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VOA标准英语2012--Decade Later, Debate Goes on Over US Government Faith-Based Partnership

时间:2012-01-03 07:41来源:互联网 提供网友:nan   字体: [ ]

Decade Later, Debate Goes on Over US Government Faith-Based Partnership1

A truck filled with food boxes arrives at the doors of the Church of the Nazarene in the Philadelphia suburb of Colingdale in time for the weekly "Family Dinner." Neighborhood families who are struggling to feed themselves are invited in for a hot meal and free groceries.

Lisa Anne Gulley winces2 from the constant pain of an abscessed tooth as a volunteer fills her shopping bag. Gulley hasn't been able to afford dental treatment since she was laid off from her job, let alone pay the bills.

"We lost our home, we lost everything," she said. "So I come for God and they give the suppers and the food."

Churches and other religious institutions in the United States receive hundreds of millions of dollars a year in taxpayer3 money to provide social services such as feeding the poor.

This cooperation between government and religion is known as the Faith-Based Initiative, and it has grown in the decade since President George W. Bush set up federal offices to promote it. But critics say the initiative violates the constitutional prohibition4 against establishing an official state religion.

"We're not establishing any religion," said Max Finberg, director of the one of the offices set up by President Bush, the Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships5 at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "What we're doing is making sure that everybody in need who qualifies for the programs that USDA is mandated7 to offer is getting this information and this help and putting food on the table."

At the Nazarene church, pastor8 Donna Sarog says anyone is welcome to ask for help.

"We don't insist on them hearing the Gospel before they eat, at all," she said. But she adds that as an evangelical Christian9, it is her obligation to "share Christ, whether verbally, or just in our actions."

As the visitors devour10 steaming bowls of chili11 in the church cafeteria, a volunteer reads aloud a passage from the New Testament12 about Jesus' early followers13 sharing a meal together.

Finberg says churches distributing food purchased with government money may not proselytize14. But he concedes that the line between proselytizing15 and living out one's faith "gets a little gray in certain aspects."

"When you are required to pray in whatever tradition in order to receive food or to receive benefits," he added, "that crosses the line."

One church near Collingdale was kicked out of the faith-based program after a Muslim man reported being proselytized16, according to Alan Edelstein, director of the Family and Community Service of Delaware County which administers its state-funded food assitance program.

The Commonwealth17 of Pennsylvania gives $15 million to its counties to feed the poor. Delaware County's share - more than half a million dollars - is used to buy food and deliver it to food pantries located at churches throughout the county including the Nazarene.

Edelstein says the county chose to work through churches because they were already active in low-income neighborhoods and provide their own volunteers and staff.

"You really get the best bang for the buck18 this way," he said.

University of Pennsylvania social policy professor Ram6 Cnaan says it would be "ostrich-like" to try to alleviate19 hunger in America without acknowleding a role for churches. Cnaan, an expert on faith based organizations, says there are more churches per square mile in America than any other establishment.

"So is it to the advantage of the American taxpayer and citizen? Yes. Is it a threat to the separation of church and state? Maybe," he said, "but in this case we should have a constitutional decision," he says, referring to the absence of a Supreme20 Court ruling on the government's faith-based initiatives.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State based in Washington, DC, is trying to mount a challenge on the basis that some religious organizations employ only people of their own faith - a practice that is prohibited for tax-funded organizations.

AU director Barry Lynn, an ordained21 minister in the United Church of Christ, worries that some churches are taking advantage of hungry people.

"People feel pressured in circumstances of vulnerability to do whatever the person offering the sandwich wants them to do," he said, adding that if America wants to eliminate poverty, it should improve the public welfare system.

"If we had a system that was comprehensive," he said, "you wouldn't need to find a church here, a synagogue there, a mosque22 somewhere else, to provide these services."


