Written by Don Byrd
Religion News Service’s Adelle Banks reports on a development I have been thinking about over the last week. Leadership positions related to faith-based engagement, both domestically and in foreign affairs, have been left empty thus far in the Trump administration.
The status of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, which was initiated by President George W. Bush and overhauled by President Obama, remains unclear. The most recent director, Melissa Rogers, points to Office’s positive work and inclusive emphasis.
Rogers . . . hopes the office she led as well as the faith-based offices at 13 federal agencies will continue work on efforts that have ranged from feeding nutritious summertime meals to children to fighting the Zika and Ebola viruses.
“The offices and the broader administration must demonstrate a steadfast commitment to welcoming all faith groups and treating them equally, respecting the independence of religious communities and promoting the common good, not theology,” said Rogers, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
Meanwhile, the State Department’s position of Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom likewise remains empty. Rabbi David Saperstein, who most recently held the position, spoke optimistically about the future for the office.
“This cause and office has such strong and bipartisan wall-to-wall support throughout both the Republican and Democratic components of the Congress,” said Saperstein, who returns to the Union for Reform Judaism as a senior staffer on Saturday (April 1). “In the meantime, there remains a very strong, dedicated, effective staff that continues their work every day on behalf of strengthening religious freedom across the globe.”
Read the whole thing.