Megachurch pastor says it's hard to partner with US government

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Rev. Rick Warren's Saddleback Church sends its members and money around the world to help fight poverty and disease.

But at a congressional hearing last week, Warren said it's much easier to partner with foreign countries than with the U.S. government on relief efforts. He said foreign officials are "not nearly as afraid of the church as the American government is."

Warren was responding to Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire who asked how churches could help Americans understand the ongoing need for U.S. funding to fight AIDS in Africa.

He said, "It's been my experience that the faith community has been more willing to partner than the government has been willing to partner back."

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma said it's ironic that the U.S. was in the vanguard of promoting religious liberty around the world, but now seems "afraid of faith."

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