The author of The Language of God: 'A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief has been outspoken about his faith in the past.
''The NIH director needs to focus on science,'' Collins told the Associated Press on Monday. ''I have no religious agenda for the NIH.''
The AP reports that Collins resigned from the Web site the day before assuming his new job, but was proud of its work.
"I do think the current battle that's going on in our culture between extreme voices is not a productive one," he said. "The chance to play some kind of useful role in that conversation by pointing out the potential harmony was something that seemed to be making some inroads."
Update: Family Research Council's David Prentice responds to Collins, who supports using embryos for research and helped Obama craft his policy for the NIH. "Saying that one is a devout evangelical Christian while promoting embryo and cloning experiments, is a bit akin to claiming to be a devout Druid while promoting clear-cutting of forests," Prentice writes.