STATEMENT: CAP Praises President Biden’s Executive Order Relaunching White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships

Washington, D.C. — Today, the White House announced that President Joe Biden will sign an executive order that establishes a new White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and centers for these partnerships at federal agencies. The order will relaunch an initiative that was started by President George W. Bush, continued by President Barack Obama, and gutted by President Donald Trump. In response, Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president of External Affairs at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement:

The Biden administration’s partnerships with religious and other community groups will be critical to its work addressing the interlocking crises of the coronavirus pandemic, economic hardship, systemic racism, and climate change. After four years of using religion to divide Americans, this executive order makes clear that the White House will return to its role engaging with religious Americans, among other communities, for the purpose of serving the common good.

The action affirms that the White House’s Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships has a triple mandate, as described in CAP’s recent recommendations for the Biden transition team: The office must lead the administration’s agenda in support of religious liberty, facilitate the administration’s partnerships with religious and other community organizations, and coordinate these efforts with the White House’s public engagement.

Melissa Rogers, who served as special assistant to then-President Obama and as executive director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships from 2013 to 2017, will again lead the office as its executive director. She will also serve in the newly created role as White House senior director for faith and public policy.

Maggie Siddiqi, senior director of the Faith and Progressive Policy Initiative at CAP, issued the following statement:

This shows the Biden-Harris administration’s strong commitment to forging strong relationships with religious and other community organizations in order to advance the common good. The creation of the new role of White House Senior Director for Faith and Public Policy also shows the administration’s commitment to the protection of the First Amendment right to religious liberty and the separation of church and state. Melissa Rogers is an ardent champion for these rights and principles and we look forward to working to with her.

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