George W. Bush created the White House faith-based grant program, and Obama intends to keep the same structure. But Obama is going a significant step further, with the creation of a new board of advisers whose recommendations will be woven directly into his policy-making apparatus...
Under Obama, the President’s Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will allow 25 faith and secular leaders to provide regular input on policy and to advise the White House faith office, which is tasked with distributing grants.
“The conventional wisdom suggests that, since Bush used much rhetoric about his commitment to working closely with religious leaders and communities, that the new Democrat coming to the White House might seek to diminish the role of religion in his administration,” said the Rev. Jim Wallis, the president of the progressive Christian group Sojourners and a member of Obama’s new council. “But I believe the opposite may turn out to be true. There will be a new paradigm of religious influence under the Obama administration.”
...The council will pull together an evangelical megachurch pastor, a Reform rabbi, a former Southern Baptist Convention president and the first female bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The membership is intended to cross the political and religious spectrum, fulfilling Obama’s promise to run an inclusive administration. But with the diversity could come conflict.
A White House faith office?! Please don't tell me we've something like that in Canada!
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