Who is Joshua DuBois, you ask (pictured here with Obama)? Well, he is the 26 yr old Obama tagged to be the Director of Obama's new Faith Based Office. Yes, this 26 yr old Pentecostal pastor, without any formal seminary training, who, from his "resume" has done little more than go to school, is the head of this office. What qualifies him for this position? What ecumenical work has he done in the past?
I cannot help but wonder how in the world this young man with such a limited resume came to Obama's attention, and out of ALL of the ministers in this country with far more experience and qualifications, this guy is the one Obama picked? But there he is.
I wrote a little about DuBois and Obama's Faith-Based Initiatives recently ("Gimme That Old Time Religion"), and Obama's expansion of Bush's range. And now, it is official. Obama kicked it off at the National Prayer Breakfast the other day. Wanna guess what particularly odious piece Obama did not remove from Bush's plan? The hiring issue. You know the one. It's whether or not a group getting federal money could demand the people they hired believed the same as the organization doing the hiring. And for now, the answer is YES. You may recall that on the campaign trail, Obama said this:
On the campaign trail last year, Obama vowed to reverse the Bush hiring policy. "As someone who used to teach constitutional law, I believe deeply in the separation of church and state," Obama said last July in a speech that pledged to expand Bush's office of faith-based initiatives. "If you get a federal grant, you can't use that grant money to proselytize to the people you help, and you can't discriminate against them—or against the people you hire—on the basis of their religion."
Except when you can, apparently. Naturally, all of the secular groups are crying foul, like Kathryn Kolbert of People For the American Way:
"President Obama needs to make good on his campaign promise that tax dollars aren't used to unconstitutionally discriminate on the basis of religion," said Kathryn Kolbert, president of People for the American Way.
She added: "It's disappointing that today President Obama has missed an opportunity to put it into practice immediately.
Oh, sure - I just know Obama will get right on that, Ms. Kolbert. Hahaha - good one.
Funny, it wasn't all that long ago that a spokeswoman for PFAW said:
"We're glad to have a good seat at the table and that [the Obama transition team] is listening to all sides," says Tanya Clay House, director of public policy for People for the American Way, which has expressed concerns about the propriety of federal faith-based initiatives. "The old administration listened to just one side of the argument."
And look how well that "good seat" worked out for you, Tanya, not to mention the TAXPAYERS in this country. But I am just so sure Obama will come through for you, the other progressives at that wonderful table, and us. Right? Sure. Well, maybe, according to Mr. DuBois:
The newly named director of the Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships Office, Joshua DuBois, said that it was impossible to give a timeline for resolving the hiring issue and that resolution might come on a case-by-case basis, rather than in a sweeping policy directive.
"This is an area of unclear policy and practice, but we can now begin seeking the advice of government and outside actors and see what groups are doing on the ground," said DuBois, who had previously served as religious outreach director of Obama's presidential campaign. "The previous administration made decisions without understanding the state of law and practice."
And the Obama Administration is different on that count HOW, exactly?? *Crickets* That's what I thought.
And then there was the following article by Martha Burk at Huffington Post. Oh, don't worry, I have the whole thing here so you don't have to click over. Why? Because I care. Anyway, Ms. Burk is kinda mad about all of this whole because she claims that, "Obama's Faith-Based Office An Insult To Women." Oh, "Sweetie" - are you "feeling blue" because Obama is shoving women to the side again? May I ask, just what in his entire campaign history made you think he was going to NOT throw women overboard? Did you not get just a little inkling when he played Jay Z's "99 Problems But a Bitch Ain't One?" (And frankly, this has been so well documented by now, it does not need a link.) Or did you think when he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Act into law, it meant he cared about anything more than a photo op? You know that he (and Biden) weren't even one of the 54 co-sponsors of that bill, right? And you SURELY must have heard that he didn't even pay women the same on his staff as the men for the same job, didn't you? Yeah - he only gave them 78 cents compared to the dollar for the men. I mean, I know you write for Huffington Post and all, but c'mon - you NEVER caught how incredibly sexist he was to Clinton, Palin, and women in general?? Really??
President Obama attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast yesterday and used the opportunity to tout the reconstitution and expansion of George W. Bush's Office on Faith Based Initiatives. In his remarks the president said he didn't want to favor one religion over another, or "even religious groups over secular groups." But in fact, that's just what he's doing.
