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Tax dollars pay for religion behind bars

Diana B. Henriques and Andrew Lehren of The New York Times report on the proliferation of faith-based rehabilitation programs funded by tax dollars and springing up in correctional facilities across the country. "Since 2000, courts have cited more than a dozen programs for having unconstitutionally used taxpayer money to pay for religious activities or evangelism aimed at prisoners, recovering addicts, job seekers, teenagers and children." Proponents of these programs look to President Bush's Faith-Based and Community Initiative, "a high-profile effort to encourage religious and community groups to participate in government programs," as justification for the funding "so long as any direct financing is used only for secular expenses." Recent Government Accounting Office reports indicate improvements are needed in how grants to faith-based organizations are monitored.

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