Jim Wallis on Obama’s “Faith Council”

The Rev. Jim Wallis, longtime Evangelical activist and editor of Sojourners magazine is one of those who were appointed to President Obama’s White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In his blog recently he wrote about the initiative:

The President’s Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships offers the chance to move beyond necessary programs to fund exemplary faith-based organizations, which I support, to a broader and deeper vision of real “partnership” between the faith community and sound social policies. The “faith-based initiative” from the Obama administration seems to be inviting a partnership with, rather than a substitute, for good public policies to address poverty and social justice issues in America and around the world. To truly be successful, this initiative must utilize the unique resources and identity of the faith community while recognizing the indispensible role that government and public policy must play in tackling the root causes of poverty and the high abortion rates.

[. . .]
The Council is composed of independent faith leaders who will remain outside of the administration, doing the work that they each do, while advising the president and the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships on matters of deep mutual concern. President Obama is himself a person of strong faith, and has shown a real desire to partner with the faith community throughout his career, from being a community organizer to becoming the president of the United States. He understands that the faith community will offer him our prayers and our support for agendas that are consistent with our own mission, as well as our challenge when we feel it is necessary to fulfill our “prophetic” responsibilities as leaders in the faith community. As a political leader, he has always welcomed diverse and strong opinions, and could become the kind of president who would understand how challenge is often the deepest form of support.

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