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The White House Briefing Room announced on Feb. 14, 2021, that the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships (OFBNP) would reopen. President Biden is resurrecting the bipartisan initiative that has not been operational since former President Donald Trump took office in 2016.
Trump left the 20-year-old OFBNP rudderless without appointing a director. Instead, he established the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, attached to the Health and Human Services Department.
OFBNP was established on Jan. 29, 2001, by former President George W. Bush and continued to operate during the Obama administration. Biden’s reestablishing the faith-based office comes when America is in a time of great need.
The U.S. is wrestling with the effects of the global pandemic, a brutal economic downturn, systemic racism, accelerating climate crisis, and great division. Biden is confident that the partnerships established through the OFBNP are vital to meeting these challenges.
“This is not a nation that can or will simply stand by and watch the suffering around us. This is not who we are. That is not what faith calls us to be,” explains Biden.
The team will work with faith leaders from different backgrounds and theologies, working closely with their communities in crisis to heal, unite and rebuild.
Melissa Rogers will be the office’s executive director and senior director for the faith and public policy as part of the White House Domestic Policy Council, the same position as she held in the Obama administration.
White House Senior Advisor for Public Engagement John Dickenson will be the deputy director. Trey Baker will serve as the liaison to Black communities; he is also a senior advisor for public engagement.
Biden reminds America that it is not Democrats or Republicans dying of COVID-19, losing their jobs, experiencing food insecurity, and facing homelessness during the economic crisis. They are neighbors, family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances — fellow Americans.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Hill: Biden relaunches faith-based White House office; by Joseph Choi
Times of Israel: Biden relaunches faith-based White House office; Alexandra Jaffe
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Charley’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image by Eric Draper, Courtesy of Opus Penguin’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License