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. Ann Frantti

    A Faith-Outreach Director? Churches do not pay taxes..therefore, opinions should not be considered. This election is quickly becoming a two-faced joke.!

    May 15, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  2. NPRJim

    "director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships,"...So much for seperation of chuch and state. I didn't know the WH had a religious based Faith Office. I wonder what denomination this guy is. Just another waste of our tax dollars at work.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

    What could Obama possibly do or say to give him an edge among true Christians? After his announcement last week, he has thrown many of Christians under the bus. I dare not even mentioned what he has done with regards to freedom of religion. If you believe as he does, you are in. Everyone else, hit the road.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • sam

      None of you fools can even decide what a 'real christian' is, anyway. So it doesn't matter.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm |
    • LOL

      Under the bus is a good place for bigots.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Modvoice

      Whether you like the president or not, he needs our prayer. We know as Christians we will be rediculed, scorned and challenged on our beliefs, and this is difficult to stand up to. The President surrounded himself with people who do not understand the Gospel and confuse lust of the flesh with love. Unfortunately, he caved in to these pressures. I do not know the President's heart so I will not call him an atheist, although the evidence in increasing that he is just that. I am not sure who I will vote for at this point. I will say that the President has been a disappointment and has blown an opportunity to truely be a great President who happens to be the first black one and not just the first black President.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      If your religion can't stand up to ridicule, you must have a pretty weak faith. I like it better this way. Religion at a point where it has to pander in order to get people to go to church is much better than when it had uncontrolled power and was making an offer we couldn't refuse.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • mms55

      you watch to much fox.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Primewonk

      @ Modvoice – You folks are ridiculed when you purposefully choose to be ignorant, and then go onto message boards and demonstrate that ignorance. When you choose to wear that ignorance as a badge of honor, how can you expect folks to respect you.

      You criticize the President because he supports the constîtution – and you wonder why we hold you in contempt?

      You said that the evidence is that Obama is an atheist. And you seriously question why we mock you? Obama is a Christian, but that shouldn't matter at all. You and the other fundiots seem to want to turn us into a theocracy. Sorry – but it's not going to happen.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Modvoice

      Primewonk – you just said absolutely nothing with supporting evidence, just a bunch of insults...typical of a psuedo-intellectual wanna-be...prove me wrong and say something of substance. I did not say that Obama is an atheist, just that evidence was mounting supporting such a claim...such as his buddy-buddy relationship with Bill Myer et al....who have started an organization known a the reason project whose mission is to destroy all faith. They go so far as to say that no one of faith should even serve in leadership in the country. Now being Myer gave him a million and does not think anyone of faith should serve in leadership...he must believe Obama does not believe in God. Add to that his ignoring the command of Christ to resist the flesh and that marriage is between a man and a woman....and then turn around and saying it is OK...well the evidence is adding up quick.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  4. 4 trillion

    The bible has great meaningful stories about love, compassion, and the life of Jesus.....but let's not forget that it was written 300-400 years after Jesus and ALL of his disciples died, so let's keep it in context.....If you were going to write about your 7th great grandfather, how accurate would your account be?

    May 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Nobama

      How accurate? That would depend entirely on who my great, great, whatever grandfather was. In my case he was a Kenyan Luo tribal chief who soaked Christian missionaries with carrots and lisebebe (sort of a leafy turnip thing).

      Dinner's served!

      May 15, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Modvoice

      Not 300-400 years...who told you that? It was more like 70-110 for the big four. Matt,Mark,Luke and John. Please do not believe everything you read. The Treaty of Nicea was not even 400 years.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • Anita Allen

      The entire Bible is inspired by God who is very real and alive. It's just as relevant and true today as it was 2000 years ago.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      The gospels were written quite a few decades after the events. The Bible as we know it today was compiled during the reign of Constantine in the 4th century. They picked and chose what they wanted in the Bible. How can you trust it?

      May 15, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Madtown

      The entire Bible is inspired by God
      Says who? Oh, that's right.......the same people who wrote it. Very convincing.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  5. Tim Rigney

    Well GOLL-ly he's a-gone n' found JEE-sus!? A'll be votin' for 'im right quick now.

