- (Photo: Reuters/Jim Young)
Joshua Dubois, former spiritual adviser to president Obama and former head of the administration's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, recently said that contrary to public opinion, God and religion are "far more present in Washington than most Americans realize."
Dubois, an ordained Pentecostal minister who earned the title "Pastor in Chief" while working for the Obama administration, argues that there are many faith-filled politicians on Capitol Hill who are often overlooked by the American public because they do not wear their religion on their sleeve.
"Everyone knows about the politicians and interest groups – mainly conservative – who wear their faith on their sleeve. Yet across the ideological spectrum, Washington is filled with people at the height of political power who are practicing their faith seriously and profoundly, but largely out of public view," Dubois, who now writes a religion column for the Daily Beast, said in a recent Newsweek article titled "The Secret Faith of Washington".
Dubois goes on to give examples of highly devoted politicians, including one member of Obama's inner circle, Denis McDonough, Obama's chief of staff who uses his "deeply entrenched" Catholic faith to guide him on such issues as helping the needy.
The former spiritual adviser also gives a nod to Democratic Congressman André Carson of Indiana, whom he says uses his Muslim religion to "guide him toward social justice."
Dubois then provides reasons for why the religious identity of many politicians goes undiscussed in the Washington, D.C., culture, citing that perhaps the separation of church and state does not welcome religious expression, or perhaps the discussion of faith becomes overshadowed with a discussion relating to foreign policy or domestic politics; or, Dubois suggests, politicians want to avoid being categorized as religious so they are not then perceived as being biased toward certain political ideas due to their faith convictions.
In both the recent Newsweek article and in previous interviews, Dubois has hailed President Obama for his Christian faith, telling ABC News in early April that in spite of criticism regarding the president's dedication to his faith, the commander-in-chief continues to hold a strong personal relationship with God.
"All the president can do is live out his Christian walk every single day. The detractors will do their detracting, but at the end of the day it's about his relationship with God and that relationship, from all that I can tell, is strong," Dubois said in an interview with ABC outside of St. John's Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C.
While serving as one of president Obama's top aides, Dubois headed the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships from 2009 to February 2013, when he resigned from his position.
Although Dubois is one of Obama's longest-serving aides and considered to be the president's "man of God," the 30-year-old minister has also been criticized during his time in the leadership position for not effectively bridging the gap between conservatives and the administration regarding hot button issues such as the HHS mandate, which forced religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for birth control despite their religious convictions.
Additionally, many questioned the effectiveness of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which some say virtually dropped off the radar of the American public since Obama took office.
Along with writing for the Daily Beast, Dubois will reportedly be teaching faith-based courses at New York University this year, as well as pen a book of devotionals meant for leaders, similar to the devotionals he sent daily to President Obama as a means of spiritual inspiration.