President Obama has signed an executive order to streamline the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a group created under former President George W. Bush. The reform reflects recommendations made earlier this year by council members and critics, including clarifying some church-state separation concerns, but stops short of preventing grant recipients from hiring and firing staff based on religion.
From CNN’s Belief Blog:
The order says that religious organizations receiving federal funds must conduct explicitly religious activities in a time and place that are different from when and where they do government-financed work.
But the order also states that faith-based organizations receiving federal dollars may use their facilities to provide government-backed social services, even if those facilities include religious art, icons, scriptures and other religious symbols.
A religious group receiving federal money may also keep religious language in its name, select board members on a religious basis, and include religious references in its mission statements and other documents, the executive order says.
In semi-related news, the Associated Baptist Press also ran this story about potential religious landmines for Obama and other politicians in 2012.
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.