Thursday, January 29, 2009

President Obama to Appoint a Pastor to the Faith-Based Office

President Barack Obama will reportedly name a religious outreach director to head the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

According to The New York Times, Obama has tapped Joshua DuBois, 26, the Pentecostal pastor who spearheaded arguably the most aggressive faith outreach for a Democratic presidential campaign in U.S. history when he served as Obama’s religious affairs director.

During the Obama campaign, DuBois helped organize meetings with some of the most prominent Christian leaders in the nation, including those with markedly different views on culture war issues.

Exit polls after the November election showed that Obama had made significant gains among religious voters compared to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry in 2004.

Prior to working for Obama, DuBois had studied political science at Boston University where he graduated cum laude. He then went to Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and National Affairs where he earned a master’s degree in public affairs in 2005.

He was studying law at Georgetown University when he left to work for Obama.

Religious leaders, who have been informed of DuBois’ selection, say that he will not only be directing the office created by former President George W. Bush, but be in charge of expanding it to help groups more effectively address social problems, according to The New York Times.

The religious leaders requested anonymity because the appointment has not yet been formally announced.

Under Obama, the office will be renamed the Council for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and will continue to facilitate the distribution of grants to religious and community groups.

Among the most pressing issues that await DuBois when he assumes the position is the debate over whether faith-based organizations will be forced to hire people whose faith differs from theirs if they receive government money.

Bush had allowed religious groups that accepted funding to hire employees that share the same religion.

But Obama, during a campaign speech last year, said that if a group receives a federal grant then it “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.”

It is unclear if Obama still plans to rescind Bush’s memorandum on the issue.

The White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) was created in 2001 by executive order to “level [the] playing field” for faith-based organizations seeking federal funding. It was also created to lead a “determined attack” on poverty, disease, and other social problems combining the strengths of the government and faith-based and other community organizations. Bush had called these organizations the “armies of compassion,” praising them for being able to work more effectively with the local communities and those in need than government programs alone.

As of 2008, the concept of FBCI has been replicated by 36 governors (19 Democrats, 17 Republicans). More than 100 mayors have also created an FBCI office or liaison.

[By Jennifer Riley - Christian Post Reporter]

Oral Roberts University Board Elects New President

Oral Roberts University has elected its next president, ending a 14-month search that began after the resignation of former president Richard Roberts amid allegations of misspending.

Yesterday, the ORU Board of Trustees and Board Chair Mart Green announced the election of Dr. Mark Rutland as the school’s next president following a board meeting that day on the school's campus in Tulsa, Okla.

“We are excited about the future under the leadership of Dr. Rutland,” stated Green. “He has been selected as the result of a careful process and we are confident that he will take the university to new heights while continuing to uphold the mission and vision of Oral Roberts University.”

It’s been over a year since Richard Roberts, ORU’s last president and the son of ORU founder Oral Roberts, resigned after he and his wife were accused of using university money for shopping sprees, home improvements and a stable of horses for their daughters at a time when ORU was more than $50 million in debt.

Three former ORU professors had filed suit early October 2007, claiming that they were forced out after uncovering financial and ethical wrongdoing by the school's former president and family. The suit was finally settled late October 2008 after a court-ordered mediation session, bringing to a close the scandal that engulfed the charismatic school.

Two months later, the committee behind ORU‘s search for a new president selected Rutland as a candidate to recommend to the school’s Board of Trustees. Rutland, who is serving as the president of Southeastern University in Lakeland, Fla., was among the more than 130 presidential prospects submitted for consideration by Bruce Dingman of Dingman Company, Inc., the executive search and selection firm that helped with the search process.

According to Southeastern, Rutland will remain Southeastern’s president until spring commencement on May 2 while Southeastern's Board of Regents will appoint a search committee to begin identifying presidential candidates. Rutland will assume the presidency at ORU in July 2009.

[from The Christian Post by Eric Young]

Today's Quote

"You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity." O. A. Battista

[from Eagle Flight: Reach ~ Restore ~ Relate by Pastor Milton Gordon]