On Sunday, President Joe Biden signed an executive order reestablishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The office, which was re-shaped and largely unstaffed during former President Donald Trump’s administration, will help spearhead efforts to network with faith groups across the country in fighting against racism, economic inequality, COVID-19 and will help uphold the separation of church and state.
“This is not a nation that can, or will, simply stand by and watch the suffering around us,” Biden said at the National Prayer Breakfast. “That is not who we are. That is not what faith calls us to be,” he said. “That is why I’m reestablishing the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to work with leaders of different faiths and backgrounds who are the frontlines of their communities in crisis and who can help us heal, unite, and rebuild.”
“We still have many difficult nights to endure,” he concluded. “But we will get through them together and with faith guiding us through the darkness and into the light.”
The office has gone by several different names over the last few administrations. Most recently, it was the Faith and Opportunity Initiative, headed up by Pentecostal preacher Paula White. Under Biden, the office will be led by Brookings Institution fellow and First Amendment lawyer Melissa Rogers, who also led the office during former President Barack Obama’s second term. Josh Dickson, who led the faith outreach wing of Biden’s campaign, will be deputy director. National Director of African American Engagement on Biden’s campaign Trey Baker will be the office’s liaison to Black communities.