"Gandhi called the world's religions beautiful flowers from the same garden," Kerry said as he named Shaun Casey of Virginia as special advisor to head the Office of Faith-Based Community Initiatives.

"..there is common ground between the Abrahamic faiths, and, in fact, between the Abrahamic faiths and all religions and philosophies, whether you're talking about Hindu or Confucianism or any other of the many of the world’s different approaches to our existence here on the planet and to our relationship with a supreme being," Kerry said.

"All of these faiths are virtuous and they are in fact, most of them, tied together by the golden rule, as well as fundamental concerns about the human condition, about poverty, about relationships between people, our responsibilities each to each other. And they all come from the same human heart,” he said.

The new office will set department policy on engagement with faith-based communities and will work in conjunction with bureaus and posts to reach out to those communities to advance the department's diplomacy and development objectives, the State department said.

It will also work closely with faith communities to ensure that their voices are heard in the foreign policy process, including through continued collaboration with the department's religion and foreign policy working group.


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