February 4th, 2009
12:37 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama to unveil new Faith-Based office

(CNN) – President Obama will unveil a revamped office of Faith-Based Initiatives Thursday, and a new approach to the controversial program established by former President George Bush.

The office, tasked with steering federal funds to charitable organizations tied to churches and faith-based organizations, will be headed by Josh DuBois – a 26 year-old Pentecostal minister who was in charge of religious outreach for the Obama campaign.

According to a White House official, the basic structure of the office will remain the same as it was under Bush, but Obama is introducing a new component: an advisory council of 25 leaders - secular and religious - who will help inform the Office and provide advice on other policy issues.

According to a person familiar with the makeup of the council, some of the 25 members include:

–Rabbi David Saperstein, head of the DC Religious Action Center of Reform Judiasm
–Judith Vredenburgh, CEO of Big Brothers and Big Sisters of America
–Bishop Vashti McKenzie, first female Bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal Church
–The Rev. Joel Hunter, the senior pastor of Northland church in Orlando, Florida
–The Rev. Frank Page, the conservative past president of the Southern Baptist Convention

The official announcement of the revamped office is set to take place Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast.

– CNN's Jessica Yellin contributed to this report


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. EC

    Thank you Mr. President. Faith-Based government needs to be MONITORED just like any other. Implementing an oversight board makes a LOT of sense.

    We've need some serious "checks and balances" in our government. For the past 8 years, everyone was running amuck. The White House under Bush was like a chicken coop, everyone doing NOTHING but taking a dump on the honor and values of the american people.

    February 4, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  2. thomas

    Isn't this a form of religious preference if it does not provide the same access for non-affilliated taxpayers? Where will they find assistance and support?

    February 4, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  3. Amber

    Great....another way to discriminate against gays. So much for "Obama for all". I guess civil rights only apply to black people, not us "homosexuals". What a crock!

    February 4, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  4. Chuck

    Obama's first big mistake. Including anything religious that involves taxpayers dollars.

    February 4, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Eric

    My only question is can I get funding if I begin a program that is based on the Pastafarian faith of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    May his noodly appendage touch you.

    February 4, 2009 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  6. Tom in Delaware

    I can't wait to see what the 'Mark of the Beast' will look like!

    February 4, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. Chuck D

    So, how many authentic Catholics will be on that council, versus those who claim to be?

    February 4, 2009 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  8. FreeNLovIt

    The last time I read the Bible, Lot had to be dragged out of Sodom/Gomorrah because people spiritually ROTTED. God could hear the cries and it was just too unbearable, he sent down two angels to drag Lot out before it rained fire upon the sky (more like meteorite showers).... So it's good to have some basic principles of spiritualliy

    February 4, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Mike

    Heck yeah! give me some of that old fashioned communism. Maybe well be forced to listen to an Islamic radio program for an hour as well as a Judaism one if we want to hear a Christian one too. Thats right Obama, water down the free lives of millions of American citizens to make the extreme minorities a little bit more comfortable...such is the ideology of the left wing sacrifice much from the many for the benefit of the few

    February 4, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  10. Mikki, Washington, DC

    If I am not mistaken, this article refers to a faith-based office - not a government. This country does not require that its citizens be part of one religion or another, if you choose to be part of a religion at all.

    February 4, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  11. SPB

    There is something really disturbing about religious leaders having a permanent presence in the executive branch of government.

    February 4, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. ellington

    This is Obama's master politicianship shinning through. A way to keep and build republican support eh. This man will win reelection in a landslide.

    obama 2012

    February 4, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. GStreet

    Kudos to President Obama. Outreach from faith-based organizations are more effective than many organizations so innertwined with politics they forget the very people in need of help.

    February 4, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  14. Rare MA Republican

    Left-wing Athiest commentary coming your way in 3...2....1

    February 4, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. Jo

    For those who think this was Obama's idea...read!

    According to a White House official, the basic structure of the office will remain the same as it was under Bush, but Obama is introducing a new component: an advisory council of 25 leaders

    Where was your righteouness when Little George started it. But of course whatever he did was ok and now its not. What hypocrisy!

    February 4, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. James in Dallas, Tx

    Hopefully now that Bush is gone the government will stop sending tax dollars to religious organizations. We have a DEFICIT!!! Taxpayers can't afford the cost and the churches don't need the strings attached to the money!!!!

    February 4, 2009 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  17. D-MI

    Yee-haw! More opium for the "real Americans"!

    February 4, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. patti

    OMG!

    FreeNLovit: Universal religion of the Anti Christ? Are you a moron?

    February 4, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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