- Social Web
5. Launching White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
(Jim Lo Scalzo for USN&WR)
President Obama not only retained George W. Bush's controversial faith-based office; he expanded its mission. In addition to helping social service groups get federal aid—the office's sole purpose under Bush—Obama has tasked it with reducing demand for abortion, promoting responsible fatherhood, and facilitating global interfaith dialogue. Rebranded the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and led by the Obama campaign's director of religious affairs, the office has seen the postponement by the administration of the most contentious issue surrounding it: whether to allow religious groups to hire only fellow believers with federal funds. Liberal groups say they'll object to such state-sponsored discrimination. Conservative religious groups say they'll back out of Obama's faith-based program if they're forced to hire from outside of their faith traditions.