“Johnson Cook is an experienced religious leader with a passion for human rights and an impressive record of public service,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. “President Obama could not have found a more fitting choice for this important position.”
Johnson Cook, dubbed “America’s chaplain” in her publicity materials, founded Bronx Christian Fellowship Church in New York in 1996. In 2002, she was the first woman elected to head the prestigious Hampton University Ministers’ Conference of black clergy.
Known as a dynamic preacher and self-help guru — The New York Times called her a cross between Billy Graham and Oprah Winfrey — Johnson Cook advised the Clinton White House on racial issues.
“For me, there’s never been a choice of faith or politics,” she said in an interview last fall. “It’s the fusion of both and how I can be helpful but not compromised.”