By Jennifer Hawks

On April 21, the U.S. House of Representatives took an important step to protect religious freedom in immigration by passing H.R. 1333, the NO BAN Act, on a bipartisan vote. This bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion in immigration decisions and adds accountability measures on any future temporary immigration bans.

Adding religion as a protected category in the Immigration and Nationality Act is a commonsense move to ensure that American immigration policy complies with the First Amendment. The United States has served as a beacon for religious freedom throughout history, but the country has not…


By Jennifer Lindsey

There is a reason that the colorful hats that you see jauntily perched atop the heads of many African American women during Sunday church service are commonly referred to as “crowns.” To the African American community, hats and hairstyles are beautiful and culturally significant. While the art of hair braiding predates the arrival of African slaves onto American shores, the freedom to create economic opportunity for oneself is as American as apple pie.

For many decades, skilled hair braiders were limited to working from their front porch or on the floor of their living room. In 1999…


By Kristina Garrison-Clark

Sojourner Truth was a preacher, author, abolitionist, and women’s rights activist in the 19th century. She was also a woman who experienced grief, sorrow, love, disappointment, and resistance. Her life story reveals her tribulations, afflictions, endurance, and hope. Her belief in God provided her guidance throughout her journey and provided her strength to endure and create hope for many generations to come.

Born around 1797 in Ulster County, New York, Sojourner Truth was born Isabella “Belle”, to her mother Elizabeth and father James, as a Dutch speaking slave. She was the second youngest of what was thought…


By Sonia R. Myrick

“Hello,” was all she had the chance to say to the hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Washington, D.C., for the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, before the microphone was snatched away from her and she was whisked off stage. It probably was a good thing that Gloria Richardson, a key figure in the development of the Black Power Movement, did not get to speak for the two minutes she had been told she’d have that day. She thought the Civil Rights Bill was weak and the NAACP ineffective…


By Karlee Marshall

Right across the street from the BJC office sits the Belmont-Paul Women’s Equality National Monument and headquarters for the National Woman’s Party (NWP). In 1918, the Indigenous suffragist, writer, musician, and political activist Zitkala-Ša (Lakota: “Red Bird”) (pronounced Zit-KA-la Sha) spoke to members of the NWP and stood hand in hand with other white suffragists to fight for women’s right to vote. …


By Taunia L. Bean

Looking back to my upbringing in the 1980s and the idea that women can “have it all,” I remember a TV commercial with an attractive young woman asserting, “I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never, never, never let you forget you’re a man!” As funny as that memory seems to me now, the fact that I can still repeat this 1979 ad for Enjoi perfume word-for-word shows the impact it had on me and the culture of the time. We were breaking out of traditional roles and feeling the…


By BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler

James Baldwin assessed the possibility of progress on racial justice in the New York Times in 1969. It was a bleak but realistic diagnosis of the problem: “the bulk of this country’s white population … have been white, if I may so put it, too long.”

At our virtual luncheon event last summer, Robert P. Jones challenged the BJC community to think about how American Christianity has been “white too long.” …


By Rev. Dr. Courtney Pace

Prathia Hall (1940–2002), civil rights activist, preacher, and professor, was a preacher’s kid from Philadelphia who learned social gospel ministry from her father, the Rev. Berkeley Hall. She found her voice through church programs, debate competitions, and community support. While in college, she joined an ecumenical social justice organization, Fellowship House, where she learned nonviolent resistance. After graduating from Temple University, Hall went to the South to join the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in southwest Georgia.

Hall was one of the few female field workers in SNCC. Because of the immense danger of door-to-door…


By Rev. Dr. Meredith Stone

In July 1848, the first-ever women’s rights convention in the United States was held in Seneca Falls, New York. A product of that convention was the Declaration of Sentiments, which was signed by 68 women and 32 men and principally authored by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In the style of the Declaration of Independence, the Declaration of Sentiments called for equal rights for women including suffrage, the right to choose work and retain wages, education, equality in marriage, and much more.

Of the 68 women who signed the Declaration of Sentiments, two of them have undoubtedly…


By Jennifer Hawks

When we think of the great Baptist heroes who championed religious freedom for all people in America, we often think of Roger Williams, John Leland, Isaac Backus, George W. Truett or Martin Luther King Jr. As with most historical narratives, stories about the fight for faith freedom for all often leave women in the shadows. To celebrate Women’s History Month, BJC is introducing several stories of women who played a role in fighting for freedom, including religious freedom.

To kick off BJC’s honoring of women’s stories, I wanted to start in Colonial America with Jane Verin, the…

BJC- Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

Our mission is to defend and extend #FaithFreedomForAll. BJConline.org

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store