    (I'm actually planning to vote for him, but please remember to not gulp the Kool-Aide ALL at once. SAVOR it! . . .SIP it SLOWLY.) 😉

    May 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
  6. The Obama Christian Church Worldwide

    The New American Bible says in John 3:16 "Barack Obama so loved America that he became president" and that is good scripture. We need to read the good gospels of Obama. If we worship and praise president Obama, we shall enter the kingdom of Obama which is the White House on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. in Washington, D.C. 20016 and that will be the new heavenly home for the christians. We thank you for your service!

    May 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Awwww... Another ignorant, fundiot, môronic, lying, talibangel;ical tea bagger, who is still pîssed the smart, well educated black man won the election.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  7. The Obama Christian Church Worldwide

    Our good christian president Obama is doing a good job for America and he needs to get another four-year term. Many people soon consider him to be God in the district and that is good for our social-economic wellbeing. We want to thank you for your service! If you have any questions, please call us at 240–683-5555 for details on how to support the good Obama Christian Campaign.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
    • Primewonk

      Ignorant troll is ignorant.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  8. hmmmmm

    beast out of the land, beast out of the sea? could it be?

    May 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Primewonk

      What the hell are you babbling about?

      May 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • hmmmmm

      thats okay, not everyone has read the bible.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  9. GodPot

    "Most of the hate and name calling on these post come from pro gay individuals"

    Um, wrong. And most of the voices you consider "pro-gay" are really just anti-discrimination voices but you can't tell the difference because you are to busy screaming your vile hatefilled false message of heII and eternal torment.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Nobama

      "message of heII and eternal torment."

      Four more years! Four more years!!

      May 15, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • Nojesus

      four more centuries!!, four more centuries!!, and then maybe you will see that I aint coming...

      May 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Nobama

      And don't forget, I'm pro-gay. I mean, anti-discriminatory.

      But I'm in the process of reaching out to the church, so I might have to change all that, or at least part of it. I'll have to count how many gay men vrs. gay women voters there are, then maybe I'll make a political sacrifice of one over the other. I'll probably stick with guys, they vote more often. Everyone likes lesbians anyway so they're less likely to be offended if we don't allow them to marry.

      Everyone's always mad at me and I don't understand why. This job sucks.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  10. PJ

    People of faith know that Obama has the heart of God in that he wants to help the needy and the marginalized. Everyone should have access to healthcare and every should be treated equally in society.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • anti obama

      Obutthead doesn't know the first thing about having a heart after God... His god is liberalism, self, and now perversion... What a crock that Oblabermouth would even attempt to go after the Church is preposterous... All Christians unite against this anti-Christ....

      May 15, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • 4 trillion

      Romney fits well with these right wing bloggers, bullies gays, and does everything he can to not serve in the military,,,,,bullies and cowards..................fits right in with today's GOP......go for it............

      May 15, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  11. Nobama

    Cowardly pus.sies hide their racism and hate behind silly monikers like "Nobama" and think they are clever.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Rick

      You're saying this about yourself? You sound like a confused child. Look at your post again.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Nobama

      Why is seeing oneself for what you really are and admitting it in any way childish? It's obvious from all my posts that I am an ignorant, selfish racist who prefers to hide under a silly pun name than have any real discussions worth debating.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Rick

      Self-disclosure is a wonderful thing. At least you'll save money on therapy. Good for you.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  12. marisombra

    What a hypocrite!

    May 15, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Steve

      You can only be talking about Romney!!

      May 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  13. vodknockers

    anything to DISTRACT FROM
    Operation Fast & Furious
    Obamacare (now costing TWICE AS MUCH)
    $5 TRILLION in DEBT. (More than all Presidents' first term COMBINED!)
    $500 Billion CUT from Medicare
    Failures of Solyndra, NextEra, Light Squared, Ener1, Solar Trust and others
    Failure to enforce Federal immigration laws
    Failure to approve Trans-Canada Keystone Pipeline
    Failure to accept reforms from Simpson-Bowels (his own commission)
    8.1% unemployment (14.5% U-6 Real Unemployment)
    Skirting Congress with unelected 'czars' to protect his donors
    Skirts Congress by eliminating previously frozen Palestinian assets.
    America's Credit Downgrade causes OUR investments to tank
    30% loss in value of OUR homes
    20 years of Rev. Wright's racism
    Bailing out GM & Chrysler unions' pensions with OUR TAXES
    Highest Food Stamp usage in history
    Welfare UP 41% since inaugural
    Out-of-control NLRB giving unions more power so their donations grow
    Suing AZ, Al, SC, Boeing and Apple while ignoring the NB Panthers
    $800B for 'shovel-ready' Stimulus jobs that produced NO JOBS
    Dept.. of Energy under contempt of court and over 100 investigations
    N0 Energy Policy...Oil, Natural Gas & Coal production anemic
    N0 Foreign Policy other than alienate and isolate our Allies (Israel)
    Apologizing to Muslims and enemies of the USA
    Acorn / Union cronyism paybacks with OUR Taxes
    1200 0bamaCare waivers to Democrat donators

