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. Answerman

    What adult cannot find the theme of any book? Only the most ignorant are incapable of this simple task.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • Answerman

      The Harry Potter series is awesome to read and learn from!

      March 14, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • fintastic

      The library is filled with books of fiction like the bible!

      March 14, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
  2. Answerman

    By the 8th grade, schoolchildren know how to identify the theme of a book. But here you are, all growed up, and still do not know nor are able to find-out what the theme of the bible is.
    Sadly, nearly 100 million US ADULTS are just like you...totally incapable of deriving simple information delivered in written form w/o pictures/videos to help you understand. (source: National Adult Literacy Survey 2002-2006)
    There were no drawings included with bible writings to help stupid people understand. If you are stupid, it's b/c you want to be stupid or were dumbed-down by prenatal "vitamins" even before you were born.
    If you were born stupid, I can help you recover. If you are willfully ignorant, there is nothing to save you.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:42 am |
    • .

      " . . all growed up . ."

      Keep making a fool of yourself.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:49 am |
    • clarity

      "willfully ignorant"

      Aww. lol. That's sounds very Chardonian.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:50 am |
    • fintastic

      "stupid is as stupid does..."

      March 14, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
  3. Answerman

    Life events shared by Jesus and another god-man:

    There are numerous god-men in the ancient Mediterranean area and Middle East. There are many stories that appear both in Jesus' biography and in the legends of another god-man:

    – Mother's pregnancy: It was a common belief among early Christians that Mary was pregnant for only seven months. This legend is preserved in the Gospel of the Hebrews. Although this gospel was widely used by early Christians, it was never accepted into the official canon. Semele, mother of Dionysus, was also believed to have had a 7 month pregnancy.

    – Virgin birth: Author William Harwood has written that Jesus' "equation in Greek eyes with the resurrected savior-god Dionysos led an interpolator to insert a virgin-birth myth into the gospel now known as Matthew." 1

    – Birth Witnesses:

    – The gospel of Matthew records that Jesus was visited by an unknown number of wise men, called Magi.

    – Authors Freke & Gandy identify them as followers of the god man Mithras from Persia. 4

    – Most other sources believe that they were Zoroastrian priests from Persia who were experts in astrology. There is a Zoroastrian belief "that a son of Zoroaster will be born many years after his death by a virgin...This son will apparantly [sic] raise the dead and crush the forces of evil. Later Christians got rather excited about this apparant [sic] pagan prophecy of the coming of the Messiah..." 2

    – The gospel of Luke records that Jesus was visited by three shepherds. Mithra the god man from Persia was also visited shortly after birth by three shepherds.

    – The magi brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. A Pagan belief from the 6th century BCE states that these are the precise materials to use when worshiping God.

    – Healing: Jesus is recorded throughout the gospels as healing the sick and restoring the dead to life. So was Asclepius, a Greek god man. Pagans and early Christians debated who was the more effective healer.

    – Ministry: Jesus appeared as a wandering holy man who is later transfigured in the presence of some of his disciples. Dionysus was portrayed in the same manner in Euripides' play The Bacchae, written in 410 BCE.

    – Miracles:

    – Both Jesus and Empedocles were recorded as teaching spiritual truths, curing illness, foretelling the future, controlling the wind and rain, and raising people from the dead.

    – Both Mithra and Jesus performed many healings of the sick and mentally ill; both raised the dead. 3

    – Mark, chapter 5 describes Jesus driving demons from a man into a herd of about 2,000 pigs who rushed over a cliff and drowned. In Eleusis, about 2,000 initiates would bathe in the sea. Each had a young pig to which the believers' sins would be transferred. The pigs were then chased over a chasm and killed.

    – Fishing: John 21:11 records that Jesus performed a miracle which enabled Simon Peter to catch exactly 153 fish. The Pagan Pythagoras considered 153 a sacred number. The ratio of 153 to 265 was referred to by the Pagan Archimedes as "the measure of the fish." That ratio is used to generate a fish-like shape using two circles. The sign of the fish was used by the early Christians as their main symbol.

    – Arrest:

    – Both Dionysus and Jesus celebrated a Last Supper with his 12 disciples before his death.

    – Dionysus is described in Euripides' play The Bacchae as bringing a new religion to the people, being plotted against by the leaders, being arrested and appearing before the political ruler. Dionysus said to his captors "You know not what you are doing..," almost replicating Jesus' words at the cross. He was unjustly accused and executed. All of these themes are seen in the Gospels.

