WH Faith Council Gives Detailed Recommendations

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President Obama's faith council delivered 64 detailed recommendations to top administration officials, Tuesday, covering a broad range of issues from responsible fatherhood to poverty and interfaith relations.

Members of the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships met with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and White House head of domestic policy Melody Barnes.

The talks are part of the council's effort to improve communication between the government and faith-based service providers.

"We can make all the policies we want and the policies are very important, but until they percolate down to the local expressions we really will not have served in a maximum capacity," said council member Joel Hunter. "So that's what we're hoping we will do."

Among the recommendations the council agreed on are:

  • Starting interfaith service projects on 500 U.S. college campuses
  • Conducting quarterly fatherhood roundtable meetings at the White House and increasing funding for programs that promote fatherhood
  • Providing guidance to help nonprofit groups "retrofit and green" their buildings

Read more about the White House Faith Council Meeting on The Brody File.

The council did disagree on some issues like whether religious charities should remove religious symbols and messages in areas used to provide social services and whether churches that receive federal funding for social services should form separate non-profit groups.

"I hope that you will look at the report and the incredibly long list of issues where we were able to find common ground," council member Melissa Rogers said. "It is true there are some issues where we differ, but those are dwarfed by the areas where we were able to find common ground."

The words "family planning" also appear in their report when talking about certain programs the council would support. It's noted, however, that all the council members did not agree with supporting those family planning programs.

While the abortion issue was discussed by council members, the conversations are still ongoing and the White House Domestic Policy Council office will have the final say.

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