LGBT community to keep a watchful eye on Obama’s faith-based office
February 5, 2009
In his speech this morning at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Washington Hilton, President Obama said:
We have seen faith wielded as a tool to divide us from one another – as an excuse for prejudice and intolerance. Wars have been waged. Innocents have been slaughtered. For centuries, entire religions have been persecuted, all in the name of perceived righteousness.
Read the full text of President Obama's speech here. Later today, the president will also sign an executive order to form the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This office, which will include a council of religious leaders, will be led by Joshua Dubois, who managed religious outreach for Obama's Senate office and his presidential campaign. The faith-based office that was created in 2002 by an executive order issued by George W. Bush allowed religious organizations to discriminate against LGBT Americans with public money - an egregious flaw that outraged many in the LGBT community. Not surprisingly, HRC and the LGBT community will be closely watching to make sure that Obama's faith office lives up to its promises of inclusion and that federal funds are not used to support religious programs that marginalize the LGBT community. To that end, Joe Solmonese said today:
While we deeply respect the faith community’s contributions to caring for the most vulnerable among us, using federal money to discriminate would sacrifice our commitment to equality for every American.