Obama Widens Faith-Based Initiative

Softens campaign trail stance
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2009 7:34 AM CST
This Jan. 20, 2009 file photo shows President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as they pray before lunch at Statuary Hall in Washington.   (AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson, Pool, FILE)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Barack Obama announced his new-look faith-based initiative at the National Prayer Breakfast this morning, promising a program that won’t favor any particular religious group, or even religious groups over secular groups, the AP reports. “Far too often, we’ve seen faith wielded as a tool to divide us,” Obama said, but all faiths share the basic principle of loving thy neighbor.

Obama said the program would help any group that wants to “work on behalf of our communities,” while fostering interfaith dialogue at home and abroad. Beyond that he was light on specifics, but the Wall Street Journal reports that Obama will make abortion reduction a goal of the program, and will try to sidestep constitutional issues by handling each group on a case-by-case basis.