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Obama’s faith based program takes shape

President Obama’s Faith Based initiatives plan is starting to take shape, according to the Washington Post.

White House aides said he will depart from the Bush administration’s program, which allowed faith-based groups to hire only those of their faith and, instead, decide such issues on a case-by-case basis. Among the new priorities of the office, aides said, would be attempting to reduce the number of abortions and efforts to support women and families.

Speaking at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Capital Hilton in Washington this morning, Obama said the goal of the initiative "will not be to favor one religious group over another — or even religious groups over secular groups. It will simply be to work on behalf of those organizations that want to work on behalf of our communities, and to do so without blurring the line our founders wisely drew between church and state."

Under George Bush, faith based programs received some $10.6 billion, the Post said.

And, a leading Reform rabbi reportedly will be named part of a new advisory council to the White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

The Associated Press reported that Rabbi David Saperstein, director and counsel of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, would be part of the council, which will meet at least twice a year and include leaders from the religious and secular worlds who have experience in social services.

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