Joshua DuBois, author of “The President’s Devotional,” is a close confidant of President Barack Obama and a former White House staffer, but that doesn’t mean he agrees with all of the administration’s plans and proposals.
Among the more fascinating focal points of TheBlaze’s recent interview with DuBois was an admission about one key area in which he once staunchly disagreed with Obama: religious liberty and Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate.
DuBois’ Major Disagreement With President Obama
In his devotional book, DuBois, who has been dubbed the president’s “pastor-in-chief,” called Obama’s initial decision not to exempt religious groups from the requirement that they offer birth control “a historic breach of relationship with the church, much bigger than this particular issue.”
“One of the essays that I think was toughest for me to write — but I think was very important for me to talk about — was disagreement on the religious liberties issue,” DuBois told TheBlaze in expounding on the idea in his book. “That was a moment that I had to really grow. I think the initial place that the administration announced didn’t strike the right balance between religious liberty and the rights of women.”
This admission is particularly fascinating, considering that DuBois was the head of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the time. While he advocated hard on the side of religious liberty, he described the ensuing internal debate as frustrating and a “tough moment” to be working for the administration.
“I very quickly started demonizing my opponents — questioning their motivations rather than seeing them as people who (God loves),” he told TheBlaze. “I really had to grow and learn to disagree without being disagreeable.”
Eventually, he said, the administration came to a stance that he believes balances women’s health and religious liberty concerns. But it wasn’t an easy road getting there, DuBois said. Being an employee, a friend and a confidant of Obama’s certainly complicated that dynamic.
The Book’s Central Themes
While some of the personal stories that precede each month’s devotions contain content that some might see as partisan or at least favorable to the president, the 365 Christian entries widely ignore political themes and are relatable to any Bible-believing Christian.
But it wasn’t easy getting to that point.
DuBois had to sift through the 1,500 daily entries he has emailed to the president over the past few years to find elements that would be relatable and beneficial to all readers.
“There were three basic things that I tried to underscore in the devotional — grounding (Obama) in the knowledge of God’s love for us. There’s something about us knowing this God has a tangible and meaningful love for every individual,” DuBois told TheBlaze, going on to say that this helps make life’s many challenges more manageable.
In addition to including the president devotionals that highlight God’s compassion, DuBois said he also wanted to instill advice about how to love others — especially one’s enemies. That’s especially relevant considering his own battle over the contraceptive mandate and the general struggles people have with confronting ideological opponents.
“Third was courage and boldness,” he added. “Thinking through what messages that would encourage the president to step out there and do big things (and) realize God will reward his courage. That’s something that aligns for other people as well.”
And Obama agrees. DuBois said “The President’s Devotional” has Obama’s seal of approval.
“He thought it was a great idea. He thought if (the devotions) were useful to him, they might be useful to other people as well,” he said.
DuBois is well aware of the fact that some question the president’s faith, but he doesn’t believe the critiques are warranted and he responded to those who regularly wage them. Mainly, he argued that people who do not know the president personally cannot truly know what is in his heart.
“I think there’s a practical response and a spiritual one. I actually do think that President Obama has talked about his faith a fair amount,” DuBois said. “I believe in Romans 10:9 … I happen to know the president personally and know his heart and know he’s a believer. Outside of that I’d have no ability to speak about what’s in his heart.”
That scripture reads: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
Featured image source/credit: @JosuhaDuBois on Twitter/Getty