In her story on OFANP in today’s NYT, Laurie Goodstein writes:
Joshua DuBois, a 26-year-old Pentecostal minister who led religious
outreach for Mr. Obama during the presidential race, will direct the
new White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Mr. DuBois said in an interview, “The
president is still very much committed to clear constitutionality and
legality in this program. He’s committed to nondiscrimination.”
Mr. DuBois said that after Mr. Obama gave his speech in Ohio “we have
realized there’s a tremendous lack of clarity in this area, so we’ll
review on a case by case basis.”
“If we are consistently finding
the same thing, and presenting the same recommendations to the
president,” he said, then the administration might seek to recommend a
change in the law.”
This makes no sense to me. Granted, there’s a good deal of unclarity in the law in this area. But the way to resolve it is to lay down the operative principle and indicate how it is to be applied, not deal with situations on a case-by-case basis. In normal parlance, case-by-case would mean that every time a question about a particular grant came up, it would be referred to the lawyers, and then brought to the president. But that’s ridiculous.
What “cases” is DuBois talking about? And what are the standards by which the recommendations are going to be made? The whole issue here is whether or not the operative principle will be the one that Obama articulated in that Ohio speech: no faith-based job discrimination when the feds are footing the bill.
Update: This LAT piece by Peter Wallsten and Duke Helfand is on the ball by finding Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va) and eliciting his unhappiness with Obama’s punting on the hiring issue. It would have been interesting to hear Scott’s response to the following question: Why didn’t you step up to question the faith-based hiring waiver on SCHIP yesterday?