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Secular? Mandatory Survey when Applying for Funds from US Government

Recently, we were looking at a grant from the US Department of Education. In addition to expected elements like project description and budget details, there was a mandatory survey that seemed completely irrelevant to a program in science literacy. It's called the "Faith Based EEO Survey".

I know this is old-news for the non-profit sector, but it was the first time I'd actually seen the form myself. Once getting over the initial surprise, the form itself seemed very odd. The survey consisted of seven questions:

  1. Has the applicant ever received a grant or contract from the Federal government?
  2. Is the applicant a faith-based organization?
  3. Is the applicant a secular organization?
  4. Does the applicant have 501(c)(3) status?
  5. Is the applicant a local affiliate of a national organization?
  6. How many full-time equivalent employees des the applicant have?
  7. What is the size of the applicant's annual budget?

If an organization is faith-based, doesn't that exclude it from being a secular organization? It seems like a trick question, somehow.


What I want to know is, how did the term "faith-based" slip so easily into our language - does it make a religious organization appear more legitimate?

We have faith in science, but are open to other, respectful, faiths... How about that? :)