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The Dynamics of Faith-Based Policy Initiatives

Symposium

Abstract

All of the amazing activity of individuals and organizations interested in charitable causes does not occur in a context-free ether. Government shepherds the hardworking individuals and charitable organizations through the provision of a complicated context involving tax codes and other legal structures. Such a context shapes not only the giving behavior of donors but also the activities of charities and other non-profit organizations, the expectations of service providers and service clients, and government itself as it relates to this vast and important economic sector. Perhaps the most important aspect of government’s shepherding role is that in the provision of this context government not only affects the lives of millions of needy Americans but also shapes the social understanding of the role government should assume regarding charity and social assistance. It is this educative function that is crucial because, through the provision of a context for charities, government also socializes Americans to think, consider, and act toward charities in particular ways.

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