Michael Wear, a 23-year-old executive assistant in the White House, has been picked to lead the Obama campaign’s faith outreach. RNS reports, via Christianity Today:
“It has been an honor working with Michael Wear to create positive faith-based and nonprofit partnerships to serve people in need,” said Joshua DuBois, executive director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Wear was DuBois’ executive assistant….
A native of Buffalo, N.Y., Wear was an intern during Obama’s 2008 campaign, specializing in outreach to religious groups. He helped arrange candidate Obama’s appearance at a presidential forum at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California as well as a meeting between Obama and prominent Christian leaders in Chicago.
“Michael has spent a number of years in the faith-based office so he knows the territory,” said Amy Sullivan, author of “The Party Faithful,” a book on religion and American politics. “But the Republicans would put somebody senior with years and years of experience and a big Rolodex in that position. And I guess that tells you something about how Democrats still view faith outreach and its importance.”
I’ve written much before about the suspicions I have when political candidates talk about their religious beliefs and faith-inspired values, particularly during the 2008 presidential election season. And my concerns have not changed, though I think that four years with President Obama have shown us that it’s not too prone to religious pandering (see the support for gay marriage that he announced last week or simply his approach to finding a new home church for his family).