Change Comes to WhiteHouse.gov; Faith-Based Initiatives Out, Gay Rights In
January 21, 2009
Barack Obama was elected the 44th President of the United States on a promise to "bring change to America." Yesterday change came swiftly to the White House’s official webpage— reportedly within minutes of Obama’s taking the oath of office.
The newly-revamped WhiteHouse.gov illustrates a decline in the influence of conservative religion on presidential policies. The new website’s policy agenda contains a lengthy description of proposed civil rights initiatives to promote equal rights for the LGBT community. Many of these initiatives were staunchly opposed by George W. Bush’s conservative Christian base, including a bill to ban workplace discrimination, support for civil unions, opposition to a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, and the expansion of adoption rights. Noticeably absent from the new website are the pages formerly devoted to George Bush’s Faith Based Community Initiative , a program that drew fire from both religious and secular defenders of church-state separation. Although President Obama has said he intends to continue and even expand the program, he has vowed to end discriminatory hiring practices on the basis of religion and to guard against the use of taxpayer dollars for religious proselytizing.