Melissa Rogers named to top White House religious outreach job
March 13th, 2013
01:30 PM ET

Melissa Rogers named to top White House religious outreach job

By Dan Merica and Adam Aigner-Treworgy, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The White House announced on Wednesday that President Barack Obama has named Melissa Rogers, a religious academic, to the highest religious outreach job in the White House.

Rogers, who worked with the Obama administration during the planning of his first inauguration in 2009, will become Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, a job that includes working with outside religious groups and acting as the top White House official on religious issues.

The job was left vacant when Joshua DuBois stepped down in January after over four years in the position.

In a press release about Rogers, DuBois called her an "excellent and truly visionary choice to lead the White House faith-based office."

“There is no better person to lead the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and bring the federal government into deeper, effective and constitutional partnership with faith-based and other nonprofit groups around the country,” DuBois wrote.

In an opinion editorial for the Belief Blog, DuBois wrote that the job allowed him to meet people "who care first about God, and second about their neighbors, and seek to live this care out into the world."

Rogers steps into a White House that is dealing with a number of faith issues primarily how to handle the policy of insisting health insurance plans provide contraceptive coverage over the objections of groups like the Catholic Church and Christian leaders. The issue persisted throughout Obama’s first term in office and will likely continue into his second.

In addition, different faith groups have been pushing the White House on issues of religious freedom, gun control and immigration.

Before coming to the White House, Rogers served as the director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School and a senior fellow at the Brooking Institute.

She is a lifelong Baptist and served as general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

In addition serving as the head of faith-outreach at the White House, Rogers was also named a special assistant to the president.

Politico was the first to report Rogers appointment.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Baptist • Belief • Politics

soundoff (251 Responses)
  1. Over 40,000 denominations of insanity

    Some believe that celibacy is appropriate for certain people, or for certain positions. It's ridiculous. Celibacy is unnatural and will continue to cause problems for the religious institutions that employ it.

    Many of the people from these same institutions advocate against abortion, but don't understand the realistic benefit of the morning after pill or even basic contraception; their unrealistic wishful thinking is causing the death of many at the hands of disease. Realistically, many abortions could be avoided if a morning-after pill were not viewed as such an evil option. Many of these same people bring children into the world at a high pace, and then would prefer that the rest of society take over and educate their children in their particular brand of religion when they don't plan well.

    In the U.S. recently we learned of the head of LCMS chastising a minister of that church for participating in a joint service for the victims of the Newtown school shooting.

    One sect calls homosexuality an abomination while the next one in the same denomination is already performing gay marriage.

    One sect, the Westboro Baptist Church believes Americans are being killed at war because America is too kind to "fags".

    One sect believes that Jesus and Satan were brothers and that Christ will return to Jerusalem AND Jackson County, Missouri.

    One sect believes women to be subservient, while another sect in the same denomination promotes equality between the sexes.

    Conflicted right from the very beginning, Christianity continues to splinter and create divisions and more extremism as it goes.

    Has anything improved with Christianity since 200+ years ago?

    Thomas Jefferson, POTUS #3 (from Notes on the State of Virginia):

    Millions of innocent men, women, and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced one inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.

    James Madison, POTUS #4, chief architect of the U.S. Constitution & the Bill of Rights (from A Memorial and Remonstrance delivered to the Virginia General Assembly in 1785):

    During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry, and persecution.

    John Adams, POTUS #2 (in a letter to Thomas Jefferson, 09/03/1816):

    I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved – the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

    Ben Franklin (from a letter to The London Packet, 3 June 1772):

    If we look back into history for the character of present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practised it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England, blamed persecution in the Roman church, but practised it against the Puritans: these found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here and in New England.

    Thomas Paine (from The Age of Reason):

    All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

    March 15, 2013 at 8:57 am |
    • Science

      Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN


      Gravity is not up for debate !

      BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

      Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet

      Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before


      Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

      The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

      The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

      Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.


      April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

      May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

      Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young


      And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

      From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


      the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

      Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

      Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.


      No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

      Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

      No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

      Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

      Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.


      Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute


      Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

      Good stuff !

      The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

      Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

      Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


      For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

      Where do morals come from?

      By Kelly Murray, CNN


      Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

      Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

      Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
      bears his name as the “God particle.”


      Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
      Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \



      Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
      By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...


      April 7th, 2012

      08:32 PM ET

      The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth


      Make sure to read comments

      April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

      Breaking News

      NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.


