Feb 14, 2021

Rachel Laser, president and CEO of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, issued the following statement in response to reporting that the Biden administration will announce that its faith and public policy team will be led by Melissa Rogers and will include Joshua Dickson and Trey Baker:

“We applaud President Biden for choosing Melissa Rogers to, once again, run the Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and to serve in a new role, Senior Advisor on Faith and Public Policy. Rogers’ mastery of church-state law and policy and her track record of finding shared values make her exceedingly qualified for both positions. When she served in the Obama administration, Rogers successfully worked with people across faiths and the nonreligious to adopt policies that protect the religious freedom of people who use federally funded social services. 

“This new team has much work to do. The Trump administration spent four years adopting policies that misused religious freedom to sanction discrimination, deny access to health care and require taxpayers to fund religion. We have confidence that the Biden administration will work hard to right these wrongs and reclaim religious freedom as a shield to protect rather than a sword to harm others. We must ensure that our laws do not allow people to use their religious beliefs to harm others.

“Americans United looks forward to working with the administration to restore church-state protections that safeguard everyone’s religious freedom. Government partnerships with faith-based organizations must be evidence-based, inclusive and equally welcoming for people of all faiths and the nonreligious. They must prohibit taxpayer-funded employment discrimination. And social service providers accepting government funds must not be allowed to discriminate against people in their programs or force them to participate in religious activities in order to receive vital services.”  

Americans United is a religious freedom advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in 1947, AU educates Americans about the importance of church-state separation in safeguarding religious freedom. Learn more at www.au.org.