The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.







The Faith Based Initiative

by JC Bowman

There is a saying made popular by Mort Blackwell an icon in leadership development: Pray as if it all depended on God, work as if it all depended on you!

I believe the time is now for men and women of faith to get to work.  There is an opportunity in America, like few other times in history. Dave Donaldson in his book by the same name has called this time in our history a Revolution of Compassion.  He is right!

I believe Faith-Based and Community Initiative represents a fresh start and bold new approach to government's role in helping those in need. And it really does depend on you!

Congressman J. C. Watts (nice name may I add), stated for this revolution to grow, it must be rooted in a commitment to the neighborhood and to faith-based organizations, to the people in the same zip code as those who need the help.

Americans agree overwhelmingly that public funds should go to the groups that get the best results.  In many cases faith-based organizations are the most effective at addressing our nations brokenness.

But time and again government has ignored or impeded the efforts of extremely effective faith-based and community organizations. We know too often compassionate efforts to improve our society have been unnecessarily inhibited by bureaucratic red tape and restrictions placed on funding.

Government policy says, on the one hand, perhaps you can help; on the other hand, you can't practice your faith.

Faith-based programs are only effective because they do practice faith. It's important for our government to understand that.

That is why our country needs organizations such as We Care America to help broker change in this city, among the power brokers and policy makers who shape our government.

The open hostility toward men and women of faith, let alone policies which are friendly toward faith, have constantly been targeted by those who ridicule our beliefs and oppose any efforts to give life meaning.  But I believe those

J C Bowman

-J. C. Bowman, a native of Cleveland, is a well informed and outspoken conservative educator.  He is Director for the Center for Education Innovation at Florida State University. Prior to this, he served as the Director for the Florida Department of Education Choice Office and as the Chief Policy Analyst of the Education Policy Unit for Florida Governor Jeb Bush.


who are opponents of faith-based efforts will ultimately fail. Those who are offended by faith should themselves be questioned.

Faith brings hope to mankind, and gives us our own personal roadmap for life.  Once faith is removed from the public square, our nation risks a moral collapse and ultimately a loss of identity as a nation.

I am not offended when my fellow countrymen display their faith or lack of faith.  I am offended when God fearing Americans are seen as being out of touch with our founder's representation of providence.

I would argue that while we are witnessing a change of behavior or shift, it is merely a return to what our founding fathers believed in regards to the role of the faith based community.

The White House Office and the Centers for the Faith-Based and Community Initiative -- located in seven Federal agencies -- are working to support the essential work of faith-based organizations.  I think the founding fathers would be very proud.

We have heard about many of these programs from government leaders and informed about these issues.  And as witnessed by the State of the Union speech by President Bush we have a real ally in the Oval office, and he plans to make more money available to the faith-based community.

The president must make it a goal to ensure that grassroots leaders can compete on an equal footing for federal dollars, receive greater private support, and face fewer bureaucratic barriers.  It will also fulfill the dreams and aspirations of faith based leaders across America.

I think leveling the playing field for faith-based organizations is vital to the future of the country.  Alexis DeToqueville said: "America is great, because America is good."  We are good because of who we are as a people of faith.  When we quit being good, we will quit being great.

President Bush gently reminded us that faith is power greater than all others.
It's an important lesson for us to remember here in America, that God's word can humble the mighty, can lift up the meek, and can bring comfort and strength to all who yearn for justice and freedom.

Those of us who are involved with public policy must embrace a philosophy that we must all work together to save lives.

The importance of the faith-based initiative cannot be underestimated.  It is serious work, for serious people.  It is God's work for God's people.  If you are a child of God, it is time for you to get serious.

The president also reminded us recently that in the land of plenty, we must recognize there are still people who hurt. In the land of plenty, there are people who search for the light, who simply want a chance to succeed and realize their God-given talents.