WASHINGTON (RNS) Amid persistent criticism that the U.S. marginalizes religion and religious people in its foreign policy, Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday (Aug. 7) tapped ethicist and campaign adviser Shaun Casey to lead the State Department’s new Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives.

Casey is a professor of Christian ethics at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington and advised President Obama’s campaign and other Democrats on outreach to religious voters.

Kerry praised Casey as someone who understands how the U.S. can engage religious communities around the world to foster peace and development.

“In a world where people of all faiths are migrating and mingling like never before,” Kerry said, “we ignore the global impact of religion at our peril.”

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