According to the LA Times:

Egyptians are cautiously rejoicing over the recent appointment of a veiled Egyptian American Muslim woman as an advisor to President Obama.

Dalia Mogahed, senior analyst and executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, was appointed this month to Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

Arabs are closely watching for signs that the new leadership in Washington is making efforts to improve relations with Islam, which many Muslims believe were severely damaged during the eight years of the Bush administration. The selection of Mogahed is viewed by many in the Middle East as a step by Obama to move beyond the stereotypes and prejudices that Muslims believe they have encountered since the attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

If you would like to see the complete list of the panel members, you can visit here.

A rough count of the religious diversity on the president faith-based initiative panel yields the following tallies:

  • 14 Christians/Christian organizations
  • 3 Jews/Jewish organizations
  • 2 Muslims
  • 1 Hindu
  • 5 secular organizations

What do you think? Is this diverse enough? Considering the president is calling this program the Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, do you think there is too much faith and not enough neighborhoods represented?

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  • Gene Garman

    FYI: my recent letter to my President and my Governor —

    President Obama and Governor Sebelius:

    I am writing to request you refuse any endorsement and proclamation calling for a National Day of Prayer and Reflection on May 7th. I am requesting a declaration that explicitly recognizes this day as recognition of a day which emphasizes America to be a nation in which citizens of all religions and of none are welcome to participate freely and fully in all of America’s social and political functions and as a nation in which “strongly guarded as is the separation between Religion and Government in the Constitution of the United States, the danger of encroachment by Ecclesiastical Bodies may be illustrated” (James Madison, William and Mary Quarterly 3:555) by permanently forbidding, at all levels, government involvement in religion matters or in recognition of religion. I am compelled to make this request because, in the USA, religion is to be voluntary and not the business of government since government is the essence of coercion.

    I am asking as well that you decline to issue, to the so-called National Day of Prayer Task Force, a proclamation for May 7th regarding any activity which suggests governmental involvement with religion.

    My request to you is given urgency because of the Task Force’s policy of making its events appear to be government endorsed and official, thus crossing the First Amendment lines separating religion and government. In one of its documents the Task Force explicitly instructed coordinators to “make a public statement to government officials requesting them to be at the Capitol building and/or have them participate in a religion observance.” Such participation is not the business of government.

    Please use your power of proclamation to eliminate any governmental relationship whatsoever to religion.

    I urge you to issue a single proclamation that calls for and reflects our nation’s best values by explicitly forbidding any governmental connection to religion events on government property.

    Gene Garman, M.Div.
    Pittsburg KS

    PS: The best book on the market, relating to understanding the religion commandments in the Constitution, The Religion Commandments, is now available from Amazon.com.

  • Grandma Windy in WV

    Thank you, Rev Gaddy, and you Mr Garman, for your contacts with President Obama regarding the National Day of Prayer. He does listen. I was also glad to see you, Rev Gaddy, with Rachel Maddow. Just so you will know I was doing my part as well, following is my letter to the editor which was published in Martinsburg WV Journal on May 2:

    The National Day of Prayer has been hijacked by the National Day of Prayer Task Force. They may have no government affiliation, but under cover of the proclamation of the government, they established a committee to make this day in their own image, that is, the fundamentalist evangelical Christian image, defying the original intention of the day to be a day of prayer for all faiths. They have secured the right to use capitol and courthouse sites, as well as other public sites, to promote their own religious agenda and shutting out observations by other faiths at those sites.
    If you check out their website, you will find in their mission statement the phrase “mobilizing the Christian community to intercede for America,” and in their Vision and Values, “In accordance with Biblical truth.” They state “The Task Force represents a Judeo Christian expression of the national observance, based on our understanding that this country was birthed in prayer and in reverence for the God of the Bible,” and state that they are organized for the express “purpose of organizing and promoting prayer observances conforming to a Judeo-Christian system of values.” A volunteer applying to work with the National Day of Prayer Task Force committee is required to give a statement affirming belief in Biblical inerrancy and to “commit that NDP activities I serve with will be conducted solely by Christians”. s/he must “be an evangelical Christian who has a personal relationship with Christ.”
    The NDP Task Force generously concedes that “People with other theological and philosophical views are, of course, free to organize and participate in activities that are consistent with their own beliefs.´ Just don’t try it on the Courthouse Steps which they have expropriated for the day.

  • mickey

    This country was founded upon the laws of God as found in the Holy Bible. Most of the State Constitutions require that a man or woman elected to office be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ and in some, the holding of office was forbidden without this faith.

    Every country which has had Christianity as its main religion is found to be free. Every country which has ANY other religion is under some form of tyranny, despotism or Socialism/Communism and many live in squalor with very little advancements in the fine arts and sciences such as is found in predominantly Christian nations.

    The principles expoused by our framers of the Constitution never meant for “religion” to be seperated from or taken out of government. It was the opposite. The intent of the First Amendment was that the government could not regulate religion or sponsor a government run church. They were to keep their noses out of the affairs of the church but the church was to keep their noses very much in the affairs of government.

    We have departed from the “church”, meaning “we the people” as being the master and have allowed the servant to take rule. Hence we see organizations such as this one. Christ said :There is one way to the Father, through Him only. Any other way is to be a thief attempting to climb in a back window. So, since you have in your statement of beleifs that in all religions are valid How do we deal with such a statement by He who is the embodiment of truth, the reason this country was founded, the teacher of the principles we operate on (at least used to in our glory days) and is in fact our present King. As George Washington claimed when he was asked to be king, “We have no king but Jesus Christ!”.

  • Richard

    So many illusions you suffer from mickey;

    “This country was founded upon the laws of God as found in the Holy Bible. ” Really? Let’s take a look at he Preamble:

    ”’We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”’ Sorry but I must have missed your reference here. Could you point it out for us?

    “Most of the State Constitutions require that a man or woman elected to office be a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ ” Give us documentation not a mere statement and I don’t just mean 1 or 2 examples. We grow weary of claims without the proof. How about members of the House? These are the words of the Constitution as regards members of the House:

    ”’The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.

    No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.”’ I must have once again missed the references you point out to “the laws of God as found in the Holy Bible” Would you be so kind?…..

    And as to the Senate members:

    ”’No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.”’ Again…….?

    And I have only taken apart your opening statement. mickey, do yourself a favor and stop quoting what you hear to be the truth, and do some research prior as you are beginning to look a bit foolish.

  • Gene Garman

    Thank you, Richard:

    Unfortunately, it is not only Mickey. The national organizations which deal with the Court respecting the religion commandments in the Constitution also continue to distort what those commandments say, which is why AU, ACLU, BJCPA, etc. have not won the argument in Court. They largely continue to fail because they fail to properly frame the constitutional principle.

    My book makes the attempt to change their way of thinking.

    Gene Garman

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