Revealed: President Obama’s Daily Email Devotionals

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Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune / MCT via Getty Images

Joshua DuBois, center, and Eboo Patel, right, the Pentecostal and Muslim leaders for President Barack Obama's faith-based initiative, tour Gads Hill Center, with Director of Youth & Community Services Barbara De La Casa, far left, and Teen Connection Coordinator Christina Rodriguez, in Pilsen, Illinois.

Joshua Dubois has emailed short Christian reflections to Barack Obama every day for more than five years. He started one morning during the 2008 presidential campaign when he worked for then-Senator Obama and kept up the ritual after Obama named him director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships in 2009. Now Dubois, who has left the administration, is publishing 365 of these daily devotionals in a new book, The President’s Devotional. “I’ve obviously been writing these devotionals for the president for years with the focus of helping him think about how to have peace in tough times and get closer to God and live a life of purpose and joy even when he’s got a lot of pressures,” Dubois says.

Each one of the daily devotionals includes a Bible passage and a short prayer. Some include broader cultural references, and the goal is to provide daily inspiration toward “living lives of joy and peace,” Dubois says. The book also includes Dubois’ reflections on his own relationship with the President and the mentorship Obama provided him. “The president is a Christian, a committed Christian, and so am I,” Dubois explains. “The purpose was to help him grow closer to God and cultivate his relationship with Christ.”

Dubois, a Pentecostal preacher, first came to public attention in 2008 when Obama chose him to head the Faith Office at the young age of 26. He was responsible for the Inaugural Prayer Service, and started the tradition of the White House Eastern Prayer Breakfast. Dubois was also the prominent advocate of Rick Warren’s giving the invocation at President Obama’s first inauguration, as well as of evangelical pastor Louie Giglio’s giving the benediction at Obama’s second inauguration. Giglio had to withdraw from the inaugural ceremony after an old anti-gay sermon of his resurfaced, and the White House replaced him with a pastor who supports gay rights.

Dubois left the White House shortly after the Giglio controversy and now runs a small faith-based consulting group called Values Partnerships. The group recently has spent much of its time promoting The President’s Devotional, and it also has been working on initiatives to promote fatherhood. Dubois still bills himself as the president’s spiritual advisor—he still sends the president a daily devotional email—and notes that TIME named him Obama’s “Pastor-in-Chief” in 2008. (That phrase was the headline of this two-minute biographical brief from the 2008 campaign.)

Sending the president a daily Christian reflection is not part of the White House Faith-Based director’s job description, and the devotional is already receiving pushback. “It seems quite inappropriate for the faith-based director to be composing prayers and Bible lessons on the government dime,” Maggie Garrett, legislative director for Americans United, says. “And it is especially true when there was really important work to be done, such as reforming the faith-based initiative rules.”

But spirituality is big business in America, and that type of criticism does not concern Dubois. He says he had the idea for the book about six months before he left the White House, but the actual compiling started after he left. He explains that while he did spend about an hour to an hour and a half every day writing the emails while he worked in the White House, he always did so on his own time. “I definitely did it before work or on the weekends and stuff like that,” he explains, clarifying that he usually sent them from his personal and not White House email address.

The daily devotional has been something the president wanted. “He has obviously talked a lot about how the devotionals are meaningful to him,” Dubois says. Jon Faverau, former Obama speechwriter, says that the reflections were a grounding force. “When you are president, and you are inside the bubble, and most of your day is spent in meetings and with briefing books, it is always good to have something come from outside that little world of the bubble to inspire you and motivate you,” Favreau explains. “I think two main things accomplished that for the president: one was the 10 letters he received every night from Americans, which has been widely reported, and the other was the devotional that Joshua sent in the morning.”

Dubois hopes that if the President could find daily encouragement in his reflections, so too can the general public. The messages, after all, are not policy-specific. Here’s the prayer for October 22, the day the book hits shelves: “Dear God, let me run toward, rather than away from, correction. Reduce my pride, increase my humility, and help me be malleable to good advice. Amen.”

39 comments
AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

DuBois devotional messages to Obama haven't made him change his original bias against Christianity.  Josh Leiderman has correctly said in the Huffington Pos:; "Obama and his family rarely attend church, and he almost never elaborates in public about his own relationship to his Christian faith." But he has no qualms about his partiality forIslam. Let me quote some of his words:
“The future must not belong to those who slander the Prophet of Islam” (It’s a warning to Christian West).
“The sweetest sound I know is the Muslim call to prayer” (Islamists regard this as a call for attack).
I look forward to hosting an Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan here at the White House later this week, and wish you a blessed month.” (Will he say like this for Christmas?)

