With all the big issues the president is trying to address, and considering he's not yet eight months into his term, I'd say this is a good start ["Q&A With Frank Page, the Obama Faith Council's Most Conservative Member," usnews.com]. I hope Frank Page will not give up and will continue to work with the Council. With the separation of church and state, I'm sure Mr. Page understands that the White House cannot, or would be ill-advised, to put forth a quote from the Bible or the Koran or any other holy book as the answer to the problem of absent fathers. Rather, concepts and ideas will need to be fashioned in a manner that works within the concept of separation of church and state and respect for all religious beliefs. I agree with Mr. Page that examples of good fathers can be a powerful source of inspiration, and our president is a good example for others to try to emulate. In any case, please continue to work together.
Comment by Denise of MN
I wonder if George W. Bush appointed any "liberal" religious leaders to his version of this. I wonder, too, what Mr. Page's expectations were. The mere fact that government is spending any money on "faith-based initiatives," regardless of "liberal" or "conservative," is a troublesome sign of the increasing fusion of religion and politics in a democracy founded in part to change that old "divine right of kings" structure.
Comment by R. Shea of NY
The Rev. Frank Page should realize that he is, indeed, "a voice at the table" not the voice at the table. "Right-wing fundamentalists" were granted extraordinary access to and influence on policy makers during the last administration. Were there any humanists or Unitarians or Buddhists named to such advisory panels during the Bush years? Mr. Page's conservative voice is one among many; where was the liberal voice eight years ago? Mr. Page might be well advised to display a bit of humility, gratitude, and an open and cooperative attitude.
Comment by J. Kepler of IL
The only morally legitimate government is one devoted solely to the protection of individual rights from aggression and fraud. Rights are moral principles drawn rationally from facts of reality and supporting freedom to action (not entitlement to particular results). The fundamental rights are life, liberty, and property, all of which are steps toward individual happiness here on earth. There is no room for mysticism (the claim to a source of knowledge other than reason) in government, in any form. Mysticism includes calls for faith, revelation, oracular authority, intuition, and others. If the Obama administration and Congress (including the Republicans) had integrity they would immediately abolish all "faith-based" programs and references.
Comment by Burgess Laughlin of OR
Conservative Christians are so used to having their fingers twisted in government policy since Ronald Reagan that they don't understand anymore what it means to have separation of church and state. If you read some recent history, for example, you find that George W. Bush had monthly meetings with several end-timers who literally guided his decisions on the Middle East. That is pretty scary. It'll take some time to correct this delusion of theirs that government should be an extension of their Bible. The White House set up the committee to make sure they hear a wide variety of voices on issues that effect faith so as to be inclusive and not miss any good ideas out there. It was obviously never intended to find ways for the government to set up Bible camps for fathers or any other religious interventions by the government.
Comment by Ella of NM