I’ve been wanting to post this for days — on what how the White House is going to handle the thorny religious hiring question that folks on the political left have been complaining about for months now. Fortunately Religion & Ethics Newsweekly now has quotes by the White House’s Joshua Dubois up on its site — quotes from a panel he appeared on Monday morning at a Sojourners -sponsored Mobilization to End Poverty conference.
His response on whether government-funded faith organizations can hire people from their own religion was that basically the administration is going to take the matter “on a case by case basis,” which is not going to please a lot of liberals. “It’s a difficult topic,” he said. “As difficult legal issues arise,” he added, he is to work with the White House and attorney general’s office and make recommendations. Whatever that means. Listen to it yourself here.
Several of us have been trying to get interviews with Mr. Dubois but have had no luck. Actually he’s gotten kind of famous for his avoidance of the Fourth Estate. Rumors are that this is not his personal choice; that he’s been directed to not talk. So, after the Monday panel discussion, several reporters headed to a press room where they heard Mr. Dubois was going to finally take some questions. Turns out he slipped out of the convention center, leaving some grumpy media and one of his assistants, Mara Vanderslice, a bit befuddled, as to why he was a no-show.
Reporters do get weary of this cat-and-mouse stuff and when patience wears thin, don’t expect the most sympathetic treatment when we finally do pounce.
Christianity Today’s Sarah Pulliam did manage to snag some Dubois quotes and interesting details in a piece in the magazine’s May edition where we learn he is attending National Community Church, the congregation that started out in a movie theater at Union Station. Now THAT would be an interesting congregation for the First Family to join. Read pastor Mark Batterson’s “evotionals” for a sampling of the zeitgeist there.
Which brings up another issue: Why are some public figures more willing to be interviewed by specialty religious publications than by the secular media? Mr. Dubois is not alone in selecting CT as one of his chosen vehicles; former St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke does the same thing. Up until recently, he was giving interviews to every conservative Catholic blog that registered a cyber-blip, plus taped remarks for pro-life activist Randall Terry. But when it comes to the secular media, he tends to run the other way. What is it with these guys? Do they not want to traffic with the godless TV and print people? Do we scare them?
- Julia Duin, religion editor