1 partnership NmfzPy     
  • The company has gone into partnership with Swiss Bank Corporation.这家公司已经和瑞士银行公司建立合作关系。
  • Martin has taken him into general partnership in his company.马丁已让他成为公司的普通合伙人。
2 winces aa68d3811154d85da7609e9eb1057ae9     
避开,畏缩( wince的名词复数 )
  • He winces at the memory of that experience. 他一回想起那番经历就畏缩起来。
  • He winces at the memory of that defeat. 一想到那次失败他就畏缩了。
3 taxpayer ig5zjJ     
  • The new scheme will run off with a lot of the taxpayer's money.这项新计划将用去纳税人许多钱。
  • The taxpayer are unfavourably disposed towards the recent tax increase.纳税者对最近的增加税收十分反感。
4 prohibition 7Rqxw     
  • The prohibition against drunken driving will save many lives.禁止酒后开车将会减少许多死亡事故。
  • They voted in favour of the prohibition of smoking in public areas.他们投票赞成禁止在公共场所吸烟。
5 partnerships ce2e6aff420d72bbf56e8077be344bc9     
n.伙伴关系( partnership的名词复数 );合伙人身份;合作关系
  • Partnerships suffer another major disadvantage: decision-making is shared. 合伙企业的另一主要缺点是决定要由大家来作。 来自英汉非文学 - 政府文件
  • It involved selling off limited partnerships. 它涉及到售出有限的合伙权。 来自辞典例句
6 ram dTVxg     
(random access memory)随机存取存储器
  • 512k RAM is recommended and 640k RAM is preferred.推荐配置为512K内存,640K内存则更佳。
7 mandated b1de99702d7654948b507d8fbbea9700     
adj. 委托统治的
  • Mandated desegregation of public schools. 命令解除公立学校中的种族隔离
  • Britain was mandated to govern the former colony of German East Africa. 英国受权代管德国在东非的前殖民地。
8 pastor h3Ozz     
  • He was the son of a poor pastor.他是一个穷牧师的儿子。
  • We have no pastor at present:the church is run by five deacons.我们目前没有牧师:教会的事是由五位执事管理的。
9 Christian KVByl     
  • They always addressed each other by their Christian name.他们总是以教名互相称呼。
  • His mother is a sincere Christian.他母亲是个虔诚的基督教徒。
10 devour hlezt     
  • Larger fish devour the smaller ones.大鱼吃小鱼。
  • Beauty is but a flower which wrinkle will devour.美只不过是一朵,终会被皱纹所吞噬。
11 chili JOlzm     
  • He helped himself to another two small spoonfuls of chili oil.他自己下手又加了两小勺辣椒油。
  • It has chocolate,chili,and other spices.有巧克力粉,辣椒,和其他的调味品。
12 testament yyEzf     
  • This is his last will and testament.这是他的遗愿和遗嘱。
  • It is a testament to the power of political mythology.这说明,编造政治神话可以产生多大的威力。
13 followers 5c342ee9ce1bf07932a1f66af2be7652     
追随者( follower的名词复数 ); 用户; 契据的附面; 从动件
  • the followers of Mahatma Gandhi 圣雄甘地的拥护者
  • The reformer soon gathered a band of followers round him. 改革者很快就获得一群追随者支持他。
14 proselytize 3Rjx0     
  • I assured him we didn't come here to proselytize.我向他保证我们并不是来改变他的信仰的。
  • Christians were arrested for trying to convert people,to proselytise them.基督徒因为试图改变他人信仰而被捕。
15 proselytizing 73295a47af7149cade76e485339da3a8     
v.(使)改变宗教信仰[政治信仰、意见等],使变节( proselytize的现在分词 )
16 proselytized bd491b5f70d627877de6b8af7c98298b     
v.(使)改变宗教信仰[政治信仰、意见等],使变节( proselytize的过去式和过去分词 )
17 commonwealth XXzyp     
  • He is the chairman of the commonwealth of artists.他是艺术家协会的主席。
  • Most of the members of the Commonwealth are nonwhite.英联邦的许多成员国不是白人国家。
18 buck ESky8     
  • The boy bent curiously to the skeleton of the buck.这个男孩好奇地弯下身去看鹿的骸骨。
  • The female deer attracts the buck with high-pitched sounds.雌鹿以尖声吸引雄鹿。
19 alleviate ZxEzJ     
  • The doctor gave her an injection to alleviate the pain.医生给她注射以减轻疼痛。
  • Nothing could alleviate his distress.什么都不能减轻他的痛苦。
20 supreme PHqzc     
  • It was the supreme moment in his life.那是他一生中最重要的时刻。
  • He handed up the indictment to the supreme court.他把起诉书送交最高法院。
21 ordained 629f6c8a1f6bf34be2caf3a3959a61f1     
v.任命(某人)为牧师( ordain的过去式和过去分词 );授予(某人)圣职;(上帝、法律等)命令;判定
  • He was ordained in 1984. 他在一九八四年被任命为牧师。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He was ordained priest. 他被任命为牧师。 来自辞典例句
22 mosque U15y3     
  • The mosque is a activity site and culture center of Muslim religion.清真寺为穆斯林宗教活动场所和文化中心。
  • Some years ago the clock in the tower of the mosque got out of order.几年前,清真寺钟楼里的大钟失灵了。
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