    WE want answers, not rhetoric.
    N0BAMA 2012

    May 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Steve

      Your very first item shows that you are just another Conservative that ignores facts. F&F started in 2004. What party was in charge of the Presidency and both houses of Congress?

      May 15, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
    • Nobama

      Do you have a problem with my bending over at the waist of the Saudi king? You know I could have gone down on one knee or even kissed him like that pansy Bush. You never had a problem with Bush's kissy-facing the king, but I can't bow to him? Isn't that a double standard?

      And no, I don't like covering my heart during the national anthem because the song is too long and it's a pain to hold my arm up for that long.

      Otherwise you list is pretty spot-on. Don't forget that I'm threatening to withhold water access approvals from certain liberal-resistant western states until they cede the water rights to the federal government (that'd be me, heh heh...) Screw the SCOTUS, I'm the POTUS!

      May 15, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      love Obamacare, want to see completely socialized medicine, but we're going in the right direction.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • GodPot

      So if I threw you a severed head and you caught it, could I then ask you why you cut off that persons head? I mean, the head is right there in your hands you sick murderer!!

      May 15, 2012 at 2:03 pm |
    • Decapitatin' Nobama

      Dearest GodPot – Only a Muslim would come up with that analogy. You're a person after my own heart.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • GodPot

      I am not a muslim, I am an atheist. Christians and muslims are two sides of the same coin. I just felt that the "driving the car off a cliff while changing drivers" analogy has been overused and lost it's meaning.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  14. Rob

    Must be an election coming, he's Christian again!

    May 15, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      yeah, i think he's a closeted atheist. has to pander to the religious because saying you're an atheist is a campaign killer. so he has to pretend to be a good cult member.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Prostrating Nobama

      Time to roll up the prayer rug for awhile. I'll keep the mp3 of the morning call to prayer though – it is, after all, the most beautiful thing I've ever heard.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • Steve

      It is a Conservative position that facts do not matter in their comments. Obama has consistently talked about his religious beliefs. Is uppose Conservatives don't believe him becasue they always lie about their religious beliefs and think that is what Liberals also do.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  15. Bootyfunk

    he's being hired for religious damage control. trying to calm the ignorant sheep. big deal.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Steve

      Nothing to control. There is a need to educate on the separation of church and state. Freedom of Religion does not mean you can dictate that others belive like you.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i think you're not getting what i'm saying. no reason for dmg control with the religious after saying he's for g.ay marriage? ummm.... okay.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  16. Damian

    This is all a lot to do about nothing. THe media is completely exploiting this. Obama said he'd till leave the gay marriage issue up to the individula states. Nothing has chamged. Let's all move on to bigger and more presing topics.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  17. dubrats

    having more money than god....obama does'nt need to run on a great record,he just has to buy the job....and thats what he's doing.....pitiful.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      Obama rox! can't wait for a 2nd term.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • momoya

      Romney did the same thing.. Is it "pitiful" for him, too?

      May 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Duh

      No one could buy the whitehouse if it didn't have a price tag on it.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • rshafer0

      Why do people enjoy bad economies and policies? How the heck has Obama helped you? And the lawyer jokes are true in this case.

      Question: How can you tell that a lawyer(Obama) is lying? Answer: His lips are moving.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  18. Nobama

    It's getting too hot in the kitchen, so stick a fork in me, I'm done.

    My goose is cooked.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm |
    • Jimmy the Peanut Carter

      Yep, Barry, you're rotting on the vine alrighty.. I remember that rotten stench. I still stink like it no matter how many houses I build.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm |
  19. Reality

    Is this latest Whitehouse move some kind of joke?

