John J. DiIulio Jr.

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John J. DiIulio Jr. was appointed in January 2001 by President George W. Bush to head the newly created White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives. He resigned in August 2001.

On January 30, 2001, it was announced that President Bush had created the White House office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives "to give religious groups a role in the delivery of government social services, and ordered agencies to figure out ways to work with such groups." Bush appointed "University of Pennsylvania Professor Iulio to head the new office and named former Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith his advisor on faith-based issues. Bush also appointed Goldsmith to the board that controls the Corporation for National and Community Service, the agency that oversees the AmeriCorps program."[1]


In January 2001, DiIulio was described in the Jewish Daily Forward as a "Democrat and a Catholic [and] has written widely on issues of social welfare and is a contributor to the conservative Jewish monthly magazine Commentary."[2]

In the contributors' profiles for a May 2001 Hoover Institution publication, DiIulio was described as a "senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He directs the Jeremiah Project, an initiative of the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Civic Innovation. He is also Frederick Fox Leadership Professor at the University of Pennsylvania and senior counsel to Public/Private Ventures."[3]



Robert Novak wrote[4] in August 2001 that the "overwrought reaction to last week's resignation of John DiIulio, the Democratic social scientist in charge of President Bush's faith-based initiative, is usually evoked only when a presidential aide departs in disgrace. Actually, DiIulio's problem was not his performance but the liberal establishment's hostility to the program he tried to run.

"From the moment the University of Pennsylvania professor entered the White House, his imminent departure was predicted. When he quit after only six months, the event was interpreted as proof of the Republican president's inability to reach beyond the country club. Liberal clergyman Barry Lynn, adamantly opposed to the initiative, claimed the White House had sold out to 'the Religious Right.' In fact, DiIulio was resigning mainly because of health problems that are more serious than is publicly acknowledged."

Despite Novak's attempt to put a White House spin on DiIulio's departure, it soon became apparent that the idealistic DiIulio was appalled by the calculation and cynicism of Bush's and Rove's domestic policy operation, as revealed by Ron Suskind in the January 2003 issue of Esquire.[5] This article, written with DiIulio's full cooperation, contained DiIulio's most famous saying. "It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis". Shortly after the article appeared, DiIulio issued an "apology".

Marvin Olasky wrote[6] August 24, 2001, for that "Washington was buzzing this week about the resignation of John J. DiIulio, director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. A smart and funny University of Pennsylvania professor, DiIulio (according to an Aug. 20 Washington Post editorial mourning his departure) 'presented his faith-based initiative as if it were a Gore-style reinventing-government program.' That did not thrill many conservatives."

Resources and articles

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Jason Peckenpaugh, "Bush creates faith-based agency centers,", January 30, 2001.
  2. This Jewish Daily Forward link is no longer active; it cannot be found in the WaybackMachine.
  3. Contributors, Hoover Press/Stanford University, May 2001.
  4. "Bush, DiIulio and a faith-based, cultural war," Ashland (Oregon) Daily Tidings, August 24, 2001.
  5. Ron Suskind, "Why are these men laughing?" Esquire/truthout, January 1, 2003.
  6. Marvin Olasky, "A merciful resignation,", August 21, 2001.

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