OU Welcomes President Obama’s Faith-Based Initiative

February 5, 2009

Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the nation’s largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization – welcomed President Barack Obama’s announcement and actions regarding the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Initiatives.

At this morning’s National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama spoke, as he has in the past, of the critical role faith plays in the life of our nation and the role faith leaders, values and citizens can play in setting America’s national agenda.

Later, at The White House, President Obama announced some of the members of the Faith Based office’s advisory council and, on the critical issue of the religious liberty and autonomy of faith-based entities which receive government grants, President Obama signed an executive order directing the office’s director to seek the advice and input of the Attorney General and White House Counsel.

Orthodox Union public policy director Nathan Diament issued the following statement:

The Orthodox Union, which has been a steadfast supporter of the faith-based initiative, (http://www.ou.org/index.php/public_affairs/article_cat/C590/) commends President Obama for making good on his campaign commitment to maintain and strengthen the White House Office on Faith-Based Initiatives and for taking a careful and deliberate approach to reviewing the issues of religious liberty associated with the initiatives programs.

We appreciate that President Obama has rejected those who’ve called for the dismantling of this initiative begun under President Bush and those who would insist that religious voices and values have no place in America’s public policy debates.

We look forward to continuing to work with the Obama Administration on critical issues and will look to see the newly formed advisory Council fulfill President Obama’s vision to “help set our national agenda” through the wisdom and strength of faith’s insights.