Melissa Rogers, director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University School of Divinity, was a signal addition to the advisory board of Obama's Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
Her interview with the Greensboro News and Record this week revealed why. There are two key comments.
First, on hiring and firing at groups which receive grants:
When a group receives a government grant, it should not be able to discriminate based on religion for government-funded jobs. If there are jobs that the group is funding itself with its own money, then they should be free to hire and fire on the basis of religion. If the jobs are funded with government grant funds, then all the taxpayers that contributed to that funding should be able to compete for those jobs.
Second, on reforms at OFANP. We've boldfaced part of her comment because those views are a marked separation from the Bush administration's use of faith-based funds for political purposes, and the Obama administration's human services goals:
It's very important for the administration to continue to welcome religious and neighborhood groups to partner with government. There's a need to increase funding for programs that help people of low income - and there is a need to bring the partnerships in line with certain constitutional principles and to be careful about guarding against cronyism and religious bias in the peer review grants process.
Clear-eyed policy guidance is her job as a member of the OFANP advisory board, and she's one of the best.
Now, if we can persuade her to start blogging again.