Season 2, Ep. 06: What’s next? The Biden administration and religious liberty (Featuring Melissa Rogers)

Melissa Rogers, former head of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, joins Amanda and Holly for a look ahead

Dec 10, 2020

In our season finale, we look to the future and the potential ways the Biden administration could impact religious liberty. Our guest for this episode is Melissa Rogers, former executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships during the Obama administration. Amanda, Holly and Melissa discuss the need for an administration to be organized at the outset and ready for issues that are going to impact religious liberty, both explicitly and implicitly. There is a key difference between an administration making unforced errors and actions that inflame the culture wars. Plus, the trio reviews the religious liberty impact of the Trump administration and the centuries of partnership between the government and religious organizations.  


Show notes:

Segment 1: Why do we need priorities for the next administration? (Starting at 00:47)

Melissa Rogers is the author of Faith in American Public Life, which is available wherever books are sold.

The report for the Brookings Institution written by Melissa and E.J. Dionne is titled “A Time to Heal, a Time To Build.” You can read it online

Melissa was previously on the BJC Podcast in 2019 alongside Rabbi David Saperstein and Holly Hollman during our series on the dangers of Christian nationalism. You can listen here and watch a video of the podcast here.

Amanda and Holly talked about the Trump administration’s record on religious liberty in episode 4 of this season. 


Segment 2: What does the next administration need to keep in mind? (Starting at 21:29)

Amanda mentioned this piece that Melissa wrote for The Washington Post: President Trump just unveiled a new White House ‘faith’ office. It actually weakens religious freedom.

Melissa mentioned the conversation BJC hosted in 2019 on an inclusive approach to religious liberty, featuring Amanda, Dr. Corey Walker, and Dr. Linda McKinnish Bridges. You can watch it at this link.  

Join the BJC Advocacy Team:

Join the BJC Book Club to participate in a group discussion as we read through Melissa’s book Faith in American Public Life. We will be meeting on Tuesday nights in January, and it’s free to join:


Segment 3: Thanks for a great year of Respecting Religion! (Starting at 45:02)

Thank you, listeners, for joining us for 26 episodes of Respecting Religion as we’ve navigated the twists and turns of 2020. We hope that we’ve met our goal of highlighting some of the most important questions and topics respecting religion in the context of all that this year has thrown at us — a global pandemic, reckoning with systemic racism and white supremacy, hugely consequential presidential election, shifts in the Supreme Court and more. This year has taken us all on a wild ride, and we are glad we could slow down a bit and give these important stories their due. 

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