President Obama revised 2001 faith based initiatives established by President George W. Bush with "Fundamental Principles and Policymaking Criteria for Partnerships with Faith-Based and Other Neighborhood Organizations
" on November 17, 2010.
Catholic organizations like Catholic Charities, hospitals, clinics, assisted living organizations, adoption agencies would do well to review their policies and practices to see if the present policies cohere with what the President has set down in the executive order since there are some serious potential conflicts. Serious points of contention will likely be around the providing of religious services, counseling rooted in faith and to what degree you can apply pastoral practice to the workings of the agency. The secularists are already jumping for joy with the new amendments because they want more restrictive policies and stringent policies of accountability for the use of monies and practices by faith-based organizations. Having said all this, though, clarity of what can and cannot be done are helpful since they establish rules of engagement. Clear to all reasonable minded people, religious freedom needs to be respected. And we Catholics will hear more about religious freedom in 2011 with Pope Benedict addressing the issue of religious freedom at significant events like world youth day. The Pope is very clear that we propose and not impose our faith in Christ, even with those who claim to be Christians.