or all of you waiting with baited breath for the remaining members of President Obama’s faith advisory council to be announced, today was the day the White House gave out the final few names. They are below. A few observations:
Considering that evangelicals are 26 percent of the American population, I don’t see a comparative percentage of folks who fit that description on the list. And there no women among them. Now, there are plenty of female evangelical leaders around, such as Joni Eareckson Tada (who as a quadriplegic would have pleased all sorts of diversity requirements), Alveda King, Nancy Pearcey, Anne Graham Lotz, etc., so am wondering why theologically conservative Christian women were left out.
Then again, Catholics are 25 percent of the population, but I am counting only three representatives from that denomination. Jews are 2 percent of the population, but there are three representatives from their ranks.
Anju Bhargava, by the way, is a female Hindu priest. I’ve written before on how Obama doesn’t seem to know what Buddhists are, sooo, search this list, dear readers, and see if you can find any. I cannot. Ditto for Seventh-day Adventists, Sikhs and Mormons.
There are two gay representatives on the list. According to the Washington Blade, Harry Knox, who heads up the religion and faith program for the Human Rights Campaign (a prominent homosexual group), is one and Fred Davie, head of Public/Private Ventures, is another.
Richard Stearns, a member who was announced a few weeks ago, told me the council meets this month in Washington, so the White House probably felt some pressure to come up with a full list sooner rather than later. Some folks on the list, such as Nathan Diamant, knew they were selected weeks ago.
— Julia Duin, religion editor
Diane Baillargeon, president and CEO, Seedco, New York
Anju Bhargava, founder, Asian Indian Women of America, New Jersey
Bishop Charles Blake, presiding bishop, Church of God in Christ, Los Angeles
Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago
The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president-elect, National Council of Churches USA, Minneapolis
Dr. Arturo Chavez, president and CEO, Mexican American Catholic College, San Antonio
Fred Davie, senior adviser, Public/Private Ventures, New York
Nathan Diament, director of public policy, Orthodox Jewish Union, Washington
Pastor Joel C. Hunter, senior pastor, Northland, a Church Distributed, Longwood, Fla.
Harry Knox, director, Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign, Washington
Bishop Vashti M. McKenzi, presiding bishop, 13th Episcopa District African Methodist Episcopal Church, Knoxville, Tenn.
Dalia Mogahed, executive director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Washington
The Rev. Otis Moss Jr., pastor emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland
Dr. Frank S. Page, president emeritus, Southern Baptist Convention, Taylors, S.C.
Eboo S. Patel, founder and executive director, Interfaith Youth Core, Chicago
Anthony Picarello, general counsel, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington
Nancy Ratzan, board chair, National Council of Jewish Women, Miami
Melissa Rogers, director, Center for Religion and Public Affairs, Wake Forest University School of Divinity, Winston-Salem, N.C.
Rabbi David N. Saperstein, director and counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington
Dr. William J. Shaw, president, National Baptist Convention, USA, Philadelphia
Father Larry J. Snyder, president, Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria
Richard Stearns, president, World Vision, Bellevue, Wash.
Judith N. Vredenburgh, president and CEO, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, Philadelphia
The Rev. Jim Wallis, president and executive director, Sojourners, Washington
Dr. Sharon Watkins, general minister and president, Disciples of Christ (Christian Church), Indianapolis