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Source: Obama campaign hires faith outreach director
May 14th, 2012
06:21 PM ET

Source: Obama campaign hires faith outreach director

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

Washington (CNN) - Just as it confronts fallout with some religious communities over President Barack Obama’s newly expressed support for same-sex marriage, the Obama re-election campaign is hiring a religious outreach director, an activist close to the campaign said Monday.

Michael Wear, who currently serves as executive assistant to the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, will join the Obama campaign in Chicago as Faith Vote Director, according to James Salt, a Catholic activist who is close to the Obama campaign and White House.

A White House source confirmed Wear’s departure on Monday but could not say whether he is joining the Obama campaign. The campaign did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. Wear’s hiring was first reported Monday by the Religion News Service.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

"Michael has served the president extremely well and he will be a great asset to the campaign," said Salt, the organizing director for Catholics United, a progressive group.

Sources close the White House say the timing was not dictated by the controversy over Obama’s support for same-sex marriage. After Obama announced his support for legalized same-sex marriage, he hosted a conference call with 13 pastors on Wednesday to talk about his views.

Wear, who was raised a Catholic but now attends a nondenominational, evangelical-style church in Washington, has spearheaded White House outreach to evangelicals and has focused on policy issues like adoption throughout Obama’s first term

Joshua DuBois, the executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, directed religious outreach for the Obama campaign in 2008. Before that, it was unusual for Democratic presidential campaigns to hire faith outreach staffers.

In the aftermath of the 2004 election, when George W. Bush won re-election with the help of many so-called values voters and when religion-related issues like same-sex marriage figured into race, Democrats began stepping up outreach to religious voters.

Last year, the Democratic National Committee hired a minister, the Rev. Derrick Harkins, to lead its faith outreach efforts.

–CNN’s Jessica Yellin contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Barack Obama • Politics

soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. WWJD

    Few 100% true Reasons why Atheism is TERRIBLE and unhealthy for our children and living things:

    † Atheism is a religion that makes you stupid, ignorant & blind.
    † Atheism is a disease that needs to be treated.
    † Atheism makes you post stupid things (90% of silly comments here on CNN blogs are posted by closet Atheists)
    † Atheist are satanic and have gothic lifestyle.
    † Atheists causes problem in our religious society.
    † Atheists are mentally ill, that's why they have no faith.
    † Atheism won't take you to kingdom of heaven and paradise.
    † Atheism making you agree with Stalin, Hitler (Denied his faith later), Mao, Pol Pot & other terrible mass murder leaders.
    † No traditional family lifestyle, no holidays, no culture, boring and feeling 'outsider'
    † Atheists are angry, drug additcted and committ the most crime.
    † Atheist try to convert people over internet because they feel "safer" behind closet.
    † Atheists do not really exist, they just pretend that they don't believe in God and argue with religious people.
    † Atheists have had terrible life experience, bad childhood and not being loved.
    † Most Atheists are uneducated... No Atheists could run for presidency.
    † Atheism brought upon the French Revolution, one of the most evil events of all of history.
    † Atheism cannot explain the origins of the universe, therefore God exists.
    † All atheists believe in evolution, which means they don't believe in morality and think we should all act like animals.
    † The Bible says atheism is wrong, and the Bible is always right (see: Genesis 1:1, Psalms 14:1, Psalms 19:1, Romans 1:19-20)
    † Countries where Atheism is prevalent has the highest Suicide rate & Communist countries = Atheism!
    **Only 2-3% of the U.S. are Atheists/Agnostics VS. over 90% who believe in God (80% Christians) in the U.S.**

    † † Our Prayers goes to Atheists to be mentally healthy and seek their creator † †

    ATHEISTS WILL BURN IN HELLFIRE AND BRIMSTONE WHERE THEY BELONG AND THEY ALL DESERVE IT AND I CAN'T WAIT TO WATCH FROM ABOVE IN HEAVEN WITH A SMILE WHILE I DANCE ON STREETS OF GOLD WHILE ATHEISTS SKIN BOILS OFF AND THEY CRY LIKE BABIES AND THEIR CHILDREN WILL JOIN THEM BURN BURN BURN

    May 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  2. George

    Micheal Wear sell out for 30 pieces of silver. Way to go Micheal hope your witness makes your church family pride of you.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  3. Dvet

    Vote the way you want but dont let this change your minds. Look at all the issues before you make up your minds. do what you feel is best and deal with the consequences and remember who you voted for. the party of no or the president because you hate gay people. I am a straight man but gays have rights also.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  4. marctheduck

    Hmmm. I wonder if Bill Maher is going to ridicule Obama for his new found Christianity? LOL! Now that IS funny!

