Threat From the South: Is American Religion Bad News for Canadian Social Welfare?



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Threat From the South:

Is American Religion Bad News for Canadian Social Welfare?
James R. Vanderwoerd, MSW, PhD

Associate Professor of Social Work

Dordt College

Sioux Center, Iowa,USA

Jwoerd@dordt.edu


Threat From the South:

Is American Religion Bad News for Canadian Social Welfare?

Threat From the South:

Is American Religion Bad News for Canadian Social Welfare?

Abstract

Recent advances in the role of religion in social welfare in the USA pose both threats and opportunities for social welfare in Canada. Should Canada emulate or resist the US pattern of increased partnerships between government and religion in addressing social problems? This paper raises three questions for consideration regarding the role of religion and its relationship with government in Canadian social welfare: 1) To what extent does government’s relationship with religion favour particular religious groups over others? 2) To what extent does government’s relationship with religious groups encourage or limit freedom of religious expression for individuals and groups? 3) To what extent does government’s relationship with religion indicate a retreat from state responsibility for addressing social problems? The paper concludes with implications for Canadian social welfare and suggests how the social work profession can respond.


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