“We will convey our deep appreciation for the Islamic faith, which has done so much over the centuries to shape the world — including in my own country.”(Shaping the world by its ideology of terrorism and violence that we are witnessing all over the world today).
“As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.” ( Muslims flock Christian Europe – to learn European science, technology and medicine)
“Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance.” (Right from its very birth, Islam has been intolerant and oppressive. Jews and Christians were either murdered or forcibly expelled from Mecca and Medina even during Mohammed’s time, although they were promised that they would be allowed to stay).

AbrahamYeshuratnam
AbrahamYeshuratnam

Joshua Dubois has not succeeded in changing Obama's pro-Islamic and anti- Christian views. Obama has twisted the geopolitical situation at the time of Exodus and he applies it for today's situation to give a perverted notion of the Bible. Obama says, “Which passages of scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is OK and that eating shellfish is an abomination? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith?”

“Even those who claim the Bible’s inerrancy make distinctions between Scriptural edicts, sensing that some passages – the Ten Commandments, say, or a belief in Christ’s divinity – are central to Christian faith, while others are more culturally specific and may be modified to accommodate modern life.” Modification is to bury Biblical ideas - Obama's support for gay and lesbian marriage, abortion even after advanced pregnancy etc.,Obama attending church may be for political support. But his views are complete distortion of traditional beliefs.

GodsSlave
GodsSlave

Actually the minority of true Christians should not complain about the degradation of presidents since Reagan. God allows these types of leaders and we might as well consider this a judgement on this nation and stop complaining and examine ourselves to see how we stack up to Biblical Christianity. We are not spending this brief vapor of life on this earth for our benefit. All mankind is commanded to repent and believe the Gospel or good news of the Bible. Our purpose is to serve, obey and worship God and not to worship ourselves. According to Scripture "few find the way of eternal life." Perhaps one reason this is true is because very few true Christians obey God's command to share the Gospel with the unbeliever. Also, we must accept the fact that the USA has fallen out of favor with God due to its immorality and laws that promote sin. We can expect more and more judgements from God on this country and the world. 100 years from now all mankind will know their error.
 Oh, i do not respond to comments of ignorance with gross language since that fits your character.

alzach01
alzach01

My vote (in 2008 and in 2012)  for Obama  was cast not because he was a Muslim or because he was not a Muslim, but simply because the alternatives (McCain and Romney) did not come up to my standards for White House candidates. I would prefer that as a president, Obama would not waste any time at all in prayer, but if he does pray, it does not make any difference to me whether he prays to Jesus or to Allah or to Zeus or to  Woden. 

Arimathean
Arimathean

“It seems quite inappropriate for the faith-based director to be composing prayers and Bible lessons on the government dime.”


Uh... wait.  I think that actually rather fits his job description.

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

Whatever Obama might be, he is not a Christian. Like so many politicians he attaches himself to the good name of Jesus Christ in order to advance his evil agenda.

RobertJohnson4
RobertJohnson4

Almost all politicians love the Bible because it is so ambiguous they can say it means whatever they want it to mean. Also, politicians love Bible teachings that say to pay your taxes and obey whatever "the powers that be" order you to do (Romans 13:1-7). I'm glad America's founders didn't follow that Bible teaching, otherwise they never would have started the American Revolution.

The American founder and Deist Thomas Paine was right when he wrote that we need a revolution in religion based on our innate God-given reason and Deism.

Progress! Bob Johnson

www.deism.com  

Openminded1
Openminded1

Eboo Patel is Obama's spiritual guidance, Dubois is just a cover pastor to his real faith in the Muslim world. Patel has spent more time with Obama then Dubious  Dubois.

MarkRoman18
MarkRoman18

It is comforting to know that President Obama has taken  Joshua Dubois' spiritual guidance, and brought the people of America together. 

MementoMori
MementoMori

@mary.waterton

 Judge not, that ye be not judged.

For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. 

And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?

Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye

Matthew 7

TyPollard
TyPollard

@mary.waterton

As the arbiter of what is evil, is Miley Cyrus evil or just over exposed...and is that Obama's doing?

Thank you.

GodsSlave
GodsSlave

@RobertJohnson4 Correction, Thomas Paine was not "the" American founder but just one of many. Most, but not all, of our founding fathers' writings showed they understood the Scripture.

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

@RobertJohnson4  

Tomas Paine was an avowed atheist (not a deist) and was only 1 of about 400 men who participated in the writing of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, their ratification, and the establish of a working government:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_delegates_to_the_Continental_Congress

Most of the participants were Christian and a large number of them pastors. Only meager handful were atheists, like Paine.

The founding of our country was the Age of Reason during which the majority ruled. Today we live in the Age of Ignorance and the minority rules.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Openminded1 

Sometimes you make yourself sound like such a dumb shiat with the irrational 'Obama the Muslim'.

