April 2, 2009
New Challenges for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships
The Berkley Center hosted a symposium which addressed the future possibilities and challenges facing the rechristened White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Panelists E.J. Dionne, Ira C. Lupu, Melissa Rogers, and Stanley Carlson-Thies addressed issues related to President Obama's reconfiguration of the Office's mission. including whether to bar religious groups from using religion as a basis for hiring, and how to pursue common ground on divisive "culture wars" issues. A key theme was the degree of continuity and discontinuity to be expected with the outreach strategies of the Bush administration and whether the office would inevitably be drawn into partisan politics.
E.J. Dionne is a professor in the foundations of democracy and culture at Georgetown University and a leading scholar and commentator on religion in US politics. A senior fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, Dionne writes a column for The Washington Post that is nationally and abroad syndicated in over 100 outlets, and his most recent book is Our Divided Political Heart: The Battle for the American Idea in an Age of Discontent (June 2012). His book Why Americans Hate Politics (1991), won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a National Book Award nominee. He is also author of They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate The Next Political Era (1996), Stand Up Fight Back: Republican Toughs, Democratic Wimps, and the Politics of Revenge (2004), and Souled Out: Reclaiming Faith and Politics After the Religious Right (2008).
Melissa Rogers directs the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and serves as a nonresident senior fellow with Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. In 2009 Rogers was appointed by...