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White House

My day began at 5:15 a.m. My attire had been preselected, my purse packed, and I had visited the salon for a hair appointment the night before. I was preparing to go to the White House for the second time this month. I was among those chosen to meet with senior staff of the Obama […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Following days of tension between the Obama administration and the U.S. hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, the White House on Wednesday (Jan. 25) heralded nine Catholic educators as “Champions of Catholic Education.” “Irony is the word of the day,” said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) The State Department fired back at a prominent Catholic ambassador who said the agency has a “rigidly narrow” view of foreign policy that neglects the role of religion in world affairs. “I can’t imagine an agency that has a broader portfolio,” State Department spokesman Evan Owen said on Monday (April 18). “We have […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama on Tuesday (April 19) said Jesus’ death and resurrection on Easter “puts everything else in perspective,” at a White House event that showcased his increasing comfort with discussing his faith. Using the kind of personal religious language that he had once shied away from in public, Obama spoke of “the pain […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) President Obama and some 500 notables celebrated the second of the Hanukkah’s eight nights on Thursday (Dec. 2) by lighting a menorah fished from the muck of a synagogue flooded by Hurricane Katrina. Describing the Hanukkah candles as tiny reminders of “the importance of faith and perseverance,” Obama told the festive crowd in […] Read More

WASHINGTON (RNS) Six months after advisers turned in 164 pages of recommendations to the White House’s faith-based office, thorny church-state questions remain unanswered and some critics say the office has been used to push the president’s health care reform. Much of the work done by the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships has […] Read More

If true, the report about the Obamas wanting a “non-religious Christmas” is troubling.   Desiree Rogers, the White House’s social secretary, disclosed the Obamas’ desire, according to a New York Times story. A White House official also said that an internal discussion had been had about whether to display the Christmas manger scene and how […] Read More

“Rolling Stone” magazine has published a 5,000-word investigative story accusing the Bush administration of carrying out a “secret campaign” to deny global warming aimed at misleading the public and to forestall any mandatory limits on polluters. The article, based on documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, describes a White House environmental policy led […] Read More

President Bush’s faith-based initiative, launched as a centerpiece of his administration’s domestic agenda, recently passed its five-year anniversary without notice. A few weeks after he took office in January 2001, the president established the White House Office of Community and Faith-Based Organizations, aimed at mobilizing “armies of compassion” by relaxing rules and regulations making it […] Read More

A White House spokesman on Monday refused to say whether President Bush’s premature comment last week about Yasser Arafat’s death implied the president believes the Palestinian leader is going to heaven. Erroneously informed at his first post-election press conference that Arafat had died, Bush commented: “My first reaction is, God bless his soul. And my […] Read More