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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Religious Freedom and the Common Good

lecture and discussion

Bill of Rights

Melissa Rogers

Brookings Institution

Date: Thursday, February 23, 2017
Time: 6:00 pm
Location: Higgins 300

Abstract:  Melissa Rogers served as special assistant to the president and executive director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships during the Obama administration. A widely respected expert on church-state law, she is also known as a bridge-builder who has led several efforts to forge common ground among diverse religious and secular groups on key issues of public policy. In this lecture Rogers will reflect on her experience in the White House and suggest ways in which we can come together across our differences to honor religious freedom and advance the common good. 

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Melissa Rogers is a non-resident senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. She served as Special Assistant to the President and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships from 2013-2017. Rogers previously served as Director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School and as a nonresident Senior Fellow in the Governance Studies program of The Brookings Institution. Prior to her time with Wake Forest University and Brookings, Rogers was the Executive Director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and General Counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. In 2008 Baylor University Press published a casebook co-authored by Rogers, Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court. In 2009 President Barack Obama appointed Rogers to serve as Chair of his inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. In 2011 she was named to a subgroup of the State Department’s Religion and Foreign Policy Working Group. Rogers has testified before subcommittees of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees. She earned her law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Baylor University. This spring, she is also teaching a course in transformational leadership at Yale Divinity School. 

Follow her on twitter @melissarogers

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Upcoming speaker Melissa Rogers, Special Assistant to Barack Obama, now senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, recently wrote on Faith and the Trump White House.