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White House Faith Council Considering Ban on Religious Symbols

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist   Reporters who attended a phone conference with President Barack Obama's faith council yesterday say the task force is considering new rules that would require religious groups that receive federal funds to cover up all religious symbols. Washington Post reporter William Wan, who attended the two-hour conference, said the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships task force is seriously considering whether or not groups such as churches that receive federal funding for a soup kitchen should be required to cover all religious symbols during funded activities. Wan reports that Melissa Rogers, director of Wake Forest’s Center for Religion and Public Affairs and the group’s chairwoman, laid out three possibilities for the group to consider: 1. Making a rule stating that religious icons are not allowed at federally funded services. 2. Allowing them only if no other religious neutral rooms are available and covering up such icons is impractical. 3. Not requiring removal of such icons but encouraging religious organizations to be sensitive about the issue. “That led to a lengthy debate from which no clear consensus emerged,” Wan writes. “As the council's various taskforces finish up their reports, some thorny issues like this look like they'll require footnotes or majority/minority opinion sections (ala Supreme Court).” The 25-member advisory council is tasked with finding ways that faith groups and government can work together on issues ranging from climate change to fatherless families to abortion rates and making recommendations to the president. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®  http://www.womenofgrace.com

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