Obama Council Approves Recommendations to Reform, Expand Faith-Based Initiative

February 26, 2010

Author: David Waters

Source: The Washington Post


As expected, President Obama's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships approved a series of recommendations Friday aimed at reforming and encouraging the federal government's efforts to work with faith-based organizations.

Among the recommendations, the 25-member council approved 12 specific suggestions for strengthening the constitutional and legal footing of public-private partnerships. The council recommends that the administration clarify prohibited uses of direct financial assistance, protect the religious identity of faith-based clients, and assure the religious liberty rights of clients and beneficiaries of federal social service funds.

"Partnerships between government and religious organizations are a given," said J. Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty and a member of the task force charged with reform of the office. Walker is also an On Faith panelist.

"But, the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships needs to carefully craft rules that will protect the ability of religiously affiliated groups to participate without compromising the principle of the separation of church and state. These recommendations go a long way to achieve this goal."