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Faith-based farce

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Office meant to strengthen religious charities, says its former director, has become ‘a political outreach shop’ under Obama

Jim Towey spent more than four years as the Director of the Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives under President George W. Bush. With controversy often surrounding the office, Towey was surprised when Barack Obama decided to keep it open after becoming president.

“I thought he deserved credit because I knew that the liberal flank of his party wanted it closed,” said Towey during a recent return to Washington, D.C., from his current post as president of Ave Maria University in Florida.

Three years later Towey is appalled at the direction the office has taken under Obama. “I think it has become a faith-based farce,” Towey said. “The office has become nothing but a political outreach shop that has led the charge to trample on the religious rights of faith-based organizations.”

The Catholic Ave Maria University is suing the federal government over its recent push to force certain religious employers to include contraceptives and abortifacients in their health plans even if it goes against that group’s beliefs. Towey said the regulation is just the most recent example of the Obama administration’s use of the faith-based office for federal overreach.

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