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At 26, Joshua DuBois has already rubbed shoulders with more religious leaders than most religious leaders will in their lifetime.

And he's starting to do a lot more of the same as President Obama's director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

He'll be rubbing shoulders with the President, too. In fact, nearly everyone who knows DuBois believes he holds a special bond with the new President, an asset previous directors of the office say will be vital in order for his priorities to gain any attention.

During the campaign, DuBois put together a daily devotional for Obama, using passages of Scripture and other religious books. Now he's helping him choose a church home in Washington, D.C.

On his first day in office, Obama was ushered to a prayer service at the National Cathedral, where clergy, including Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, greeted the new President in private.

"Katharine is very formal in a good Episcopalian way," said Wes Granberg-Michaelson, general secretary of the Reformed Church in America. "She has this staff, like a crosier, a big ornate thing. Obama looks at the staff, and playfully says, 'Joshua, I want one of those.' "

That interaction demonstrated to Granberg-Michaelson that Obama and DuBois share a comfortable, close friendship. And if evangelicals want to have a voice in the new administration, DuBois is their window, said Granberg-Michaelson. "He has a tremendous amount of trust and relationships that span the theological spectrum."

Dividing Lines

DuBois speaks openly about faith without going into many details. He's quick to clarify that, because of his new role, he wants to welcome all faiths. When asked whether he describes himself as an evangelical, ...

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In the Magazine

May 2009

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