On Thursday, April 2nd, the Oklahoma Department of Human Services is hosting a lecture by Tony Campolo titled “What Role Should the Faith Community Have in Human Services?”. The talk is from noon to 1 p.m. at the Will Rogers Theater in Oklahoma City.
According to Campolo’s website, he is professor emeritus at Eastern University and founder of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education, an organization that develops schools and social programs in various third world countries and in cities across North America. His latest book is titled Red Letter Christians, A Citizen’s Guide to Faith and Politics.
The role of faith-based organizations in the provision of human services received considerable attention nationally and locally during the early years of the Bush Administration. In Oklahoma, Governor Keating established an Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives in the Department of Human Services. The Office has been out of the spotlight for several years but still operates and receives public funds through the state’s TANF grant. One of President’s Obama early acts was to issue an Executive Order creating the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. While there are some in both the secular and religious camps who consider public funding of religious-based organizations deeply unsettling, even supporters in principle of faith-based services acknowledge that the relationship between government and religious groups raises challenging questions for both institutions.
Dr. Campolo’s lecture is part of the Practice and Policy Lecture Series sponsored by the OKDHS Office of Planning, Research, and Statistics and the University of Oklahoma Center for Public Management.