White House Faith Office Answers Critics

February 11, 2010

Author: Adelle M. Banks

Source: Religion News Service


The White House’s faith-based office is defending itself against critics who complain that not much has changed since President Bush was in office.

In recent weeks, the complaints against the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships have mounted. The 25-member Coalition Against Religious Discrimination has accused Obama of failing to keep campaign promises. A prominent church-state separationist has questioned why members of the office’s advisory board are allowed to vote on policies that will affect their own organizations. And some religious leaders have wondered if the office is just for show, or worse—political gain.

“There is a broad stability in the way things are done—not that everybody is happy about that,” said Stanley Carlson-Thies, who helped Bush open the original faith-based office and serves on a task force advising the new one.

Joshua DuBois, the director of the office, countered critics by saying the office has done “a tremendous amount of work” and involved religious organizations in thousands of interfaith service projects.