Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Keeping the Faith-Based

It's fair to say that not many of Barack Obama's supporters thought he would choose to keep the controversial White House faith-based office created by George W. Bush. Even fewer expected him to expand the office's scope and influence within his Administration, as well as to create the new Presidential Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to weigh in on matters ranging from funding of social-service and poverty-alleviation programs to the more controversial issue of abortion reduction. It hasn't been an entirely smooth ride in Obama's first year. The unveiling of his faith-based effort came on the heels of anger from some liberals over the President's selection of megachurch pastor Rick Warren to deliver a prayer during his Inauguration. (Warren had vocally supported the Prop 8 initiative in California that banned gay marriage.) And some of the 25 secular and religious leaders who serve on the council have complained that they don't feel heard by the White House. But for now, Obama is keeping the faith.