Ram A. Cnaan
Religions have traditionally called upon believers to be generous and assist others in need. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, and Hinduism are a few examples of religions that stress this call. In the United States, the roots of the current religious system date back to the 17th century, when those who fled Europe to escape religious persecution established the first congregations. However, real faith-based social care developed only after independence and disestablishment. Today, faith-based social care is an essential part of the American welfare system, from the safety net provided by congregations to the sophisticated contracted services provided by the faith-based social services.