Mark Silk, at Religion News Service, is undoubtedly correct when he writes that the Faith-Based Initiative President George W. Bush began has not lived up to its promise. He is also correct when he notes that the proposal was, and is, a genuinely centrist proposal. In a Washington that is beset by partisanship on steroids, maybe the Obama team would do well to devote more attention towards fulfilling the promise of the Faith-Based Office. The selection of Melissa Rogers to lead it was a good sign: She is a serious scholar with policy chops to match anyone in the West Wing. But, as Silk notes, Bush's choice of John Dilulio was a good sign, but, alas, a sign that did not lead anywhere. Both political parties suffer from an imagination deficit, and both parties seem unwilling to actually try to recognize the importance of civil society in its own right, not only when it is doing the partisan bidding of the politicians.
April 30, 2013