Religion and Polarized Politics: Peter Wehner and Melissa Rogers on Revitalizing Democratic Pluralism

A moderated discussion between two former White House officials.



Emerson Auditorium in Knight Hall Washington University in St. Louis

One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130


  • Religion and Polarized Politics: Peter Wehner and Melissa Rogers on Revitalizing Democratic Pluralism

    Melissa Rogers, Peter Wehner (February 12, 2019)

Please join us for an important and timely conversation between two former White House officials. Peter Wehner served in the Reagan and G.H.W. Bush administrations and Melissa Rogers served in the Obama administration and they will share their experiences with the relationship between religion and U.S. politics from within the executive branch, as well as consider current issues of religion in public life. There will be time for audience Q&A, as well as a reception for all immediately following the event.

Melissa Rogers is a nonresident senior fellow in Governance Studies at The Brookings Institution. She recently 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. Rogers previously served as chair of the inaugural Advisory Council on Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Prior to that she was director of the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University Divinity School. She has also served as executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Her area of expertise includes the First Amendment’s religion clauses, religion in American public life, and the interplay of religion, policy, and politics. Rogers co-authored a case book on religion and law for Baylor University Press, Religious Freedom and the Supreme Court. She holds a J.D. from University of Pennsylvania Law School and a B.A. from Baylor University.

Peter Wehner is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He has written widely on political, cultural, religious, and national-security issues. Wehner has written for numerous publications—including The Wall Street JournalWashington PostThe AtlanticFinancial Times, the Weekly StandardNational ReviewCommentaryNational AffairsChristianity Today and Time magazine. In 2015 he was named a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, where he writes a monthly column. He has also appeared frequently as a commentator on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, CBS, and C-SPAN television.

Wehner served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush Administrations prior to becoming deputy director of speechwriting for President George W. Bush. In 2002 he was asked to head the Office of Strategic Initiatives and he has also worked on several presidential campaigns. Wehner is author of City of Man: Religion and Politics in a New Era (co-authored with Michael J. Gerson) and Wealth and Justice: The Morality of Democratic Capitalism (co-authored with Arthur C. Brooks). He is presently writing a book for HarperCollins, which will be published in the spring of 2019; the topic is a defense of politics rightly understood.

This event is cosponsored with the WU Law Public Interest Law & Policy Speakers Series.

This event is free and open to all.


  • Melissa Rogers

  • Peter Wehner

  • R. Marie Griffith

    John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities