President’s faith-based advisory council announced

The White House sent a press release April 6 announcing additional members of the President’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The Advisory Council is part of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and is composed of religious and secular leaders and scholars from different backgrounds. We note that Henry Knox of the Human Rights Campaign is among those named.

The Washington Post reports:

The new members include several people from groups representing minorities, including: Dalia Mogahed, executive director of the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies; Anju Bhargava, founder of Asian Indian Women of America and Harry Knox, head of the religion program at the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for gays and lesbians.

Other new members are Anthony Picarello, formerly of the religious liberties law firm Becket Fund and now general counsel to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Rev. Peg Chemberlin, president-elect of the National Council of Churches, a sprawling ecumenical umbrella group of mostly mainline Protestants.

The Washington Post also reports they will meet [this] week and will include others in their discussions:

Sources say further that the meeting will be broader than just the council and will include community leaders and members of the faith community not on the council. They’ll talk about a range of faith and public policy issues. It’s a sign that the administration is finally making its promised outreach to include faith leaders in public policy issues in a more substantive way than during the Bush years. The group next week is expected to mostly delve into the areas laid out by the White House as priorities for the faith council–fostering interfaith dialogue, reducing poverty, dealing with teen fathers and reducing the need for abortions.

Each member of the Council is appointed to a one-year term. The members of the Council are below:

Diane Baillargeon, President & CEO, Seedco, New York , NY

*Anju Bhargava, Founder, Asian Indian Women of America, New Jersey

*Bishop Charles Blake, Presiding Bishop, Church of God in Christ, Los Angeles, CA

Noel Castellanos, CEO, Christian Community Development Association, Chicago, IL

*The Rev. Peg Chemberlin, President-Elect, National Council of Churches USA, Minneapolis, MN

Dr. Arturo Chavez, President & CEO, Mexican American Catholic College, San Antonio, TX

Fred Davie, Senior Adviser, Public/Private Ventures, New York , NY

*Nathan Diament, Director of Public Policy, Orthodox Jewish Union, Washington, DC

Pastor Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor, Northland, a Church Distributed, Longwood, FL

*Harry Knox, Director, Religion and Faith Program, Human Rights Campaign, Washington, DC

Bishop Vashti M. McKenzie, Presiding Bishop, 13th Episcopal District, African Methodist Episcopal Church, Knoxville, TN

*Dalia Mogahed, Executive Director, Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Washington, DC

Rev. Otis Moss, Jr., Pastor emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church, Cleveland, OH

Dr. Frank S. Page, President emeritus, Southern Baptist Convention, Taylors, SC

Eboo S. Patel, Founder & Executive Director, Interfaith Youth Core, Chicago, IL

*Anthony Picarello, General Counsel , United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington, DC

*Nancy Ratzan, Board Chair, National Council of Jewish Women, Miami, FL

Melissa Rogers, Director, Wake Forest School of Divinity Center for Religion and Public Affairs, Winston-Salem , NC

Rabbi David N. Saperstein, Director & Counsel, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, Washington , DC

Dr. William J. Shaw, President, National Baptist Convention, USA, Philadelphia , PA

Father Larry J. Snyder, President, Catholic Charities USA, Alexandria , VA

Richard Stearns, President, World Vision, Bellevue , WA

Judith N. Vredenburgh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America, Philadelphia , PA

Rev. Jim Wallis, President & Executive Director, Sojourners, Washington , DC

*Dr. Sharon Watkins, General Minister and President, Disciples of Christ (Christian Church), Indianapolis, IN

NOTE: Members marked with an asterisk were announced [April 6]. The White House Office for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships will be a resource for nonprofits and community organizations, both secular and faith based, looking for ways to make a bigger impact in their communities, learn their obligations under the law, cut through red tape, and make the most of what the federal government has to offer. Other members of the Advisory Council were announced earlier this year.

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