Scientology Crime Syndicate

Journalist Ray Suarez talks about whether to pour federal funds into religious organizations

The Kansas City Star
10/01/00 22:15

Ray Suarez, a Sunday school teacher and nationally known journalist, wonders whether it's wise to pour federal money into church-based charities.

George W. Bush and Al Gore have made vague proposals to use faith-based organizations to meet society's goals, such as fighting drug addiction, Suarez said Sunday at the annual conference of Catholic Charities U.S.A.

Suarez, former host of National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" and now on PBS' "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer," said he is surprised that those groups aren't more actively considering the pros and cons of taking government money.

Suarez was keynote speaker for the Vision 2000 Award Luncheon, where Rashey B. Moten, Jr. of Kansas City was honored.

Moten, 87, who died in August, was a former executive director of the Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph, a career public school teacher and board member of Catholic Charities U.S.A. In the 1960s he helped launch Head Start and the Neighborhood Youth Corps in Kansas City.

He was the first lay person to be given the award. Previous recipients include Nobel Peace Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa and Mother Teresa, founder of the Missionaries of Charity.

Moten was known for his integrity and vision, said Bishop Larry McNamara, and he inspired confidence in the young and elderly.

"He did more than just help them," McNamara said. "He clothed them in dignity. To Rashey, every one was somebody."

Suarez, a former vice president of Episcopal Charities in Chicago, told a group of about 750 people that church-based charities should be concerned whether there could be a "smooth partnership" with government. Its money could come with guidelines dictating how they choose clients or limiting religious counseling. "What are you willing to surrender in return for the money?" he asked.

He also said transfer of tax dollars to religiously guided social work could lead to other conflicts.

"We will almost inevitably find some of our fellow citizens who pay taxes are more than happy to chip in for programs sponsored by the right kind of religions," Suarez said, "But they aren't ready to countenance a Wiccan substance abuse program, a Scientology sponsored welfare-to-work program or Hindu marriage counselors."



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