Thursday, February 5, 2009
Obama to Expand Faith-Based Initiative
NY Times: White House Faith Office to Expand, by Jeff Zeleny & Laurie Goodstein:
President Obama signed an executive order Thursday to create a revamped White House office for religion-based and neighborhood programs, expanding an initiative started by the Bush administration that provides government support — and financing — to religious and charitable organizations that deliver social services.
“No matter how much money we invest or how sensibly we design our policies, the change that Americans are looking for will not come from government alone,” Mr. Obama said. “There is a force for good greater than government.”
In announcing the expansion of the religion office, Mr. Obama did not settle the biggest question: Can religious groups that receive federal money for social service programs hire only those who share their faith?
The Bush administration said yes. But many religious groups and others that are concerned about employment discrimination and protecting the separation of church and state had pushed hard for Mr. Obama to repeal the Bush policies.