I guess there's a limit to individual thinking.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MarkRoman18 You are easy to fool, Joshua is in it for retirement money, and Obama is a Muslim, fooling all the bleeding heart liberals .

GodsSlave
GodsSlave

@MementoMori @mary.waterton  There is a saying about quoting judgement Scripture. That is to quit twisting Scripture. A true Christian is known by his or her fruits or actions. If Obama was a Christian he would not be OK with Sodomy.

GodsSlave
GodsSlave

@jsfox @mary.waterton What is your definition of Christian and how does that stack up to God's definition of a Christian (believer.)

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MrObvious @Openminded1 O sometimes you are a pompous ass, but i do not hold that against you. You like Obama , i do not. I know he is a muslim, you do not  buy that,  Ok, even pompous ass's can be wrong. I done a lot of research on the subject of Obama being a muslim. Logic and family data points in that direction, far more then the opposite. there is nothing irrational about it. you are basing your assumption on his word alone. You are a reasonable intelligent man. Do you think he would admit to being a muslim? If had e would not be in the Oval office today. He is a smart  very calculating man 

barneydidit
barneydidit

@Openminded1 @MarkRoman18 Yeah because he acts just like a Muslim- you see him doing his prayers 5 times a day, which is required....and you see him force his wife and daughters to keep covered up, again, required if one is following the Muslim faith, he always looks extra skinny during Ramadan because he fasts, again...required, and how many pilgrimages to Mecca has he taken now?

If one doesn't follow the 5 pillars of Islam Openminded, it's kind of hard to be a Muslim. Ask Glenn Beck to explain that contradiction please, I'd love to know what he says. 

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MementoMori @Openminded1 He received the message mori, Commas were not needed. This is not a college thesis, or book report. it is a simple post. not here to impress with proper punctuation .

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MrObvious @Openminded1 No its not O, what may have been logical in the 14th century may not be logical in today's world. You saying that is profoundly stupid. you live in this philosophic world which maybe nice to you but is not  always correct. logical principal or not. It may not be appropriate for todays world.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@MrObvious @Openminded1 Your Occams razor is does not apply in this day and age, you love philosophy ,that does not make it true because you like the quote and believe in the the philosophy. Philosophy is not always fact, and in this case that holes true. I have more facts that are far more believable . His family history alone is more then just a 14th century philosophers opinion.

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Openminded1 @MrObvious

 Occams razor for god sakes O that dates back to the 14th century and a philosophical theory .

And?

Is there something special with whatever 'logic' you say you apply that voids the idea that simple explanations are more applicable then very complex ones?

If so you got yourself a stupid argument.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@harte.ryan @Openminded1 @MrObvious because you are stupid, I am black moron, and muslims dummy are not all black. Mr o and I have interfaced many times via this site, so we know a little bit about each others opinions reference to this subject. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

@Openminded1 @MrObvious

Sorry, but whether or not I'm a pompous arse is irrelevant. It won't change your ignorant and irrational ideas about Obama dah moslem.

And what you believe about someones religious preference is not a matter of 'logic'.

you are basing your assumption on his word alone

No. Not at all.

I base it on occams razor. That's logic. 

jmac
jmac

@Openminded1 @barneydidit @MarkRoman18 ". . . Obama is a Muslim, fooling all the bleeding heart liberals"

So what if he's a Muslim?  I don't think he is, but if he were, so what?  That's what openmindedness is suppose to be, Mr. Openminded1 who certainly isn't.  

jason024
jason024

@Openminded1 @barneydidit @MarkRoman18 Look your conspiracy has gone well beyond common sense.  You have quickly delved into a conspiracy theory that is no better than the Holocaust deniers or 9/11 conspiracy theorists. "We don't know what goes on" is a classic one.  The absence of proof that he practices is proof...

Let alone the MASSIVE cover up that has to be involved by all of the people who work in the WH and traveled through the WH (not everyone associated with the WH is necessarily a  Obama supporter).  As a libertarian, you would argue the government can't do anything right......yet in this instance the government can do something right in covering it up? Not even a single inside source? Especially in this political environment?

Go Figure

Openminded1
Openminded1

@barneydidit @Openminded1 @MarkRoman18 Ps I am no glenn beck fan barney. I am not a Obama fan either as you know. I know the attributes of Barry o, I also know his con game that he plays ever so well. we differ on that, i will not be swayed on that opinion based on more research on his background then you care to check on.

Openminded1
Openminded1

@barneydidit @Openminded1 @MarkRoman18 barney do not be like your avatar, a jack ass, he can not be open about being a muslim. and how do you know what he does in the white house private area with Michelle? There are a lot of jews out there too who do not observe the orthodox ways. You argument would be ok if he were not in the Oval office.