    Putting the kibosh on all religions in less than 500 words:


    • There was probably no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.

    • There was probably no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.

    Adverb: Almost certainly; as far as one knows or can tell.

    • There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.

    • There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.

    • There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.

    • Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.

    • Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.

    Added details available upon written request.

    A quick search will put the kibosh on any other groups calling themselves a religion.

    e.g. Taoism

    "The origins of Taoism are unclear. Traditionally, Lao-tzu who lived in the sixth century is regarded as its founder. Its early philosophic foundations and its later beliefs and rituals are two completely different ways of life. Today (1982) Taoism claims 31,286,000 followers.

    Legend says that Lao-tzu was immaculately conceived by a shooting star; carried in his mother's womb for eighty-two years; and born a full grown wise old man. "

    May 15, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
    • Steve

      Why do Conservatives have to lie to make their case?

      May 15, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
  20. Dave

    Really? The party and President who claimed I was still bitterly clinging to my guns and religion now suddenly is trying to reach out to me? The party which is removing all references to God from every possible place now suddenly wants to "reach out" to me? Hypocrisy, thy name is Obama and the liberal agenda.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • GodPot

      Just an FYI, there is no liberal agenda, there is only the right side and wrong side of history, and you my friend have not chosen wisely. You, along with all of your ilk, will be remembered much like the slave owners of the past, as selfish, ignorant, arrogant and immoral, and will be denounced by your own grandchildren who are ashamed of their heritage.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
    • Nobama

      Sure I'm reaching out to you. Can't you feel my hand on your crotch? Now jump up and down and I'll make you feel better about being an American.

      Just get me elected and then you can kiss my Kenyan ass.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
    • momoya


      Fvck you.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
    • Santa Nobama

      All the good little radical elves in my liberal workshop are being laid-off due to a lack of public belief of my bullshít.

      Off to the unemployment line you go, GodPot.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Pimpin' Nobama

      @ momoya

      Let's get in the Cadillac, Mo, and you can offer your talent to the neighborhood.

      We'll start you off at $25 for a quickie.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Nobama

      It's just hard being a small scared white boy who was raised to believe that all blacks are ignorant apes, I just can't stand to think how we look to others with an elected son of Cain running our country, I mean the black skin is obviously from the devil. I mean, thats my only complaint really because everything else he has done since he took office was in lock step with Pres Bush on national defense, Gitmo, targeted assasinations, and he actualy killed the guy who attacked America, and pushed through the healthcare mandate which we republicans had devised back in 1994, the reissue of the patriot act, the money to bail out the banking system that Bush started in Oct 2008 with the first $800 billion salvo fired at our own wallets because the banks we republicans supported became to large to allow to fail... Oh well, enough of reality, I just want to get back to talking about how black the president is and how much I hate black people, you know, the important stuff...

      May 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • momoya

      About the comment I'd expect from a Republican.. I bet you're a "Christian" too–using that sort of language.

      May 15, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
    • Nobama

      Fakin' Nobama driveled on with "It's just hard.."

      Which just makes Fakin' Nobama an inept and cowardly pus sy.

      May 15, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
    • Nobama

      I wonder why no one ever stole your name, @ momoya. Could it be you never said anything that mattered?

      May 15, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • momoya

      Yeah, that's probably it, Nobama.. So, are you a repub christian with that mouth and illogic?

      May 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Nobama

      Why, are you lonely tonight?

      May 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • momoya

      Nope.. I've just lived around "Christians" and "right-wingers" to know their sort of azzhole bigoted opinions that you share.. You've proven yourself to be a dipsh!t fvckwad, so it just follows that you're also a bible thumper with barely two brain cells to rub together.

      May 15, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
    • Nobama

      Either that or I'm a centrist-agnostic Independent who's primarily concerned with liberty and economics. No? You think otherwise?

      Then just for you, Mo, I'm a Christian right-winger, azzhole, bigoted, dipsh!t-fvckwad, bible-thumper.

      Feel better? You see, Mo, I really am more concerned for your welfare and well-being than with my own ego. I am, however, meditating with my special crystals for the rapid development of your debating skill (or should I say the sacred last rites over it?)

      Ommmmmm Ommmmmmm

      May 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
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About this blog

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.