Obama’s Faith Based Council Quietly Fades Away
One of the most trumpeted “changes” Obama pledged to make in 2009 just after his election has quietly faded into oblivion.
The Presidents Advisory Council on Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, three years into his presidency, has all but disappeared. In March 2010, they delivered a 163 page report (about what?) then disbanded. The council, made up of various religious leaders from numerous faiths-including openly gay organizations-was charged with exploring religious differences, bringing their voices “to the table” for policy purposes, and finding ways to create more partnerships and ‘harmony’ between various faiths. Fast-forward to 2012; it’s been over a year since new appointees were to be announced, and the council has yet to meet.
President Obama made much of this group when it was announced at the National Prayer Breakfast in 2009, he sought to expand the office that had been created by George Bush. He claimed he had hoped to expand the group and change the alledged stererotype that the group was little more than a conservative tool designed to ‘deliver’ religious voters for conservative candidates.
Obama did not help his situation when last month he mandated that religious based employers offer their workers free birth control coverage. Since then, the attacks have been relentless from not only the leading GOP Presidential contenders, but other faith groups and conservatives. Newt Gingrich said the President is “engage in a war on religion.” Members of the group said had he kept focus on the Faith Based council, they could have played a role in whether Obama should have done this by weighing in with various religious perspectives. A number of members of the council even sent him a letter saying they were dismayed that he would order such a mandate without consulting with religious leaders first to determine possible fallout.