26-Year Old to Head Obama's Faith Office

ABC News' Teddy Davis Reports:

Josh Dubois, the 26 year-old who ran religious outreach for Barack Obama's 2008 campaign, has been tapped by the new president to head the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a White House aide tells ABC News.

Dubois, who previously worked as an associate pastor for a small Pentecostal church in Massachusetts, was drawn to Obama in 2004 when he heard the future president tell the Democratic National Convention that, "We worship an awesome God in the Blue States."

After hearing that line, DuBois tried to work on Obama's US Senate campaign but was rejected. Following Obama's election to the U.S. Senate from Illinois, DuBois kept pushing for a job and got hired as a Senate aide.

Part of his job was focused on building relationships with religious leaders, especially evangelical Christians who were dissatisfied with the GOP's approach to economic justice, the use of force, and environmental protection.

The progressive religious community, which has worked closely with DuBois, learned about the pick a few days ago. Initially, the president's staff was declining to comment but the White House is now confirming the selection.

One key question DuBois will have to help Obama address is whether the new administration should rescind a legal memorandum from the Bush administration which allows religious organizations that receive public funds to hire only those who share their faith.

During his presidential run, Obama said that those receiving government funds should not proselytize the people they help nor should they discriminate in hiring practices on the basis of religion.

Where there are state or local laws prohibiting hiring decisions from being made on the basis of sexual orientation, Obama has said he would support those laws being applied to the federally funded portion of the faith-based programs. 

DuBois, whose stepfather is a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, has lived in several places including Maine, where he was born, Massachusetts, where he spent his first few years, Tennessee, which he considers his home, and Ohio, where he attended high school.

He earned his bachelor's degree from Boston University and his master's degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He was enrolled in law school at Georgetown University's Law Center when he left to work for Obama in his Senate office.

As detailed in a Boston Globe profile of DuBois which ran this past summer, his social and religious activism was sparked as a 17-year old freshman at BU when a New York jury acquitted four police officers whose 41 bullets had killed an unarmed immigrant named Amadou Diallo.

DuBois wrote "NO MORE" on a placard and stood in front of a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr., in Massachusetts, for 41 hours to draw attention to the 41 shots which were fired.

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