FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) _ A group that helps homeless people has lost federal funding because its application for assistance asks too many questions about religion, county officials say.

In the application form, Operation Blessing asked whether applicants considered themselves saved from eternal damnation because they are observant Christians. The agency also asked whether people needing aid believed they will go to heaven.

About two years ago, Operation Blessing applied for and received a $50,000 federal grant. It used the money to house, clothe and feed the homeless. The group also helped pay utility bills and mortgage payments to prevent homelessness.

County officials who manage the grant money informed Operation Blessing's officials in May that asking about an applicant's faith is considered a violation of federal regulations.

Group officials wonder why their grant was approved in the first place since they provided a sample of the application form.

Operation Blessings board president Martin Rasmussen said the message seemed to him to be that ``Christian organizations should not work with the government on helping people.''