On Thursday, President Obama spoke and prayed at the annual Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
Obama used the occasion to announce that he'll establish a White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. This initiative will be an extension of the office that President Bush established, with a broader mission
Some of Obama's remarks about the new office are raising eyebrows in Christian conservative circles, specifically this comment about church and state.
"The goal of this office will not be to favor one religious group over another -- or even religious groups over secular groups,” said the President. “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 that our founders wisely drew between church and state."
Some conservative U.S. Christians contend that the founding fathers did not put up a wall between church and state, unlike what the President made reference to. During the prayer breakfast, Obama said that while he's a Christian, he's not about to favor one religious group over another. He described how he found his faith while working as a community organizer in Chicago. He said no matter what we choose to believe, he said there is no religion which central tenet is hate. The President is expected to sign an executive order aimed at ensuring religious groups receiving government money don't discriminate in hiring. Critics of the office say the Bush administration allowed groups to consider an applicant’s religion when hiring.