[CUA Office of Public Affairs]

Religion and Social Services -
How Much and How Far?

9 March 1998


What role should religious institutions play in providing social services?

This timely topic will be explored at 3:30 p.m., Thursday, March 12 at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. The event will take place in the Byron Auditorium of the university's law school at 3600 John McCormack Road.

"Welfare as we know it is changing," said Robert Destro, professor at the university's Columbus School of Law. "Can a state - or should a state - contract with religiously affiliated organizations to provide social welfare services? The choices are stark for the states: provide services 'in-house' by expanding their bureaucracies, or contract out to private non-profit and for-profit organizations."

Stephen Goldsmith, mayor of Indianapolis, a leading national proponent of "privatizing" governmental services, will deliver a lecture titled "Providing Social Services: The Role of Church and Synagogue in the Post-Welfare State." His presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with:

John DiIulio, professor of politics and public affairs at Princeton University and director of The Jeremiah Project, which sponsors faith-based programs for youth; E.J. Dionne, a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution; and Harold McDougall, law professor, Columbus School of Law, and author of Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community.

Destro, director of the law school's Law and Religion Program, said that states use religiously affiliated groups to provide some social services, but it is controversial because of the mingling of roles of religion and government and the belief that government alone is responsible for providing services.

The event is sponsored by the Columbus School of Law in collaboration with the school's Law and Public Policy, and Law and Religion programs. The lecture is part of an on-going series of events marking the law school's centennial.

Media contact: Annamarie DeCarlo, 202-319-5600.

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Revised: 9 March 1998

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The Catholic University of America,
Office of Public Affairs.