    – Crucifixion & resurrection:

    – Jesus' body was wrapped in linen and anointed with myrrh and aloe. Osiris was also said to have been wrapped in linen and anointed with myrrh.

    Again, the god men myths had been circulating well before Jesus birth. The Christians would have copied earlier Pagan material, not vice-versa.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:35 am |
    • .

      "The Christians would have copied earlier Pagan material, not vice-versa." It appears they did.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:47 am |
  4. Answerman

    How can you criticize a book that you yourself do not even know the theme of?
    All books have a theme. That you do not even know the theme of the bible is further proof that you suffer from contempt prior to invesrtigation, and so your opinions are based on ignorance.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:33 am |
    • .

      Who are you talking to? What a dingbat.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  5. Answerman

    @fintastic...you have contempt for 66 books (the bible) prior to your personal investigation of them. Nobody will listen to a movie critic who didn't even see the movie and who only had opinions based on heresay about the movie.
    Who listens to a restaurant critic who never dined out nor enjoyed the meal he criticizes?

    March 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Since you critisize Mormonism and Joseph Smith, may I assume you've read The Book of Mormon, The Pearl of Great Price and all the Journals of Discourses?

      March 14, 2013 at 11:30 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      And since you reject all teh Gods and religions based on them, I also assume that you've done some in depth study of the Tanakh, Talmud, Midrash, Quran, Sunnah, Nahjul Balagha, Avesta, Vedas, Upanisahds, Bhagavad Gita, Puranas, Tantras, Sutras, Vachanas, Adi Granth, Purvas, Samayasara, Niyamasara, Pravacanasara, and Pancastikaya; Anupreksa; Samadhishataka of Pujyapada; Tattvarthasutra of Umasvati, Tattvarthasutra, Pali Tripitaka, Jataka,, Visuddimagga, Tripitaka, Lotus Sutra, Garland Sutra, Analects; the Great Learning; the Doctrine of the Mean; the Mencius, Tao Te Ching, Chuang-tzu, Kojiki, Nihon Shoki, K-oki, Ofudesaki, Mikagura-uta, Michi-no-Shiori, Johrei, Goseigen, Netarean Shower of Holy Doctrines, Chun Boo Kyung, Kitab-i-Iqan, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, Book of Mormon, Dianetics, oandRevelation X

      March 14, 2013 at 11:31 am |
    • fintastic

      @answerman.......... ..........It's just lie after lie from you isn't it?... I have read the bible by the way, it's one of the reasons I became an atheist. I don't have "contempt" for the bible just like I don't have "contempt" for Harry Potter.

      "Who listens to a restaurant critic who never dined out nor enjoyed the meal he criticizes?"

      Who listens to a restaurant critic who talks about a restaurant that never existed?

      March 14, 2013 at 11:40 am |
  6. Answerman

    A new found particle discovered at the world's largest atom smasher last year is, indeed, the Higgs boson, the particle thought to give other matter its mass, scientists reported today (March 14) at the annual Rencontres de Moriond conference in Italy.

    Physicists announced on July 4, 2012, that, with more than 99 percent certainty, they had found a new elementary particle weighing about 126 times the mass of the proton that was likely the long-sought Higgs boson. The Higgs is sometimes referred to as the "God particle," to the chagrin of many scientists, who prefer its official name

    "It may be the universe we live in is inherently unstable, and at some point billions of years from now it's all going to get wiped out," added Lykken, a collaborator on the CMS experiment.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:28 am |
  7. Answerman

    Interestingly, Bayer patented harmaceutical 'Heroin' in 1898, and began pushing heroin as a cure for all sorts of ailments, legally.
    A year later, in 1899, Bayer patented 'Aspirin', a drug so dangerous it was only available by prescription and banned for use by children. Asprin quickly became the world's most abused street drug, and is now consumed by just about everyone, even children.
    Aspirin is a naturally occuring short-term pain relieveing tear blocker.
    Tears are to your heart what sweat is to your body: natures way of keeping clean and opure, and rid of toxin buildup.
    ASPIRIN ABUSE LEADS TO A DISEASED HEART and is why heart disease kills so many. Synthetic aspirins such as Tylenol brand are responsible for over half of all liver disease according to the FDA..

