies which have accepted such contracts to maintain their integrity.
    "Government welfare contracts could turn out to be Trojan horses, whereby quasi-judicial commissions and boards start telling Churches what are 'core' and 'non-core' religious activities - this is unacceptable."
   
Cath Weekly
   
17 Aug 00



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