    May 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
  5. Tony

    What happened to the man who caused us to believe in hope and 'yes we can'. What happened to the man that caused us we can change the world. Who took him away and replaced him with the personal destruction of those who would compete and push him to be better than he was? I am reminded of the Nixon years and how he treated those who would challenge him. The one positive thing there is that the nation came together and found his behavior unfitting for the presidency but today we will have many turn a blind eye becasuse they have more selfish desires than the unity of our country. For some this will be seen as a magical time. For others a time of embasrrasement and becasue of that, we will not go forward to become stronger and more supportive of one another. A presidents rimary role is to have the ability to set us on a path together. If he cannot do that, then he presdies over a separated house and that was not good the first time, it will not be good this time.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • marctheduck

      NObama just wants to get re-elected. And he can't peddle that old bucket of crap "lines and jingles" that he did last time because those evaporated in the daylight. Don't bother him with all these details. Just shut up and vote for him.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  6. marctheduck

    You mean he's dusting off Rev. Jeremiah Wright? All together now: "G. D. America! G. D. America! G. D. America!"

    That felt good! 🙂

    May 14, 2012 at 8:53 pm |
    • Derek

      Wow. I see the trolls from the Hannity Forums are alive and well. It's too bad we aren't seeing this support in the polls in all the swing states that will give Obama another victory in 2012.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • marctheduck

      Don't dish it out if you can't take it, Derek! LOL! OR... what goes around comes around. Don't be so weak!

      May 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Tony

      Dereck: how is it what one person listens to shows what kind of man he is but what another man hears has no bearing. The definiton of trolls, as you use it, is: "I have no way to defend the person I support." Thanks for showing your hand. Sorry you have nothing positive to say about your man and thus resort to attacking the person and not challenging the idea/thought/opinion. Too

      May 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Hey Derek did you get any loans from the bank Obama said was the key to economy

      May 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Derek

      Yep. I was right on target based on how many responses I see my comment generated. Trolls from the Hannity Forum are alive and well. Are you guys just bored or are you paid to post on the CNN forums?

      May 14, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • marctheduck

      Oh, I guarantee you that Derek and his chums are on Obama's list of dependents. If he earned his own way he wouldn't be angling for all the handouts at the expense of... of... well, of us!

      May 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  7. FedUp

    A religious outreach director? How much do the taxayers get to pay for this? Why would he possibly need a religious outreach director. He is a good Christian, after all. Everyone should want to lead the life he leads. NOT!

    May 14, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  8. Sheldon

    I hope the United States government knows what its doing. We are digging ourselves deeper and deeper by mixing religion with politics. The government should make surethat everyones rights are protected. What the government is doing however is employing clergy and religious leaders to further their credibility with the American people. It will backfire.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • Tony

      Don't be silly. If you ever think religion was LESS INVOLVED that's only becasue you didn;pt live during that period. Certainly, when the country was run by protestants it was never mixed- it was essentially one and the same. Then Kennedy brought in Catholicism and we had to separate religion from government to ensure he didn;t infect us with Roman Catholic teachings. Then we had Dr. Martin luther King and civil rights (thank goodness no one asked for separation of church and state then- or did they???); the towers came down, the muslim religion became noticeable and feared and now Mormans are the 'mafia of Washington'. We used to pray in school daily- graduations had prayer....you cannot be serious in that we have MORE religion today. We are in the middle of doing away with religion compared to our past. We look more like Russian religious tolerance than anything else today.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  9. Abdul Al-Sharrif

    We need a nice hugable pander bear , good choice Lord Obama !

    May 14, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  10. Greyhound37

    Whew, glad there's no litmus test for religion in elected positions.
    And also glad that wall of separation between church and state is solid as a rock.....
    Even if Romney wears magic underpants at least he doesn't flip flop on THAT issue...

    May 14, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  11. AfricaBTG

    People's eyes and ears are open this time. You can hire Billy Graham or any giants of faith to pander for you dear Mr Obama. Right is right and wrong is wrong no matter how many billions supports it. A moment of dark pleasure often leads to a lifetime of pain.
    Im exercising my faith instincts and skip voting this year.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Second that

      May 14, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  12. Robert

    So, hmm........will Obama bend to honor those of faith? Or will he expect and assume that people of faith will bend to his particular viewpoint?

    May 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
    • David

      My guess Robert is, he's going to that people of faith will bend to his particular viewpoint? I've got news for him, People of faith are going to follow their conscience and keep to their faith. The scriptures do state one man, one woman shall marry...I know I will vote against him.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Derek

      David, if that is the sole issue that determines whether you vote for a candidate for the President of the United States, then I truly pity you.

      Let's be honest, you were going to vote against Obama anyway. It's not like this was a huge decision maker in your vote, like you seem to have implied by your remarks. But that's fine. I will be voting for him.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  13. Dn Jones

    We have seen what phoney religion accomplished under G W Bush. Thousands killed in a trumped up war, the biggest failure in US security and an economic meltdown. If that's what religion brings us, I'll take mine rare.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  14. polaroidselnadalal

    Its called Politics for a reason people...
    How about voting for a good State legislature, then Governor, then Senator....THEN you can complain if it doesnt go your way.