    March 14, 2013 at 11:21 am |
    • fintastic

      And this has what to do with the article??

      March 14, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  8. Answerman

    There are more MDs in Boston than in all of the oreint, yet Bostonians are among the sickest most-overly obese people on earth. Further proof doctors have not been kept away by aspirin abuse.
    Ancient pagan greek physicians discovered aspirin in the bark of willow, and linled it with the god's of greek mythology. Paul warned Christians not to go to greek doctors, but to do as Christ commaned: "Speak consolingly to depressed souls." (NOT drug them with anti-depressants as is now common)

    March 14, 2013 at 11:12 am |
    • clarity

      Absolutely. Who needs them darn doctors. All you need to do is chant some crap from mythology copied from other mythology and poof – ailments be gone!

      March 14, 2013 at 11:17 am |
    • clarity


      March 14, 2013 at 11:18 am |
  9. Answerman

    The phrase "An aspirin per day keeps the doctor away" was coined by a California physician in 1954. Since that time, Americans have been using aspirin... a short-term pain reliver found in nature in the bark of the willow...for all sorts of ailments. One things is made clear by now: an aspirin per day does NOT keep the doctor away.
    Beginning in 1964, it became legal to give aspirin even to mere children since have been forced on even more dangeorus drugs like Ritilin.
    Since that time of daily aspirin abuse being recommended even to kids, more people go to the doctor than ever before. Aspirin does not keep the doctor away, it invites him in.

    March 14, 2013 at 11:05 am |
    • fintastic

      Another recipient of the brown acid....

      March 14, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  10. Answerman

    For example, when a religious man is caught raypeing a churchgoing underaged male, the leaders of that church call themselves together to discuss that mans sins RATHER than calling the police who would then discuss that mans crimes and prosecute him for statutory raype.
    Our religious leaders hide criminals behind the cloak of sin. Christ died for our sins, NOT our crimes that we must each pay for ourselves. Christ did not die so that child abusers could remain unpunished, in other words.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • clarity

      Look, one without answers – here's all you need to do and you'll be fine:

      1. Drop all the mythology.
      2. Get a decent phone to reply from if you really must blog by phone.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:02 am |
    • .

      oh look the troll is back to post their non-ending trash.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • clarity

      lol. yeah, dot, I suppose we can dub this one "Dr. Tarver".

      March 14, 2013 at 11:13 am |
  11. Answerman

    I understand why it is none of you reply to my comments concerning pharmakeia being banned for Christians.
    The majority of daytime bloggers are on meds.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:48 am |
    • clarity

      Wow – do you have anything to back up that claim? lol. I must admit – I am a bit guilty as charged – one baby aspirin a day – lol.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:51 am |
    • Saraswati

      Nope – it's because your arguments read like you should be on meds.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:54 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      "pharmakeia being banned for Christians"

      A google search on this says you're lying.

      March 14, 2013 at 12:07 pm |
  12. Answerman

    Hogwash. Many things listed as sins in God's word are perfectly legal and aren't even considered criminal anymore.
    For example, sodomy is legal everywhere today except in the US military, where just a few years ago sodomy was a crime consucted by criminals. Adultery even used to be a crime in the USA.
    Sin is imperfection. Crime is criminal wrongsoing. All are imperfect and so all are sinners. Not all are disobedient to the laws of man. Only criminals are.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:45 am |
    • clarity

      Hogwash? What's hogwash?

      March 14, 2013 at 10:56 am |
    • Which God?

      Did all that you wrote make sense to you?. Maybe you need to decrease your meds dosage. You made some false statements. You back nothing up with facts. Please cite some for your quots above. Your opinion does not carry any authority.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:11 am |
    • fintastic

      "....Crime is criminal wrongsoing.."


      March 14, 2013 at 11:14 am |
    • Truth Prevails :-)

      NoAnswerman: Lots of things used to be considered crimes until people came to the conclusion that in most cases what was considered criminal actually imposed on persons basic rights...homosexuality; adultery (the only time it is in play is during a legal separation/divorce and even then it is not criminal). Thankfully as times change, so does our thinking and laws get repealed.

