LONDON – A Christian charity is set to vote on dropping the word “church” from its name because it creates “unnecessary barriers” to receiving public funding.
The Scottish-based Churches Action for the Homeless (CATH) is worried that its perceived religious identity would make it more difficult to access grants.
Trustees have already asked the charity’s supporters to help come up with a new name for the organization which would be “fully inclusive.”
The move has been heavily criticized. According to the Christian Institute, CATH patron Vincent Logan, Roman Catholic Bishop of Dunkeld, said: “CATH owes its origins to churchgoers. I am not aware of anyone having been asked about their beliefs before being offered help, nor of anyone being discriminated against.”
The charity fears that Christian groups are being discriminated against when it comes to receiving public funding.
The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, recently endorsed a report claiming that the British government’s support towards religious groups was overly favoring Muslims.
Another Church of England bishop also recently accused the government of having a pro-Muslim bias in awarding funding.
“Christian groups in particular have suffered irrational prejudice against their funding applications,” the Rt. Rev. Stephen Lowe said, according to The Christian Institute.
Earlier this year, it was revealed that in Scotland Muslim groups receive more public money for “equality” than all other religious groups put together.
The Christian Institute pointed out that in July 2008 Hazel Blears, then Communities Minister, said Christian groups should be used in providing public services as long as they promise not to share the gospel.
Also in 2005, one Christian-run shelter for the homeless was threatened with the loss of funding unless it stopped saying grace at mealtimes and putting Bibles out for use by guests, noted The Christian Institute.
CATH’s supporters will vote on a change of name at the annual general meeting in October.