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Obama Taps Campuses for Interfaith Service Projects

WASHINGTON (RNS) The White House is hoping to recruit America’s college and seminary students in a nationwide interfaith service campaign that was launched Thursday (March 17).

In the next month, the Obama administration will solicit plans submitted by colleges, universities, seminaries and rabbinical schools for year-long community service projects such as food drives, house building or mentoring.

Administration officials would not say how many schools they hope will take the “campus challenge.” The proposal grew out of recommendations from advisers to the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships that called for projects on more than 500 U.S.
campuses by the end of 2012.

Joshua DuBois, director of the office, said he hopes “a substantial subset” of the nation’s schools will take part in the initiative, which will be promoted through letters to college presidents, conference calls and a website.

“As a Christian who became committed to the church while serving my community, I know that an act of service can unite people of all faiths or even no faith around a common purpose of helping those in need,” President Obama said in a White House video launching the program.

Schools are asked to select priorities such as healthy living or disaster preparedness and commit to cultivating interfaith cooperation as part of the project.

The White House has requested that commitments to sponsor service projects, which could be led by either student religious or secular campus groups during the 2011-12 academic year, be submitted by April 22.

- ADELLE M BANKS, Religion News Service

  • Gwyddion9

    I applaud President Obama in this action.
    I think it’s good to have an understanding of what other people believe, whether or not one agrees.

  • Anna Kubicka

    *Uwazam ze to jest Wspanialy Projekt ktory nalezy zrealizowac,zycze duzo Sukcesu w jego osiagnieciu.*Anna*

  • nnmns

    I hope it works out as he intends.

  • cknuck

    the church has always been a support for America, unfortunately Obama has not been the greatest supporter of the church as a matter of fact he has the poorest record of all presidents when it comes to the church. Historically when the country does face its hardest challenges it is the church that has proven to be the best and most faithful resource we have.

  • nnmns

    Sometimes you just turn your mouth on and let it ramble.

  • jestrfyl

    Smart guy, that Irishman, O’Bama.
    Let the kids lead – it usually works better than anything else! It’s not like the “adults” have any hope of catching up (or catching on). Let’s hope they simply do not get in the way.

  • cknuck

    nnmns not without having a reason my friend, (I use the term loosely)
    First Obama went to a church for years claiming to not know the pastor’s agenda and messages – more like it was a political tactic to garner votes nothing to do with God or being a Christian just political leverage. Now he tries to navigate Christianity only pledging commitment when he has use for the church, purely political. Other wise he puts the faith down bends it’s doctrine to fit his needs. You (a devote atheist) on the other hand get angry when I call him on his water down doctrine because as an atheist a watered down view of Christianity suits you although you’d rather do away with us altogether. Sounds like ramble? I think not, I can prove everything I said although many including Obama would love to forget the whole Wright incident.

  • jestrfyl

    You paint a picture with brush missing half its bristles, dragged over dried, crusty paints. The sermons to which you point with such enthusiasm are quite different in the whole than they are in convenient pieces, as screwballs like Limbaugh used them. Take any line from any one out of context and it can mean anything. Wright’s “agenda” was justice for all and not only a few who mouth the right lines and mimic prescribed behavior (without any heart or understanding – and evidently initiated by a few hypocrites)
    Obama is working not from a churchy-orientation, but from a faith perspective that draws from justice and Jesus’ message that all people are God’s children. He navigates his faith not in a ship of church but in a boat that floats by God’s power and not simply his own. He has watered down nothing. However any faith that selects a few people rather than embracing all, requires church attendance and nothing less, and is more focused on politics than faith is selling itself short. This weeks lectionary reading from Romans emphasizes this – in its entirety.

  • Henrietta22

    The fact that the colleges can use religious and secular groups to help with service projects to help people is good, they can mix these groups and the groups can learn something from each other, too. Good for President Obama. He’s “been there and done that” himself according to what he said.

  • Henrietta22

    Where did you read that President Obama has the poorest record of all presidents when it comes to the Church? You sound like Ch. Fox. It’s good that President Obama has said that religious and secular groups are needed to help with Service Projects. If they work together for the good of purpose they’ll learn to appreciate each other. He has “been there and done that” when he was in college, as he mentioned.

  • cknuck

    lame sermon jest, and it is baseless. concerning Wright people couldn’t take a sentence of a sermon that describes hate if the hateful sentence is not spoken. You speak for Obama in saying he is not churchy but it is apparent from his actions that it is important for his to seen in the right churches. That seems not only churchy to me but a political strategy also. And if the Wright issue was not a issue and in fact Obama and Wright were friend then why did not Obama stand by his friend? Instead he did some pretty fancy footwork distancing himself from his pastor and church home.

  • nnmns

    From what little I know of Wright it looked to me like he talked the talk of the blacks who have suffered in the US and I was surprised that you, cknuck, didn’t take to him. Of course you suck up to the Republicans so that’s a strike against him for you. And of course he’s so much more eloquent than you are that I wouldn’t blame you for being jealous.
    But Wright also seemed to really take to being in the spotlight and was doing candidate Obama no good. It looked to me as though he’d become jealous of Obama. So I can’t blame Obama for distancing himself from Wright.
    And it’s old news now. If you weren’t the Republicans’ tool you’d leave it alone.

  • Henrietta22

    Ck I’d like to see you go on “The Last Word” with Lawrence O’Donnall, bet you wouldn’t have the last word with him.

  • cknuck

    trying to balance a tight wire there nnmns I like a good tight wire act but you have sprinkled yours with misinformation trying to prove your point. I don’t not suck up to either party and I would resent the implication if you were an honorable man. I am equally critical of both parties as one would have to be if one deals with the truth and not just hype and lies. I am black and proud to be black it is my journey and has with the help of God been a wonderful journey. I have marched, I have protested and I have fought for equal rights (not different but equal) but I came out on the other end without hate or jealousy for other races so when I hear hate in speeches I don’t make excuses for it.
    H I’m out of the limelight and wish to stay that way so I wouldn’t go on any show I work in the trenches helping the poor and downtrodden and I’m good with my station in life.So I wouldn’t go on TV for any useless debate, although I do have very strong opinions about what is right and what is wrong.

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