February 5, 2009
Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, President Obama announced that he will sign an executive order today, creating the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The executive order will require the office to seek assistance from the Attorney General on constitutional issues, including religious hiring. Obama says that the office will not favor one religion over another or religious groups over secular groups. Rather, the goal will be "to work on behalf of organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line our founders wisely drew between church and state."
Joshua Dubois will serve as director of the new office.
Obama will also announce today members of the Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the body that will help determine how funds in the stimulus package will be spent by religious organizations.
The washingtonpost.com posted the story this morning.
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What’s curious then is that among the fifteen leaders who have been named to the new Advisory Council, only Rabbi David Saperstein from the Union for Reform Judaism is an outspoken supporter of women's reproductive choice, although several of the named persons are vocal anti-choice supporters. Given the President's public commitments and the published White House agenda, the lack of denomination and religious organization leaders who are known to be supporters of these issues and who have expertise working on them is troubling and disappointing. It’s also deeply troubling that only one of the council members is a woman religious leader, that only one third are women, and that none are out gay and lesbian religious or secular leaders.
Posted by: Rev. Debra Haffner | Feb 6, 2009 7:58:03 AM