It was the last week in office for Joshua DuBois as President Barack Obama's official liaison to faith-based organizations. DuBois plans to author a book of devotionals for leaders based on the ones he sent the president each day, and teach at New York University.
President Obama announced Thursday that DuBois would be departing and paid tribute to him at the National Prayer Breakfast at the Hilton Washington International Ballroom in Washington, D.C. "This morning I want to publicly thank Joshua for all that he's done, and I know that everybody joins me in wishing him all the best in his future endeavors – including getting married," Obama said.
The president also thanked the 30-year-old aide for sending him a daily meditation every morning via email, "a snippet of Scripture for me to reflect on." Obama added that "it has meant the world to me."
DuBois, a Pentecostal minister, also expressed gratitude, saying on Twitter, "Humbled beyond words. Grateful to God for a good President, and a good friend. Thankful for all of you. And excited about the future."
While his supporters credited DuBois with helping Democrats establish progressive faith as a movement, his critics pointed to his inability to avoid confrontations with conservatives on measures such as the HHS contraception mandate, which came into force on Jan. 1, requiring employers to provide contraception to employees.
DuBois, who has a Master's Degree in International Affairs from Princeton University, could not prevent the Inauguration Committee from deciding against Pastor Louie Giglio to deliver the benediction at Obama's inaugural due to the conservative pastor's biblical view of homosexuality as heard in a sermon over a decade ago.
DuBois, who was raised in Nashville, Tenn., had earlier worked for Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.), and as an associate pastor for a small Pentecostal church in Massachusetts. DuBois was 26 when he was asked by Obama to head the office in February 2009. He served as religious affairs director for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships was established in 2001 by President George W. Bush, and was soon criticized by secular groups that said it violated the separation of church and state.
Some Democrats reportedly think the White House should now choose a more senior person to head the office.