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Bladensburg Member Joins White House Office of Public Liaison
By Taashi Rowe
D. Paul Monteiro, a member of Allegheny East Conference’s Bladensburg (Md.) church, was recently named religious liaison in the Office of Public Liaison at the White House.
Monteiro, who joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 2006, explains that his office is responsible for engaging “community groups, [and] religious organizations in the business of government and to make sure that the administration knows about significant priorities and special events and dates important to those groups.”
How does he feel about working in the White House? “It is a privilege to be here, especially at this point in time,” he says. “I don’t believe in coincidences, so I take it as a blessing.”
Monteiro says he became attracted to the Adventist Church while growing up just outside of Takoma Park, Md., where many of his friends were Adventists.
“I always admired my [Adventist] friends. There was a difference about them and the way they lived their lives,” he says. He eventually joined the church after studying the Bible with friends.
Monteiro went looking for work on Capitol Hill after earning a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Maryland and a law degree from Howard University School of Law in Washington, D.C. He was inspired to work for then-Senator Barack Obama after reading a speech by the future president, which affirmed the belief that religion does not have to be divisive.
“He was really thoughtful about how faith can be something that brings people together,” Monteiro recalls. He eventually moved to Chicago to work on the presidential campaign as Obama’s deputy director of religious affairs. For him, working at the White House, in a capacity where he supports and works with faith groups, is another opportunity for him to “represent Christ in everything I do.”
“Faith puts—and I welcome it—an obligation on me to treat other people with the respect that I would like to have and to be as honest and transparent as possible,” Monteiro explains. “I meet with all kinds of groups … and each one is just as important as the rest.”