Since winning the election with strong support from conservative evangelical voters, President Trump has invited their leaders to the White House, and banned government funding for groups that support or perform abortions overseas.
But he has yet to move on one item that many of them care about.
No one has been named to direct the Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which, since 2001, has linked government with a broad range of religious groups.
Church-state expert Melissa Rogers will be the new director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
“I’m honored to be able to serve President Obama by forging and promoting a wide range of effective partnerships with faith-based and secular nonprofits that help people in need,” Rogers said in a statement on Wednesday. Rogers succeeds Joshua DuBois, who left the office in February after serving throughout President Obama’s first term.
Rogers is already well-acquainted with the office she will direct. She chaired the office’s first advisory council and spearheaded its work to reform the office. In 2010, President Obama signed an executive order reflecting recommendations from the council that called for greater transparency and clearer rules for religious groups that receive federal grants.
The White House announced today the appointment of Melissa Rogers as new director of its Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In a statement, former director Joshua DuBois called Rogers a "leader on religion and public life" and a "stalwart advocate for religious freedom." He added:
Melissa is also a committed Christian and lifelong Baptist. She is active in her local church – I know that Melissa has taught youth Bible study, she and her family volunteer with the church food pantry, and she takes care of infants in the church nursery – and she truly cherishes the role of people of all faiths and belief in American public life.
Sojourners president and CEO Jim Wallis released the following statement:
I’m privileged to know Melissa Rogers as both a valued colleague and a friend. Over the course of her career she has distinguished herself by her ability to thoughtfully and knowledgeably bring her faith and her understanding of the law to bear on important questions of public policy. Her genuine spirit and concern for others has earned her the trust of people on different sides of issues. Her deep competence on legal and policy matters will be very helpful in her new role. She will serve both the White House, the country, and the faith community well in this new position. I can't think of anyone who would have been a better choice for this key job at this critical time. Melissa is widely respected and trusted in the faith community, and many of us will support and assist her in any ways we can. Good choice, Mr. President!