National women's organizations have been lobbying Obama, who has said he is a feminist, to reopen the White House Office on Women's Issues. So far the answer is a big fat no - women's concerns will be under the already swamped Office of Public Liaison. That's a tiny shop that's chronically understaffed and overstretched. Even with the best intentions, there's almost no chance they can interface with women's advocates in a meaningful way, much less shape policy to overcome the many setbacks we inherited from the Bush years.
Hold the phone - you BELIEVED him when he said he was a FEMINIST? All evidence to the contrary, it would seem. Burk continues:
In a direct insult to women, George W. Bush closed the Clinton-era White House Office on Women's Issues in his first week, then ensconced the first-ever church/state liaison office in the same space. For our new president to "keep the faith" with religious groups while short-shrifting women is equally insulting. There is no doubt that women are responsible for his election. Females went for Obama by 56 percent to McCain's 43 percent, while men split their votes about evenly. The Jesus crowd, on the other hand, voted 60% against the president.
You know what was an insult, Ms. Burk? A man who said absolutely NOTHING in the face of sexist, misogynistic attacks like this:
Now THAT'S insulting, regardless of whether it was Clinton or Palin. It speaks to a mindset, and a pattern. Never mind Obama flipping Clinton the bird, or brushing her off his shoulder, again in Jay Z style (and again, if you haven't seen examples of either one of these instances, you need to see an optometrist). Or promoting - PROMOTING - a young man who had a photograph of himself
groping a cutout of Secretary of State (to be, at that time) Clinton ON THE INTERNET, to be the top speechwriter position in the White House. So if you think Obama is a feminist, I would suggest you are unclear on the definition of "feminist." Here's one for you:
Feminism is the belief that women have equal political, social, sexual, intellectual and economic rights as men do.
Nope - can't see how you ever thought Obama was one. EVER.
Burk continues in her complaint about Obama shunning women for religion:
The newly constituted "office for faith-based programs and community partnerships" will be headed by Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal preacher and Obama confidant, who will preside over a task force of 25 or so religious and community leaders. This group will give DuBois advice, which will presumably be passed on to the president.
To accord this advisory panel so much power, while relegating women to the margins, speaks volumes. Religious groups gained a lot from the Bush years - access to the White House, and millions of dollars in federal money, some of which was used to proselytize. And don't forget, almost all faiths consider women second class citizens; many actively campaign against affirmative action, the Women's Equality Amendment, the international human rights treaty for women known as CEDAW, and civil rights for gays and lesbians. Keeping this act going - even if it is broadened to include "community members" - is not the change women voted for.
You so were not paying attention to the entire primary and election campaigns, Ms. Burk. Obama has been pushing this religious agenda all along, including using people like Doug Kmiec, a Prop 8 proponent, to push that agenda. He has surrounded himself with sexist, homophobic pastors who he considers his close friends and confidants. And you thought that this wouldn't have an impact on where women fell on the totem pole with him?? Okey dokey...
But Ms. Burk continues, like so many of the women who voted for Obama, to give him the benefit of the doubt, even though he has done NOTHING to deserve it:
It's not too late for President Obama to change his mind and give the majority - women - a place at the table by re-opening the White House Office on Women's Issues. If he really does support women as he claims, restoring the losses of the last eight years on reproductive rights, enforcement of Title IX, Medicaid funding, and employment protections should be given a higher priority than keeping the religious right happy for what promises to be a very short honeymoon.
Women's groups are elated that the Texans are finally out of the White House. But if the new president wants their continuing loyalty, he ought to follow some good ol' Texas advice: Dance with the one that brung ya.
Uh huh. MS. Burk, if I were you, I would not hold my breath for that. And you might want to consider removing those blinders or rose-colored glasses or blindfold that have kept you from seeing who Obama really is, especially when it comes to the treatment of women. It won't change anything now - you already helped to get this sexist pig into the White House. But it will probably be better for your health to stop having unrealistic expectations of this man.
And it will be better for the country if the people who so blindly clung to his hope-y change-y message realized they were had by a marketing ploy, nothing more, and not re-elect this man. Now THAT is a change for which I dearly hope.