WASHINGTON — President Obama named Joshua DuBois Feb. 5 to head the newly named White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and established an advisory council that includes former Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page.
Obama signed an executive order bringing changes to what was known as the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives created under President George W. Bush. Under the Bush administration, the office sought largely to help remove barriers to faith-based organizations competing for federal funding as they provided social services.
The White House said the newly designed office would be a resource for secular and faith-based organizations as they serve their communities. The office also will have a role in helping the administration address such social needs as reducing “the need for abortion” and in assisting the National Security Council in fostering interfaith relationships globally.
DuBois, 26, served as director of religious outreach for Obama during the presidential campaign.
Page, SBC president from 2006 to 2008, will serve as one of 25 members of the advisory council for the initiative. The council of religious and secular leaders will include 25 members serving one-year terms. Page is pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C.
“The Office’s top priority will be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer have to bear when recovery is complete,” a White House release said. “It will be one voice among several in the administration that will look at how we support women and children, address teenage pregnancy, and reduce the need for abortion.
“The Office will strive to support fathers who stand by their families, which involves working to get young men off the streets and into well-paying jobs, and encouraging responsible fatherhood. Finally, beyond American shores this Office will work with the National Security Council to foster interfaith dialogue with leaders and scholars around the world.”