    What has EVERY single president done in a first term besides make me people mad...you know its coming, so STOP COMPLAINING. If you're upset with obama because he didnt do anything the first term, then you're foolish. If you're upset with obama because he did stuff if the first term that you dont agree with, well then dont agree with him....go protest.

    Like I said earlier, its POLITICS. How are they supposed to make you all happy when you dont even know how to be happy in the first place? They look at most of you with disgust and worry to themselves if they're going to live long enough to quiet your loud, retarded mouths.

    Dont be an idiot this winter.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Banks got trillions first term that's alot

      May 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  15. racegirl1

    Hey Bo you can be FunFun's running mate if you want to change so much run for Vice President. Oh I didn't think so, just keep running the mouth.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
    • FunFun

      I can't run for president because of my age. Based on your immature babbling, I'm guessing you can't, either.

      May 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  16. maestra730

    Oh, so now Obama considers faith important? He certainly didn't when he refused to participate in the National Day of Prayer. What an unbelievable liar and hypocrite he is.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  17. FunFun

    The comment above by "American Voter without Billions of Dollars to use for bribes" is exactly what scares me about America. People don't seem to really, truly care if they are being led by someone who is qualified to do so. They are willing to accept mediocrity because of apathy, partisanship, or a lack of education on candidates and the issues. We should not ever be willing to accept mediocrity from our highest office. If you think Obama has not lived up to expectations or is a "lame-ass" president, then don't vote for him again. PLEASE. The Democratic Party should have found someone to contend with Obama. He is a great panderer and a charismatic speaker, but not a great president.

    May 14, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • Bo

      I Agree.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • racegirl1

      Why don't you run for President instead of just running off at the mouth.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
    • BamaDaniel

      Real people can't win it

      May 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  18. Mark

    Obama is a campaign con artist

    May 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  19. MOJO

    UNDERATED

    May 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  20. American Voter without Billions of Dollars to use for bribes

    And still no justice from the Dept. of Justice.
    I like Obama, but this constant oppression has yet to be addressed.
    He stepped up to the plate for marriage equality, but when will he EVER do anything about other domestic issues?
    He likes foreign policy, but the whole country is going to hell in a handbasket, morale is low, millions still unemployed, oppressive laws being shoved through all over the place without a single peep from the White House.

    If only he had sat with those college kids who got pepper sprayed maybe he'd feel like maybe something was out of whack.
    He is in charge of all law enforcement. He is responsible for letting police thugs continuously commit crimes against American Citizens.
    Attorney General Holder doesn't say a word. Not a single #@$@## word.
    Obama doesn't say a word either.
    And more helpless people are beaten to death by police thugs. More people are pepper-sprayed and tased to death by these thugs who continuously betray our trust.

    Of course, it would be a thousand times worse under a Republican President, so Obama will get my vote, but I am disgusted with his total lack of domestic policy awareness concerning the blatant racism and oppression being committed by his underlings.
    He truly is "the Man" keeping our black communities "down" along with anyone else who is poor.
    He does nothing about the Jim Crow laws being shoved through every state legislature by traitors in this country (GOP).
    He is doing TOTALLY NOTHING to make things better with his Executive powers despite having pretty much every sort of power one could wish for.
    What a lame-ass President he is.
    And now he's pandering to religious establishments because his campaign advisors are totally clueless about how to deal with real-world issues. They'd rather pander to people who are only known for their bigoted, racist delusions despite these same people being part of the problem Obama should be addressing as President.
    What price re-election? Sell your soul and the country into slavery for what? Points in the polls? Yet most unemployed people want jobs and freedom to breathe. Their morale is still dragging in the gutter.
    I could go on like this for hours. Obama will get my grudging vote only because the GOP are traitors and he is a nice, intelligent but really lame-ass President who does do a few things here and there but never the things we need done most.

    May 14, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Bo

      Just remember, when you cast your vote for this man, you are without excuse, you are just as guilty as he is of the wrongs he does in office.

      May 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
    • Derek

      I think the problem is that as President, there is only so much you can do. The President is the Commander in Chief of the American Armed Forces. He has checks and balances with the Legislative Branch of veto power. So he can sign or veto laws. He can nominate Justices to the Supreme Court. If you are upset that laws aren't being passed ... you are being unrealistic. The President can't snap his fingers and pass a law. That would be a dictatorship, unless you support that style of Government.

      If you are upset about laws not being passed, blame Congress who refuse to work with each other. I am never ceased to be amazed at the ignorance to how our Government functions. Of course, the Media plays a big part in that as well, furthering the lie that the President somehow is responsible for everything in the country, simply because of the lack of intelligence from their viewers on the roles and responsibilities of those in Government.

      May 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.