Obama's Faith-Based Panels Release First Ideas Today
By Michelle Boorstein
The U.S. government will much more systematically take the impact of religion into account in its dealings overseas if President Obama adopts the new recommendations of a White House advisory panel.
The recommendations are the first from the 25-member panel Obama created to advise him on issues of particular interest to faith-based groups, including fatherhood, domestic poverty and church-state issues that pop up when religious groups do business with the government.
The rough-draft recommendations (which actually come from task forces of the panel) will be released today at a public meeting at the Commerce Department. Obama will consider them and some form of them are expected to be accepted in the coming months.
They'll be closely watched as this is the first real work of the president's Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which is a retooled version of an office President Bush created - to much criticism from secular and liberal groups (who said he was bringing too much religion into the government-run sphere) and evangelicals (who liked the office at first but later slammed it as simply a sham meant to get them to vote for Bush).
What the panels will say today hasn't been released, but some insiders say they will include: some controversy about the church-state issues (probably particularly the touchy issue of whether faith-based groups who get government grants can discriminate in picking who they hire, only hiring people of their own faith) as well as an infrastructure that will require overseas work (such as from the State Department) to have a clear way of considering religious players and politics on the ground.
We'll plan to update this once we get more specifics.
October 13, 2009; 7:45 AM ET
God in Government
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Posted by: thomascanada | October 14, 2009 3:38 PM
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