The Kentucky arm of Teen Challenge, a faith-based rehab program aimed at adolescents, has "given up" its $50,000 federal grant. They obviously should never have been receiving it in the first place:
Teen Challenge, Americans United pointed out, requires participants to take part in prayer, worship, Bible study and other religious activities. Program participants must sign a "Civil Rights Waiver" in which each surrenders the right to "exercis[e] the religion of my choice."
Applicants for the program are required to describe their Christian faith and agree to conduct themselves in a "Christ-like manner." The organization vows to offer "deliverance from addiction through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and practical application of Biblical principles."
While the Bush Administration has been loath to investigate any of this activity that's being federally funded, this was completely obvious. Here's the national organization's description of their program:
Teen Challenge programs have been developed to encourage the student to cope with everyday life issues. Students typically rise between 5:45 and 6:15am. Devotions, Bible Reading, and Chapels are essential elements of the program as well as discipleship training during an average day. Secondary education is provided in all adolescent programs.
There is generally very little free or unsupervised time as this has been found to be a hindrance to the successful progress of the student. Three healthy meals are provided throughout the day and students are provided a variety of work assignments to complete. This full day of activity normally ends between 10:00 and 10:30pm.
In the early phase of the program, several studies of the Teen Challenge curriculum, Group Studies for New Christians are taught. These cover many of the basic issues regarding discipleship, basic Christian living, and character development. Personal Studies for New Christians contracts may also be used to influence specific issues in the individual.
In the latter phase, students will be involved in more in-depth Bible study and issues basic to daily Christian living based on a Biblical worldview. The classes provide instruction on practical Christian living, intensive bible studies, and the responsibility of the Christian to the community.
Upon graduation, students are made aware of educational and ministry opportunities in their local community colleges and churches. Although pursuing higher education has obvious benefits for any individual, it is vital that the Church has a place for those in the after care process. Continuing involvement in the local church is critical to the on-going development of any believer, especially those who have come through the battleground of addiction.
Wow, good of them to eventually mention addiction once while describing, y'know, a rehab center.
While this program may be effective (Americans United for the Separation of Church and State insists that it isn't), it shouldn't be funded by public dollars. It seems more focused on pulling people into the flock when they're down and out, and probably forced to attend by their parents.
That shouldn't be the goal of faith-based programming at all, but the Bush administration has been good at using the treasury as a private piggy bank for loyal supporters.