Today President Obama will sign an executive order creating a White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. He will however slow down on his previous pledge to outlaw discriminatory employment practices by faith based groups taking government money. Instead he will order a legal review of employment practices.
This morning Obama spoke about his approach to faith based partnerships with government. This is President Obama's National Prayer Breakfast Speech
I have mixed reactions to the speech. He says some wonderfully inclusive things. He sets a clear agenda for unity in diversity. He speaks powerfully about his own faith experience as a call to compassion and social justice.
However, he still confused me with his reference to God's purpose. "It was on those streets, in those neighborhoods, that I first heard God’s spirit beckon me. It was there that I felt called to a higher purpose – His purpose." He had me at "higher" purpose, and left me wondering with "His" purpose. Obama has outlined the higher purpose as unity that transcends partisanship, religion and ideology. Thats a higher purpose I can get excited about. However "His" purpose seemed to lead me back to something too specific and ideological.
Am I being too literal, or did Obama blur the lines between church and state?
What do you think?
Is Obama saying much the same as President Bush said in his speeches on faith based partnerships with government?
Should he be acting more decisively on discriminatory employment practices?