The first weeks of the Obama administration have been a whirlwind of appointments, and as advertised, "change," but the aspect most in evidence is the president's efforts at finding common ground. One of the most important agents in this effort will be the president's new Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Speaking at the national prayer breakfast, the president appointed Josh DuBois and Mara Vanderslice, two young and effective Christian leaders, to direct his faith-based initiative. They in turn will be guided by an impressive body of senior advisors ranging from Father Larry Snyder, the president of Catholic Charities, to Jim Wallis.
The majority of Catholic voters recognized during the campaign that there was a powerful Catholic social justice case for President Obama. Most Catholics today now see that promise being at least partially fulfilled by, among other things, the president's spending priorities in the stimulus measure. In his prayer breakfast presentation, the president likewise indicated how his new faith office would be making community groups an integral part of our economic recovery and poverty a burden fewer will have to bear.
Making a direct call to reduce abortion, the president indicated that the office will also be one of several voices in the administration in support of women and children, addressing teenage pregnancy and the circumstances that promote the tragic moral choice of the taking of unborn life. Catholic voters are pleased that the president in his first weeks has highlighted, not the signing of the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), but abortion reduction efforts