President Obama announced Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast that Joshua DuBois, head of his Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships would be leaving the post, effective Friday.
DuBois was 26 when he was chosen by the president to serve as director. Obama has often mentioned the inspiration he finds in DuBois’ daily Scripture e-mails, making the faith-based office director an informal spiritual adviser to the president.
A White House official said that DuBois is leaving the White House to author a book of devotionals for leaders based on the ones he sends the president. DuBois will be teaching at New York University and plans to launch a new organization with Michael Wear, who led faith outreach for the president’s 2012 campaign. Wear, who has been working as an assistant to DuBois, also is leaving.
Over DuBois’ tenure, the office been criticized for failing to address one of the core issues around government funded programs run by religious organizations--that of faith-based hiring and firing. A 2012 report left “critical questions unanswered” about how the government could work with religious groups within the limits established by the First Amendment. DuBois at the time called the findings “an important step” and said the recommendations would “strengthen the government’s relationship with faith-based organizations in a manner that protects religious liberty and the separation of church and state.”
In a recent post for On Faith, John J. DiIulio Jr., who served under President Bush as the first director of White House faith-based office, praised the office under DuBois’ leadership and its progress on issues like child hunger, while acknowledging the inherent church-state tensions in the faith-based mission.