Bush will announce scaled-down faith-based initiative plans, director today
Jim Towey will be named the new director of the the White House Office of Community and Faith-Based Initiatives today, reports The Washington Post. The paper identifies him as "a man who once lived and worked in a home for dying AIDS victims," and the head of Aging With Dignity—an organization he founded after a life-changing 1996 meeting with Mother Teresa. Towey's title will be the same one John DiIulio had, but don't expect him to be a replacement.

"Towey's lower profile fits with a White House plan to have the office under the … newly created White House national service office," reports the Post's Dana Milbank. "The two efforts are to become increasingly integrated with more focus on volunteerism than on helping religious charities, administration officials said." Religious charities and organizations won't like to hear that. Focus on the Family is already loading the guns for battle. "New attempts to come up with a passable version of the faith-based initiative are said to strike at the heart of religious freedom," Family News in Focus said yesterday. "It looks like Senate liberals have won out." Conservatives are particularly concerned that religious organizations will be told who they must hire, and Rich Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals tells Focus he'd rather wait years for a good bill than to pass the kind of legislation that's being discussed now. The Dallas Morning News disagrees. "Faith-based initiatives must move forward this session, even if the steps are small and measured," the paper said in an editorial yesterday.

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