      March 14, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
  13. 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 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  14. Answerman

    @Lenn. Though Christ's early followers were slow to recognize that his prochecies were more than about the conclusion of the Jewish religious system of things in 70CE, by the time his apostle John had finished his writings (about the year 98CE) all were aware Jesus was referring to the conclusion of all of man's system of things. Certainly, John knew his writings were meant for those who would be alive to see Christ "bring to ruin those ruining this earth", just as he himself wrote.
    The bible was written so that those living today might have hope of a certain future as non-believers remain uncertain of what the future holds.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • clarity

      "his apostle John had finished his writings"

      Now who exactly wrote John? LMAO.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:40 am |
    • fintastic

      The bible was written by man as a means of control...... There is zero evidence that any god exists or has ever existed.

      Since no god has ever existed, how can the bible be the "word of god"?...... ... nothing more than fairytales, fantasy and mythology. Considering how little time we have on this earth, it's a real shame to see people wasting their lives with this nonsense.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:09 am |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things,

    March 14, 2013 at 10:34 am |
  16. Answerman

    @clarity. Before being re-named 'Paul', Paul's name was 'Saul', a very famous Jewish religious leader, a Pharisee. Joseph Smith was never famous for being a world famous lawyer as Paul was. Paul travelled the known world and established many famous Christian churches. Joseph Smith? LOL. He wasn't fit to lace Paul's sandals or wash Paul's feet, and CERTAINLY didn't write any letters that became books in the bible.
    Paul addressed university students and Roman rulers. Smith addressed polygamists.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:29 am |
    • clarity

      Yes, I know about Saul. He should have been a bit more careful in checking out the gospel claims. Many believed then that the gospels were mere copies of older pagan stories, meant to dress of the story of this man Jesus and give him added ummpf to instill fear and respect of the early church. The charges of this plagiarism were significant enough to cause several early Christian apologists to defend themselves. What was their only defense? "The devil did it." LOL. 'Diabolical mimicry' they called it – or 'plagiarism in anticipation'. They claimed the devil orchestrated the "fake" pagan stories to be disseminated before the "real" (gospel) stories. That's the ticket – get good old "Satan" from folklore to perform some plagiarism in reverse – that's a great excuse – people are very afraid of him. wink wink.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Smith was a Master Mason

      March 14, 2013 at 11:26 am |
  17. Answerman

    @R Cranium. Actually, I was abused by these men you claim recruited me...physically, se xually, morally, and worst of all, spiritually abused by men calling themselves christians but who were and are, in reality, those foretold wolves in sheep's clothes who have taken-over the christian church.
    I am that little boy all growed-up now and have one purpose in life: Expose these men and the way they go-about recommending pharmakeia to deal with depression issues related to child abuse.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:21 am |
  18. Answerman

    @Kenrick. It is not the end. It is what Jesus Christ said it would be, "the conclusion of this system of things" to be followed by the righteous rule of God's government with Christ as king.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • clarity

      There is actually no evidence of the supernatural "Christ" character. One must have full faith in the gospels to believe, since there is just as much evidence for the claims of Joseph Smith as there is for the claims of Paul.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:21 am |
    • Kenrick Benjamin

      True Answerman, but I was referring to God being the first and the last, not the beginning and the end.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:29 am |
  19. Answerman

    hint: if you cannot refute what someone has posted, simply make fun of the person posting that which you cannot refute.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:10 am |
    • fintastic

      "hint: if you cannot refute what someone has posted, simply make fun of the person posting that which you cannot refute."

      here's another hint.... if you can't provide actual evidence to support your claims, then you lie when claiming "fact" and "truth"

      March 14, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  20. Answerman

    @clarity. No. Sins cannot be hidden whereas crimes can be.
    Jesus Christ himself has authority over sin, whereas authority over crime has been given to authorities that stand placed in the relative positions to deal with crime, and stand placed by God himself.
    Chrurchgoers hide criminal child abusers from the law, NOT sinful men from God.
    "There is no authority except by God." . "All authority stands placed in it's relative position by God." -The apostle Paul

    March 14, 2013 at 10:06 am |
    • clarity

      from society they have been. The Catholic church is a perfect example.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • clarity

      Since there is no proof of God, I could care less about your delude notion of sin. This unnatural club of celibate men in dresses being entrusted to "minister" to children is more disconcerting for me.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:32 am |
    • Which God?

      Answerman says:"Sins cannot be hidden whereas crimes can be." A totaly stupid answer from answerman. Crime is a sin, Sin cannot be hidden, ergo, neither can the crime be hidden. Right, answerman? Imbecile

      March 14, 2013 at 10:39 am |
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.