Posted by: Apostolic Oneness Pentecostals | January 31, 2009

Obama Slated to Choose Pentecostal Pastor to Direct Outreach Office

Presid President Barack Obama plans to name Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal pastor and political strategist who handled religious outreach for the Obama campaign, to direct a revamped office of faith-based initiatives, according to religious leaders who have been informed about the choice.

The office, created by President George W. Bush by executive order at the start of his first term, is likely to have an even broader mandate in the Obama White House, said the religious leaders, who requested anonymity because the appointment has yet to be announced.

The White House declined to comment.

Renamed the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, the office will not merely oversee the distribution of grants to religious and community groups, but will also look for other ways to involve those groups in working on pressing social problems.

DuBois received a master’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, and was enrolled in law school when he left to work for Obama, then a senator.

“I’ve been very impressed with this young man,” said John J. Dilulio Jr., a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who was the first person appointed to this job by Bush and who soon left in frustration.

Dilulio was tapped by DuBois for advice on the religion-based initiative last year and through the transition process.

“He is smart. He is calm. He is steady,” Dilulio said of DuBois, “and I think he’s very close to the new president. He’d be a good guy to do it.”

On Capitol Hill, DuBois was part of a Democratic working group focused on building relationships with religious leaders, especially evangelical Christians alienated by the Republican record on economic inequality, foreign policy and environmental matters. DuBois expanded that outreach during the campaign by convening house parties of religious voters across the country to present Obama as a man motivated by his faith.

The most contentious issue that DuBois will have to help resolve is whether Obama should rescind a Bush administration legal memorandum that allows religious groups that receive government money to hire only those who share their faith.

Obama said in a campaign speech last June, “If you get a federal grant, you can’t use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help and you can’t discriminate against them — or against the people you hire — on the basis of their religion.”

DuBois led an effort during the transition to consult with dozens of religious and charity groups about the work of the faith-based office, including what to do about the hiring question, and whether the faith-based centers that Bush inserted into 12 federal agencies should all be preserved.


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