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Faith leaders offer Obama personal, political guidance

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The concept of separation of church and state may polarize politicians, but when it comes to access to the White House, it seems a range of religious leaders have President Obama’s ear — whether it’s to help shape policy or just offer spiritual guidance.

The President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a diverse panel of 25 members who just wrapped up their one-year term, has presented a hefty list of recommendations on how the government can better work with faith-based groups to tackle poverty, interfaith relations, the environment and broken homes. The commission also wants clearer guidelines on church-state separation in faith-based funding, according to this JTA story.

Coincidentally, Religion News Service just ran an interesting feature profiling seven people who informally make up Obama’s “spiritual Cabinet” – five Protestants (including two women), one Catholic, and one Muslim. According to the story, they have been providing the president with spiritual guidance, both personally and in terms of shaping policies that involve interfaith relations and moral issues.

“In God We Trust,” indeed. Thoughts?

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