By BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler

This Saturday, we will mark the 20th anniversary of a defining day for modern Americans: Every one of us old enough to remember Tuesday, September 11, 2001 has the details of it seared on our memories.

I had just started law school at the University of Texas in Austin. I was rushing to my early morning Civil Procedure class when I saw a large group of students gathered around the big screen television in the student lounge area. At that point, the first plane had struck the World Trade Center, but the enormity of…


By Kristan Pitts

“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.”
-Audre Lorde

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.”
― Assata Shakur, Assata: An Autobiography

“It is in collectivities that we find reservoirs of hope and optimism.”
― Angela Y. Davis,
Freedom Is a Constant Struggle

A word I frequently use in my personal lexicon is “spicy.” Colloquially, the term “spicy” is used to mean “good, bad, or interesting.” Audre Lorde, Assata Shakur, and Angela Davis’ lives and legacies may be deemed “spicy” by some. …


By Bryan Kelley
Denver, Colorado

I really enjoyed my time as a BJC Fellow — unexpectedly, this one-year program ended up becoming a two-year program thanks to changes and delays tied to the COVID-19 pandemic (and I continue to be thankful BJC was very reasonable and proactive in adjusting plans in light of COVID!). I’ve been a big fan of BJC’s important work promoting religious liberty for all for a long time, so I am not surprised I ended up loving my time as a BJC Fellow and the few days I spent together with the other BJC Fellows in Colonial Williamsburg. …


By Rev. Brittany Stillwell

We gathered in Colonial Williamsburg from our scattered places all over the country, a diverse group of BJC Fellows with various faith backgrounds. This was an event almost two years in the making, finally realized after a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I was excited to meet everyone. We were a diverse group, and this diversity was both intriguing and nerve-racking. We started with small talk: getting acquainted, forming connections and finding common interests as the people we had only experienced behind a screen slowly became real and embodied.

It wasn’t until the first dinner…


By Chairman Terry Rambler of the San Carlos Apache Tribe

Despite sustained efforts by the U.S. government to criminalize Native American religions beginning in 1883 and continuing until passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act in 1978, Western Apaches, like many Native American tribes, steadfastly maintained traditional religious beliefs and ceremonies rooted in sacred places.

Among our most sacred places is Chí’chil Biłdagoteel, also known as Oak Flat. Chí’chil Biłdagoteel holds the foundation of our religious beliefs, no different than St. Peter’s Basilica, the Mount of Olives or the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

The federal government is now…


By BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler

For the first time since 2010, July 4 falls on a Sunday. Many churches will be faced with an even stronger temptation than in other years to turn their regular Sunday morning service into a celebration of Independence Day.

To be sure, many churchgoers will also be faced with the dilemma of whether to skip Sunday services altogether in favor of extra time at the lake. Perhaps that is why First Baptist Dallas scheduled its annual “Freedom Sunday’’ a week early this year. The service started with a medley of patriotic songs, followed by…


By Marv Knox and Stephen Reeves

We’re looking forward to celebrating Independence Day 2021. We’ll relish hot dogs, savor ice cream, and ooh and ahh at fireworks. But even as starry blasts reflect in our eyes and kabooms rattle our ribs, our minds will wander.

We’ll be thinking about thousands of refugees who have flocked to the U.S.-Mexico border, seeking security in this country we call home. They would love to stand here, beside us, the next time the Fourth of July rolls around.

We just returned from meeting many of them: We traversed 1,563 miles over nine days. We…


By Madison McClendon

As a queer person, I felt deep pain while reading this past week’s Supreme Court ruling regarding the ability of queer people to be considered as foster parents by certain agencies. Regardless of their intention, their actions leave me feeling dehumanized.

It might seem hard to see how I can support religious liberty after this case. The arguments from the plaintiffs against the city of Philadelphia, that their religious freedom required them to judge as unworthy any parents that might look or think or love the way I do, was painful. They want to be able to…


By Rev. Christopher M. The

Facts.

That’s how some of us show agreement and support. To say the word “facts” in reply to what we resonate with and find truth within, communicates our assessment of a claim exchanged in truth-telling dialogue. Just as folks in certain Christian circles may tend to do when replying with an instinctive, otherwise involuntary “amen.”

But the fact of the matter is that there are some construals of faith freedom that can be so myopic. (Can I get an “amen”?) In the shadow of white Christian nationalism, those forces having been normative for so long…


By Richard Chung

During the month of May, Charles Watson, Jr., the director of education at BJC, held three conversations with Asian American faith leaders in honor of AAPI Heritage Month. Rev. Lauren Ng, Dr. Khyati Joshi, and Tahil Sharma shared their thoughts about how their Asian American identity shapes their own faith as well as their insights about faith freedom and religious liberty from an Asian American perspective. As each guest speaker shared about their family’s religious history and their own religious upbringing, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own.

Every Sunday from when I was a toddler…

BJC- Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty

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

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