      NASA: Mars could have supported life

      Star Dust we are



      May 3, 2013 at 2:56 pm |
  2. Reality

    Only for the new members of this blog since the current members know how to balance the budget:

    In order to pay down our $16 trillion debt, we need to redirect money used to support religions especially the christian and islamic cons and put it towards paying off our obligations..

    To wit:

    Redirecting our funds and saving a lot of "souls":

    Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
    There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

    – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

    – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

    Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
    There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

    – The Mormon empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.
    – the faith-based federal projects supported by both Bush and Obama will be eliminated saving $385 million/yr and another $2 billion/yr in grants.

    Giving to religious groups in 2010, totaled $95.8 billion,

    – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
    Abraham and Moses never existed.

    – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

    – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

    Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

    March 15, 2013 at 8:29 am |
  3. Philip

    Gn all. Answerman has left the room. 🙂

    March 14, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • ..

      Weren't you claiming to be an atheist a few posts ago? Liar.
      You aren't an answer man. You are a liar, philip. You make batshit crazy, profoundly ill person who won't provide any citations for your outrageous lies.
      Everything you talk about is the product of a diseased mind, masquerading as a Christian. Pathetic. You should be locked up somewhere. I hope you don't have access to weapons. I have a feeling we'll be reading about you when you detonate.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:11 pm |
  4. Philip

    Actually, Yup, Jesus clearly stated that he came to break apart dysfunctional families that have been the foundation of dysfunctional empires throughought history. (Matt. 10:34-36)
    This system if things will conclude just as Jesus Christ proclaimed. There is yet time.

    March 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Yup

      Matthew 10 says nothing of the sort.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • ..

      Mathew 10:34-36
      New International Version (NIV)
      34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn
      “‘a man against his father,
       a daughter against her mother,
      a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-
      36 a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household

      Do not use the Bible to justify your lunatic rants. This is clearly not supporting your assertions of dysfunctional families. Another nutter cherry-picking verses to support his lies. Pathetic. You need to seek help.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
    • Yup

      My theory is that Christians know there are passages that they do not want to follow, or say something they don't like, so they come up with these bizarre abstruse interpretations that they all groupthink into agreeing on, no matter how free of textual or contextual support they are. It's like the way "sell your goods and give the money to the poor" somehow doesn't apply to them, or that when Jesus said the end times would happen in the lifetime of his audience, he didn't mean the lifetime of his audience.

      It's like they all have the Shyster Lawyer Version of the Bible right there ready for cherry-picking their way out of actually understanding the Bible as written.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm |
    • ..

      This ill nutjob has probably never read the Bible, so I'm thinking you are spot on, Yup.

      March 15, 2013 at 3:33 pm |
  5. Answerman

    @Yup...the answer is 'parousia' means to see with the mind's eye, not the literal eye. Parousia is the word bible writers chose to descibe Jesus Christ:s second coming, which already happened if you would only stop listening to what others say about these things, and come to know God's thoughts on these matters by serious bible study, thousands of prayers and tears, after enduring much abuse many many years from all sides...no pain/no gain. "You will be objects of hatred" commanded Jesus of his followers. Do be persecuted and do not shut up about it.

    March 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  6. Answerman

    The fact that billions of people are convinced that all the answers they need lie in the bible and thus they have no incentive at all to look beyond it. The religious withdraw from the world while the reasoned seek to improve it. This withdrawal from the world, coupled by the teaching that the earth was created solely for the benefit of the believer has contributed to widespread ecological disaster. This belief makes it easy to justify the destruction and wanton depletion of our natural resources because, after all, Jesus is coming soon and will give us a new earth.

    March 14, 2013 at 7:59 pm |
    • Yup

      I keep wondering why Jesus hasn't shown up to tell people to go forth and NOT procreate, for the world is overcrowded and natural resources are depleting faster than they can be sustained – starvation and economic chaos, and all that.

      Go forth and procreate is now very bad advice, but no change of instructions. Then again, Jesus had lots of bad advice, like "it's okay to abandon your family to follow me" and "sell your goods and give the money to the poor".

      March 14, 2013 at 8:03 pm |
  7. Answerman

    Usama Bin Laden, as he was known when he became a top-ten most wanted fugitive from justice by the FBI (1998), worked for US interests abroad, and was called a freedom fighter. His family helped establish the Carlyle Group of investors along with the Bush family who both recieve royalties from Caspian basin oil sales to China via Afghanistans TAPI, NOW THAT THE LEGAL OPERATORS OF afghan pipleines are all shot dead as suspected terrorists or are still at GITMO. (Bridas v Unocal, Turkmenneft v Bridas)

    March 14, 2013 at 7:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.