February 4th, 2009
12:37 PM ET
14 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. mjmnc

    there shouldnt be any faith-based organization officially funded by the feds. period.

    February 4, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. John from San Diego


    "Faith Based" government works so well in countries like Iran, let's have some here!

    February 4, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. FreeNLovIt

    Ah, first step toward a universal religion of the Anti Christ.

    February 4, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  4. Amen

    God help us.

    February 4, 2009 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  5. religion and state should not be mixed

    don't do it

    February 4, 2009 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  6. Wynter

    Please remove this office from the Government. It's a waste of our Tax Money! George Bush brought it into our government. It's time to remove it!

    February 4, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. pencils for sale

    "Churchs" and so called"nonprofits" should pay taxes,period.Hope CNN isnt afraid to post this,this is my opinion,not theirs.

    February 4, 2009 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. Diane

    Yuck. Faith-based anything just sounds so medieval.

    February 4, 2009 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  9. Deborah

    Is this some kind of JOKE?????????

    How to I stop my hard earned TAX dollars from going to such nonsense?

    February 4, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  10. Obama Victim

    I am signing on to this.....I remember when Obama was elected......first thing I said was "Lord Help Us"

    February 4, 2009 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. Jeannette

    What a great move to UNITE all people!

    President Obama is showing leadership at home and the international world, what we can do as a true village of all the people when we come together UNITED.

    February 4, 2009 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. Kelly

    This is ridiculous. The Faith-Based Office should be dissolved immediately. There is a separation between church and state for a reason, and I find it hard to believe that these religious organizations aren't benefiting by the federal government highlighting the charity of their choice. And what about when charities cross into "secular" matters, like anti-abortion clinics? Obama should revamp this office into being the Charity Outreach office and have non-religious oversight. I am an atheist and I am sick and tired of Washington becoming encumbered with religious dogma and ideology. I voted for Obama because I thought he represented a break from Bush's tired theism...

    February 4, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. Francisco Cardenas

    Keep our tax dollars OUT OF THE HANDS OF RELIGION please!!

    February 4, 2009 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. John

    You mean there are other religions outside of the evangelicals? Who knew? So Obama continues the office a Republican president created and gets flack from the right....but opens it to more than just the GOP's religion of choice and gets flack from the left. Kinda sad really.

    February 4, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  15. Talia E. Myres

    -> FreeNLovIt

    Seriously? It's "Christians" who make comments like yours that make the rest of embarrassed to claim our faith. Obama isn't the Anti Christ simpy because his religious views/beliefs don't line up with yours.

    How about we keep church and state separate? That seems to work best.

    February 4, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  16. down with corporate politics

    Obama continues the support of Israel and sending troops to Afghanistan like Bush, why not continue this Bush program too?

    What do most of the countries fighting in the Middle East have in common? Faith Based governments.

    February 4, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. gl, Pittsburgh

    I just hope he pay his taxes. If I was on the Obama vetting team, the first question I will asked did you pay your taxes.

    February 4, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Kyle Jenkins

    The same criticism applies to Obama as to Bush: why is government meddling in religious activities?

    February 4, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. L. Song

    This is disgusting and this organization needs major oversight if it must exist at all. Handing poor people a plate of food – while also shoving a bible down their throat is not right. Pushing Christianity onto non-Christian poor people while dangling desperately needed aide is ethnocentric and racist. I am very disappointed in Obama for this. And I am sick of seeing Pentacostals in government – while other religious groups are underrepresented. There was not a Native American religious practicioner, a Jew, a Hindu or Buddhist to be seen on the dais when Obama was inaugurated – let alone a Moslem. Christianity – and especially evangelical Christianity is NOT the official religion of the U.S. We have no official religion. That is what makes us American. We are supposed to separate church and state and practice tolerance.

    February 4, 2009 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. This is CHANGE

    Isn't 'Faith Based government' one of the reasons we are here and not rooted in England?? Hang on for the socialism CHANGE...

    February 4, 2009 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. Ray Ray

    With Obama's track record of picking Church leaders – I'll take a PASS on any Faith-Based program he is pushing!

    February 4, 2009 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Simpliticus

    We really shouldn't go where Bush has already tread! George W. Bush created this department so as to trundle money to supportive religious sects. Bush used the religious zealots to the point of uselessness when it was discovered just what he had in mind. The Religious were used to extend Bush's politics. Otherwise, Bush had no need for them. It has been well documented that Rove went after the support of the Religious fundamentalists to garner political support and it was surmised that maintaining this illicit support of the stupid paid dividends for further so-called mandates to get through Congress. Obama should not revisit this corrupt process because in his efforts to do right, he will be tainted! There has been enough written about Bush's conniving efforts such that Obama should not traed on this unholy ground again!

    February 4, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  23. 1/20/13

    Want to bet his nominee is a crook and doesnt pay taxes?????I bet it's Rev Wright

    February 4, 2009 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  24. Scott Hughes in Atlanta

    Queue Rev. Wright nasty comments in 5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

    February 4, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  25. Jon in CA


    I thought Obama alone could heal the oceans and fix our broken souls, right Michelle?

    February 4, 2009 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
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