And the the Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships completed their report and saw that it was good and presented it to the president. So what comes next?
The recommendations range across a wide range of government departments, and include both highly specific programmatic suggestions and airy hopes for good things. The Council members, who will be going their separate ways with the appointment of a new Council, can use their inside contacts and bully pulpits to urge the administration to follow what recommendations they hold most dear.
But for those of us concerned about of Office’s aboriginal business of facilitating faith-based social service provision, the focus remains on the need to amend President Bush’s December 2002 executive order, “Equal Protection of the Laws for Faith-Based and Community Organizations.” The report includes a host of recommendations, most of them unanimous and a couple not, that would go a long way towards remedying the constitutional shortcomings of the Bush approach. It shouldn’t be too hard for the White House counsel’s office and the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel to whip these into an amended executive order.
Of course, the torturous hiring issue, which the Advisory Council was specifically ordered to take off its plate, remains to be decided. Sooner or later, the lawyers are going to have to belly up to that one. The sooner the better.