By Mark Alan Leslie
What began as “a brilliant move” by then-President George W. Bush to fund abstinence training in the fight against HIV/AIDS abroad has been turned on its head by the Obama administration. As a result, faith-based missions groups and church outreaches have lost tens of millions of dollars in support.
In addition, President Barack Obama’s decision to cut federal money to faith-based groups unless they give equal training from other religions. Mission groups that received federal aid are left scrambling to make up the difference that, in many cases, equals hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Lavonne Stevens of Nashville, chief operating officer of African Leadership from 2003 to 2009, said that in 2009, word came out of Washington, D.C., that, “if an organization was faith-based and proselytizing was a core part of what it was doing, it lost its funding.”
African Leadership, a Christian education and development organization, trains church leaders in Africa and funds relief and development projects. At least five missionary groups it worked with lost federal funding, Stevens said.
Among them are groups that teach abstinence, such as Living Hope, a church-based outreach, which received funds from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, established by Congress and President Bush in 2003.
“Our cut was $347,000 per annum,” said Living Hope chairperson John V. Thomas, senior pastor at King of Kings Baptist Church in South Africa. Click here to continue reading.