The Future of Federal Faith-Based Initiatives

March 23, 2009Duke Law News

On February 5th, during the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama announced his plans to continue the faith-based initiative, following through on his promise made in a campaign speech last July in Zanesville, Ohio. He noted the need for an “all hands on deck” effort to help the growing number of Americans in need, whether they be served by secular or religious charities. The federal push to extend equal funding opportunities to religious social service providers started under President Clinton with the multi-adoption of “charitable choice” and its level-playing-field rules. President Bush greatly broadened that effort with his White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

President Obama’s revamped initiative will operate under the new name of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP). Missouri Law School Professor Carl Esbeck and Chris Anders, ACLU senior legislative counsel, discuss the expanded responsibilities of the OFBNP, the constitutional and statutory questions that were addressed during the Bush years, and those that still remain to be answered by the Obama Administration.

Sponsored by the Duke Law Christian Legal Society, The Federalist Society, Duke Law Democrats, Duke ACLU, and the Program in Public Law.