White House office on faith-based initatives: full speed ahead
The White House apparently really is moving full speed ahead with its plans to expand the role of faith-based organizations in federally funded social services. (This despite earlier comments from senior staffers that it was postponing.) "The administration has begun to set up offices inside five federal agencies—the departments of Justice, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Education—to dismantle obstacles that have blocked faith-based organizations from receiving federal contracts in the past," reports the Los Angeles Times. And John DiIulio, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, says he'll be publishing a "guide to charitable choices" in the next few weeks even further detailing the office's plans. The guide, he promises, will answer critics both on the left and the right. "I've learned in Washington," he told the Religious Action Center of Reformed Judaism, "when someone appears to be learning and listening, people think they're equivocating and retreating." (World magazine notes that unlike his speech to the National Association of Evangelicals, DiIulio's message to the Reform Jewish leaders "offered no remarks questioning this audience's commitment to the poor." Ouch.)

But while the White House may want to move ahead at warp speed, the Senate might slow the program down. Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), one of the Senate's biggest supporters of Bush's plan and the lead sponsor in the Senate of implementing it, says he's splitting the legislative side of Bush's proposal in two. The first, which will be offered within days, will seek to implement the less controversial aspects of Bush's faith-based ...

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