As Bush defends faith-based initiative, DiIulio is reportedly getting irritated
According to, the head of the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is getting frustrated with his boss for not spelling out what he wants in legislation on the issue. "In the past few weeks, [John] DiIulio has complained … that by not spelling out what he would like to sign into law, the president is ceding the issue to House Republicans—whose bill is far more controversial and is less likely to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate," reports Jake Tapper.

But while was publishing such reports, Bush was out defending his plans. "Those who worry about faith in our society, and government's willingness to stand side-by-side with faith, don't understand the power of faith and the promise of faith and the hope of faith," he said (text | audio) while building a Habitat for Humanity house in Tampa, Florida. He still didn't say whether he preferred the Senate or House bill, or what he felt were non-negotiable parts of his plan, but he seems ready to fight. That may motivate Senate Republicans who, The New York Times and others have reported, have lost enthusiasm for Bush's faith-based initiative.

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More religion correspondents get their pink slips from ABC News than from any other source
ABC News, which blazed a trail for religion journalism when it hired Peggy Wehmeyer in 1994 as full-time religion correspondent, is now retracing its steps. Wehmeyer was told in late May that her contract, up in October, would not be renewed. Nor would she be replaced as religion correspondent. The Dallas-based reporter says she's "a little stunned" by the news, but is "grateful for the seven years I had to tell stories that are really meaningful."

Peter Jennings, who lobbied both for the religion correspondent position and for Wehmeyer's hiring, says he's sad about the decision. "We're not going to quit covering religion," he tells The Dallas Morning News. "But I don't think we'd have gotten anywhere near the heightened awareness of this subject without Peggy."

Reports of Wehmeyer's dismissal—apparently part of a the 10 percent staff reduction at ABC News mandated by parent company Disney—were quickly followed up by word that ABC News would instead be partnering with multifaith Web site Beliefnet. The organizations will "include joint ABC-Beliefnet branded polling and co-production of pieces for ABC News programs," reported a press release. But The Washington Times notes that the last time ABCNews and Beliefnet partnered—for Peter Jennings Reporting: The Search for Jesus—the product riled up religious conservatives.

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