A story published today by Politico notes the “quiet fade-out” of President Obama’s so-called faith council.
It provides further confirmation of the point I made in a blog post last week: The president is not really as faithful a Christian as he professes. He talks the talk, when it politically profits him. But he doesn’t walk the walk.
Obama’s “first Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships delivered a 163-page report in March 2010 and then disbanded,” according to Politico. “The second council has waited more than a year for a full slate of appointees and has yet to meet.”
That’s too bad, said Arturo Chavez, the president of the Mexican American College in San Antonio, who was an original member of the president’s faith council.
The recent religious controversies in which Obama has found himself – most notably, his mandate that hospitals affiliated with religious institutions must provide contraceptives – could have been avoided, Chavez suggested, if “the president was advised sufficiently about the consequences with the faith community.”
Chavez gave Obama the benefit of the doubt. He thinks the president unwittingly stumbled into the controversy.
But I believe the president knew his mandate would cause consternation in the faith community. I also believe he seriously underestimated the political blowback his mandate would precipitate.
Yes, the president’s faith council might have offered him advice as to how he might have steered clear of controversy. But he clearly didn’t want its advice.
They council was just window dressing to make it appear that the president wanted input from the faith community on issues of concern to the more than three-quarters of Americans who identify themselves as Christians.
It’s the kind of political calculus for which Obama has become known over the past three years. It may work with his secularist supporters. But not with the faith community.