Faith and Welfare Policy: Taking a Both-And Approach

Unruh, Heidi Rolland. “Faith and Welfare Policy: Taking a Both-And Approach.” Unpublished paper. Inaugural Conference of the Center for American and Jewish Studies, Baylor University, [Waco, TX], November 2, 2000.

Believing faith-based organizations should represent a holistic response to social needs, Heidi Unruh explores three of the “both-ands” which describe the human condition and the role of faith communities in meeting these needs. She frames these principles within the context of social welfare policy. Her both-and principles include: (1) the human person is both a spiritual and a physical being; (2) addressing social problems involves both individual responsibility and social justice; and (3) faith communities and society must embrace both passionate particularity and respectful pluralism. <p> The author follows these principles with specific implications on how her ideas can help craft public policy in relation to welfare reform and church-state collaboration. She concludes by citing the example of Cookman United Methodist Church in North Philadelphia and its Transitional Journey Program which helps women on welfare achieve self-sufficiency.