Melissa Rogers in conversation with Rob Lalka - FAITH IN AMERICAN PUBLIC LIFE

Join us for an evening with Melissa Rogers featuring her new book:FAITH IN AMERICAN PUBLIC LIFE. She will appear in conversation with Tulane University professor, Rob Lalka.

Sponsored by The St. Charles Center for Faith + Action, the program will take place the St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church, and includes

  • 5:30-6:30 p.m.
  Wine and Cheese
 reception. Tickets required. (ncludes signed copy of Rogers’ book). Click here to get tickets now.
  • 6:30-7:30 p.m.
 Open Admission. Book Discussion + Q&A. Octavia Books will be on site selling books.

In FAITH IN AMERICAN PUBLIC LIFE, Melissa Rogers—former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships—explores the role of religion in the public square and focuses on principles that define the relationship between government and religion. While the Constitution prohibits government-backed religion, it protects the rights of religious individuals and organizations to promote their faith. These twin principles have helped freedom and faith to flourish in the United States.

At the same time, Rogers warns of current threats to religious freedom and pluralism in America, the most serious of which are rising hostility toward and attacks on religious minorities. Fearmongering regarding certain religions, races, and ethnicities and the use of violent imagery and dehumanizing language amount to throwing a match on dry kindling. Americans, Rogers argues, must take action to counter these threats. She also warns about efforts to shrink the constitutional bar on governmental establishment of religion and upset a balanced approach to free exercise issues. Faith in American Public Life offers suggestions for confronting these and other challenges.

Rogers walks readers through settled and contested legal issues, providing an accessible guide to many of the most important and timely matters in this field. The legal rules are not perfect, she says, but they have established a framework that produces remarkable freedom and have helped to create a country where religion can be a powerful force for good. Through her knowledgeable analysis and practical recommendations for policymakers and religious leaders, Rogers inspires hope that the genius of the American system can be preserved and perfected and that efforts to find common ground can be renewed.


Melissa Rogers is a nationally known expert on religion in American public life. Her areas of expertise include the United States Constitution’s religious liberty guarantees and the interplay of religion, law, policy, and politics. Rogers currently serves as Visiting Professor at Wake Forest University School of Divinity and as a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Rogers previously served as Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (2013-2017), Chair of President Obama’s inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships (2009-2010), Director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at the Wake Forest University School of Divinity (2003 – 2013), Executive Director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2000 – 2003), and Associate Counsel/General Counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (1994 – 2000).


Rob Lalka is Albert R. Lepage Professor in Business at Tulane University's A.B. Freeman School of Business and the Executive Director of the Albert Lepage Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. He previously served in the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Global Partnerships and was on the Secretary of State’s policy planning staff.


Event date: 

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 5:30pm

Event address: 

St. Charles Avenue Baptist Church - 7100 St Charles Ave, New Orleans, LA 70118
Faith in American Public Life Cover Image
By Melissa Rogers, E. J. Dionne (Foreword by)
$34.95
ISBN: 9781481309707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Baylor University Press - October 15th, 2019

In Faith in American Public Life, Melissa Rogers--former Special Assistant to President Barack Obama and Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships--explores the role of religion in the public square and focuses on principles that define the relationship between government and religion.


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