Evangelism and Church-State Partnerships

Sider, Ronald J. and Heidi Rolland Unruh. “Evangelism and Church-State Partnerships.” Unpublished paper, n.d.

Ron Sider and Heidi Unruh contend that the integrity of Charitable Choice is not compromised by churches which connect faith with social action ministries, provided that religious activities are voluntary and are supported by private funds. Charitable Choice is a new government social welfare program which recognizes the role faith-based organizations play in providing social transformation to the larger community. <p> Sider and Unruh address legal and theological/moral issues church-state collaborations like Charitable Choice raise concerning evangelism’s role in publicly-funded social service programs. They cite two of their project’s case studies as positive examples of evangelism in the context of government-funded social ministries. They supprt the First Amendment principle of church-state separation while countering the popular notion that evangelism is restrictive and counter-cultural in a pluralistic society. They believe that government and social service providers should take a methodologically neutral stance toward faith-based organizations while at the same time evaluating all programs for effectiveness.