web analytics
October 22, 2014 / 28 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
News & Views
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Obama Faith-Based Office Emphasizes ‘Policy Partnership’


WASHINGTON – Barack Obama said during the campaign that he wanted to keep George W. Bush’s faith-based office around – but revamp it. Among the examples of the changes is the new Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which invited the press to its first briefing for religious and community leaders.


A handful of religion reporters were able to sit in on the two-hour session Monday afternoon at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. Participants included many members of the office’s new 25-person Advisory Council, religious and community activists, and even some church-state separation advocates.


Much more important than media access were the contrasts Joshua DuBois, executive director of the office, drew between the new office and its function over the previous eight years.


DuBois said the goal of the Bush administration’s faith-based office to “level the playing field” for faith-based organizations when bidding for government grants was important, but that the new president’s goal was to utilize the knowledge and expertise of religious and community organizations to achieve particular policy goals. Those priorities include addressing domestic poverty and contributing to the economic recovery, promoting responsible fatherhood, reducing unintended pregnancies and the need for abortion, and enhancing interreligious dialogue and cooperation.


He also emphasized that the administration wanted a “policy-based partnership,” and that the office did not have a political or advocacy-based agenda. Much of Monday’s meeting consisted of Obama administration officials who work in areas such as education policy, urban affairs and combating poverty. They outlined the president’s goals in those areas and appealed for ideas from the leaders on, among other things, the kinds of programs that work in their communities.


DuBois said strengthening the “legal and constitutional footing” and drawing “appropriate legal lines” for faith groups receiving government dollars also were a priority and another way the office would differ from the Bush administration’s faith-based operations. He did not go into specifics on legal issues but told the group he wanted to “work with you all on that process.”


The most contentious legal issue is whether faith-based groups receiving federal funds should be able to take religion into account when hiring, which groups were allowed to do during the Bush administration. Opponents say it amounts to federally funded religious discrimination, while supporters say it is essential to maintaining the religious character of the organization.


When Obama established the faith-based office in February, a legal review was put in place but no decision was made on the employment issue.


DuBois also noted that despite beliefs to the contrary by many he had met during the presidential campaign, the faith-based office does not distribute grant money. He did say the office could provide “technical assistance” to groups who were interested in applying for such grants from government agencies.


Reaction from Jewish leaders attending the meeting was positive.


“It’s a very good start,” said Orthodox Union public policy director Nathan Diament, noting that the administration had invited a “broad and diverse group.” He added that it would be interesting to see how the office developed in the coming months.


Rabbi David Saperstein, the director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, praised the “level of communication and effort at dialogue,” adding that the administration needs “these groups to be effective” and to “work through these groups.”


Diament, Saperstein and National Council of Jewish Women President Nancy Ratzan, who also attended the session, all have been named to the office’s Advisory Council. Rabbi Steve Gutow, executive director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and the group’s Washington director, Hadar Susskind, also attended the briefing.


Even the Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, another meeting attendee, said he was happy that DuBois had emphasized strengthening the “legal and constitutional” footing of the office. He supported the breadth of the meeting, which included everyone from an evangelical Christian minister to church-state separationists such as Lynn and a representative from the American Civil Liberties Union. As for the idea of having religious leaders sitting on an advisory council in a secular democracy, Lynn said “red flags go up,” but “we’ll see” how it develops.


The gathering, sans media, continued all day Tuesday and included an appearance by Melody Barnes, the head of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Obama Faith-Based Office Emphasizes ‘Policy Partnership’”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Car in Light Rail Runover
UPDATE: Terrorist Drives into Group of People at Jerusalem Light Rail, 3 Injured
Latest News Stories
Jerusalem Light Rail traveling through a neighborhood in the capital.

Social media is reporting that a terrorist was shooting at Israelis at the light rail station near Ammunition Hill (Givat Tachmoshet). The shots were fired from a moving vehicle. There are reportedly many injuries. Updates as soon as available. UPDATE 1, 6:25 pm Israeli Time There are conflicting reports about what caused the injuries at the light rail station. […]

Canadian Parliament Hill

A Canadian soldier was injured after being shot on Canada’s Parliament Hill.

IMI To Be Privatized, Price Expected To Be 2.5 – 3 Billion Shekels

Mayor, Prime Minister Demand Response to Unacceptable Situation

“We want the residents of Gaza to live in dignity and prosperity, rebuild their homes and return to normal life,” Yaalon said. “But we are very worried. Just yesterday Hamas representatives said they intend to reconstruct the infiltration tunnels, instead of rebuilding the homes of Gaza’s residents.”

Ban’s only interest in Gaza is to continue UNRWA’s occupation.

Reconstruction in Gaza won’t even begin until the start of winter, says a Palestinian Authority official.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen with his wife Sara, celebrating the Prime Minister’s 65th birthday, at PM Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem, on October 21, 2014.

Hamas is still in the mode of “give us a finger and we will take the whole hand.”

A terror cell attacked Israeli soldiers patrolling the southern border Wednesday from the Sinai Peninsula.

A car tried to run through the Gush Etzion checkpoint near the tunnel roads.

The IDF doesn’t discuss it but is not ignoring possible terror tunneling in the north.

A large fire threatened Yitzhar, but now it is under control.

A study concluded that delaying nonmedical circumcision results in greater risk for the child, and a more costly procedure. Muslims try to circumcise children before 13 years old.

The IDF confirms Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization planned a massive terror attack on Israel via its tunnel network.

More Articles from Eric Fingerhut

WASHINGTON – A window was shattered by a pellet gun in an apparent vandalism attack at her Tucson district office. Sarah Palin has put her on the list of Democratic lawmakers she is targeting this fall. Arizona Tea Party activists are pledging to help defeat her bid for re-election.

WASHINGTON – A window was shattered by a pellet gun in an apparent vandalism attack at her Tucson district office. Sarah Palin has put her on the list of Democratic lawmakers she is targeting this fall. Arizona Tea Party activists are pledging to help defeat her bid for re-election.

WASHINGTON – Opinion polls are expected to provide a simple answer to an important question: What are the people thinking? But the details often reveal a much more complicated picture.

WASHINGTON – A U.S. congressman is the latest to call for a Justice Department investigation into whether a pro-Palestinian group has been raising money on college campuses for Hamas.

WASHINGTON – Some conservatives are accusing the Anti-Defamation League of launching a partisan attack following its report asserting that a “current of anti-government hostility” has swept the United States in the year since Barack Obama was elected.

WASHINGTON – As Sarah Palin embarked on a tour for her just published book Going Rogue, she became the latest prospective Republican presidential candidate to criticize the Obama administration’s policy on Israel.

WASHINGTON – A new survey shows that a majority of American Jews would support a U.S. military strike on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons – a significant increase from a year ago.

WASHINGTON – A new survey shows that a majority of American Jews would support a U.S. military strike on Iran to prevent it from developing nuclear weapons – a significant increase from a year ago.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/obama-faith-based-office-emphasizes-policy-partnership/2009/04/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: