Taking Stock: The Bush Faith-Based Initiative and What Lies Ahead
Publication Date: June 2009
Author(s): David J. Wright
Keywords: Church and state; Religious freedom; Faith-based organizations (FBO)
Coverage: United States
In the absence of new legislative authority, President George W. Bush moved aggressively to advance the Faith-Based Initiative through executive orders, rule changes, managerial realignment in federal agencies and other innovative uses of the prerogatives of his office. Chief among those innovations was the creation of the high-profile special White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (FBCI).
The pivotal difference in the Obama and Bush approaches to partnerships with religious groups could be seen in their stance on whether religious organizations hiring for positions funded with taxpayer money retained the right they have under the Civil Rights Act to base employment decisions on a person's faith. On Feb. 5, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order 13199 establishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to be headed by Joshua DuBois, who was acclaimed for his work on religious issues and outreach for Obama's campaign.