Faith-based Advisors Issue Recommendations

President Barack Obama greets and thanks members of the President's Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships during a drop by in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, March 9, 2010. (Photo: White House/Pete Souza)

Members of President Obama's faith-based advisory council submitted a series of recommendations to senior White House officials this week suggesting how government can better work with faith-based and community groups to address social issues.

The 164 page report included more than 60 recommendations in six categories including economic recovery and domestic poverty, fatherhood and healthy families, environment and climate change, inter-religious cooperation, global poverty and development, and reform of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The report is the final one from the council's current 25 members, which includes a diverse grouping of Catholics, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and mainline and evangelical Christians, all of whom will be stepping down after a year's worth of service at their positions.

Melissa Rogers, director of Wake Forest School of Divinity Center for Religion and Public Affairs and chair of the faith-based council, noted that the group was able to find common ground beyond the "lowest common denominator" and that they will remain available as White House officials seek to implement the recommendations, according to Religion News Service.

"Whether it's been through press statements, books or sermons, all of us have been trying to tell the government what to do for years," Rogers said, "but we've rarely received a White House invitation to make a list of recommendations."

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promised the council that the report wouldn't just be a "document on the shelf" but rather an "active action plan" in her department.

Director of the faith-based office Joshua DuBois said that White House administration would review the report and determine which measures would be implemented.

The advisory council was created in February 2009 as a part of President Obama's reform of former President George W. Bush's White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. A new group of advisors to the council is expected to be named soon.

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