By Joseph DeCaro, Worthy News International Correspondent
WASHINGTON D.C., USA (Worthy News) -- United States President Barack Obama has signed an executive establishing a reorganized White House Office on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships for only "secular purposes", not evangelism, Worthy News monitored Friday, February 6.
It came over half a year after his keyJuly 2 speech in Zanesville, Ohio, where Obama said the new Office would be the "moral center" of his administration.
The Office will be led by Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal minister, who headed religious outreach for Obama's Senate office and later his presidential campaign, officials said.
Obama is also expected to name 25 religious and secular leaders to an advisory board, including the Reverend Joel Hunter, senior pastor of Northland Church and Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.
Before signing the order, Obama attended the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., where he said the proposed expansion of the faith-based White House office would put secular and religious groups on an even playing field. He made clear however that tax dollars directed to faith-based social service groups would be used for "only secular purposes", such as housing for the homeless, and not evangelism.
The Obama administration said it does not want to be perceived as "micro-managing the faith-based religious groups", however it made clear it would insist on both transparency and accountability.
During his presidential campaign, Obama pledged to allow religious institutions funded through his reorganized faith-based office to hire and fire employees based on their respective religious beliefs only for activities that are privately funded.