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Washington – President Barack Obama has chosen Joshua DuBois to lead his White House-based effort to steer federal social service dollars to religious charities and get them more involved in government anti-poverty efforts.
DuBois, a political strategist who was religious affairs director in the Obama campaign, will head the President’s Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a senior administration official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made by Obama.
Obama said during the campaign that he wanted to expand White House faith-based efforts begun under former President George W. Bush.
But while he endorsed Bush’s initiative to give religious groups more equal footing when getting federal funding, he also promised to tweak it.
He has changed the name of the White House effort from its original Office of Faith-based Initiatives to display a broader focus. Obama has promised to increase spending on social services, increase training for charities applying for funding and make that a grass-roots effort, and to elevate the program’s status within the White House.
And while Bush supported allowing all religious groups to make any employment decisions based on faith, Obama has proposed allowing religious institutions to hire and fire based on religion only in the non-taxpayer-funded portions of their activities – consistent with current federal, state and local laws. Where there are state or local laws prohibiting hiring choices based on sexual orientation in the federally funded portion of the programs, he has said he would support those being applied.
Among DuBois’ duties on the Obama campaign was reaching out to the evangelical community. Though not a natural Democratic constituency, evangelicals have had increased common cause with Democrats on issues of the environment and poverty.
The story was first reported by The New York Times.
Associated Press
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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