Advocacy: Take action today
We urge you to engage your community and your lawmakers at every level to make sure your voice is heard about issues affecting religious liberty.
Soon, you will be able to sign up for email alerts about opportunities in real time (coming fall 2018). Return to this page in the future for details, or sign up for our current email list to be notified when the list is up and running.
You can take action today by signing the letter at Faith-Voices.org to keep the Johnson Amendment and committing to be an upstander or religious liberty by responding to hate rhetoric and getting to Know Your Neighbor. See the sidebar for more details.
Contacting your government leaders
The legislative branch of government makes the laws by which we live. The executive branch enforces the laws. Whether on the local, state or national level, the men and women who comprise the legislative and executive branches represent you. These public officials are in positions of leadership to hear from constituents and represent their interests in government.
Constituents, therefore, play a crucial role in the governmental process. By ensuring elected officials are aware of your support for or opposition to an issue or piece of legislation, you can influence what happens in Washington, D.C., or in your state. Knowing where to look to find information about your representatives is helpful. For a comprehensive web resource on Congress, including pending legislation, visit Congress.gov, powered by the Library of Congress. You can also view contact information for the members of the U.S. House of Representatives and members of the U.S. Senate online.
Personal visits and emails are often effective means of communicating your positions. Whether in the form of visits, written communication or phone calls, each advocacy method has a certain protocol that should be followed for the greatest impact. Knowing the best methods of advocacy could make a difference.
In addition to their Washington office, each member of Congress has an office in their home district or state where they receive visitors by appointment. Click here to read the “5 Ps for Lobbying a Member of Congress” guide as a printable PDF document.
Letter Writing and Email
A letter and an email should be equally formal.
• Address it to “The Honorable (first and last name of official).” Include this on the envelope and on the letter or e-mail.
• Include a salutation: “Dear Senator/Representative/Governor (last name of official).”
• Include your full name, address, phone number and email address.
• Conclude both a letter and an email with: “Sincerely, (your first and last name).”
• In the body of the correspondence, follow the suggestions above for presenting your position and asking for support.
• After the vote on the legislation, write a polite note to thank the legislator and respond to his or her vote. Remember, there will be other issues of concern, and you will want to have the official’s ear and respect so you can address him or her on those issues in the future.
Note: Email is often the best method of contacting an official. Traditional mail is delayed by the necessary security screening. Most offices will send a response to your email inquiry.
• Have notes prepared so you can stick to the subject.
• State your name and address, making sure to mention that you are a constituent.
• Ask to speak with the staff person who has responsibility for the subject matter about which you wish to speak.
• State your opinion clearly and concisely. The legislator’s staff generally keeps a tally of public opinion; therefore you do not have to go into great detail.
• Be courteous and appreciative of their time.
It is important always to be respectful, persistent and confident in your communications with lawmakers. People are more likely to be open to what you have to say if you are well-informed and courteous. Do not hesitate to make repeated efforts if your issue is not acted upon. Constituents are a priority for elected officials. They work for you, and they will want to hear what you have to say.
Get to Know Your Neighbor — learn more about ways to take action and participate in the Know Your Neighbor program.
BJC Executive Director Amanda Tyler introduced action steps during the 2017 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon. You can watch her entire remarks below: