Quad Quotes: March-April 2001


How effective would President Bush’s proposal be to give federal funds to faith-based organizations for community improvement projects, and would such a program present problems of separation of church and state?

  During my research in Chicago on church social outreach programs, I found that there were about 1,500 volunteer tutors and mentors, mostly from churches, and approximately forty church-based outreach programs, other nonprofit organizations, and government agencies working in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood. These efforts were directed at the mere 2,500 school-age children who, according to government statistics, lived in the neighborhood.
  While many individual lives were transformed, faith-based efforts did not noticeably change the world of Cabrini-Green; that has been left to the bulldozers and property developers. If such a substantial coalescence of church efforts failed to make a significant impact on this neighborhood, how much can we expect from the expansion of such programs now promised by the Bush administration?
  I would argue for cautious expectations. It is certainly true that churches do have two potential advantages over government agencies. First, church members endow their volunteer efforts and financial giving with a religious meaning—a meaning that is not normally associated with paying taxes. Second, recipients of church assistance sometimes find their lives transformed as they start to participate in the life of the church and live by its values.
  We found that churches using the first advantage created large programs that often changed the lives of the volunteers. However, the most effective programs used the second advantage, transforming the recipients by bringing them within the religious meaning and value system of the church.
  If effectiveness is dependent upon the religious values really “getting under the skin” of the recipient, this presents a dilemma: The more effective the programs, the more likely they are to try to incorporate recipients into the churches, and thus the greater the likelihood that they will tread on that tricky church-state border. But if the churches keep their distance, in religious terms, from the recipients of their aid, the less likely they are to be effective.

—Matthew J. Price is associate director, Duke Pastoral Leadership Project, for the Divinity School.

We asked students in a magazine journalism course: Do you keep up with the daily
news, and if so, what specific news sources do you turn to?

This is clearly a mixed-media generation—even as the Internet seems to loom large in the mix. Third-year law student Revella Cook says most of her news comes from television, including CNN and the local Fox affiliate’s 10 o’clock news program. Through a program available to freshmen, Alex Garinger gets The New York Times free of charge every day, and he says he reads the first section and the arts pages. He also samples CNN along with MSNBC.com, Salon. com, and aintitcoolnews.com, a movie-news website.
 Another staunch Internet advocate, Tim Perzyk ’02, says, “Generally, I find online resources most appealing, as I needn’t wade through dirty pages of newsprint or endure television commercials.” He does subscribe to The Wall Street Journal, but “I normally read only the front page.”
  Tara Bergen ’03 and Emily Grey ’03 are among those who get the headlines from The Times e-mailed to them every day; Bergen says she usually reads “the major news,” which is available electronically through links to the headlines.
  Troy Clair ’03 finds himself drawn to network websites, such as CBSnews.com and CNN.com, along with Salon.com. He adds, “I have watched live webcasts of the trials in Florida over the election, portions of the Ashcroft hearings, speeches by the president, and other events.” When major news is breaking, Caroline Wilson ’02 will “log on to NY Times.com once a day, as I did during the 2000 election.”
  Brad Balukjian ’02 and Shawn Nicholls ’02 look to MSNBC.com for headlines. Neither student, though, is Internet-exclusive. Balukjian subscribes to Raleigh’s News & Observer. Nicholls gets The New York Times print version, though, he notes, “My coursework often keeps me from making it through The Times.”
  And in a tribute to the campus media—or in a statement about student priorities in information-seeking—Patrick Adams ’01 says more often than not, “It’s The Chronicle” that he turns to for his daily news digest.

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