Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest

jefferson for essay contest

Each year, the Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest engages high school students in church-state issues by directing them to express a point of view on a religious liberty topic. Essays are judged on the depth of their content, the mastery of the topic, and the skill with which they are written. Students should develop a point of view on the issue and demonstrate critical thinking, using appropriate examples, reasons and other evidence to support their position. 

The annual contest is sponsored by the Religious Liberty Council of the Baptist Joint Committee. The grand prize is $2,000 and a trip for two to Washington, D.C. Second prize is $1,000, and third prize is $500.

The entry deadline for the 2017 contest has now passed. Winners are expected to be announced by the end of summer.

Please return to this page in the future for the latest on the 2017 contest.

Details on the 2018 contest will be released by the end of 2017.

2016 Contest Results




For the 2016 Contest, students were asked to consider whether an elected or appointed official should be able to opt out of certain required duties, such as issuing a gun license, due to a closely held religious belief. Entries should have also touched on how far the government should go to accommodate those beliefs. Click here to read about winner Alyssa Bragg’s trip to Washington, D.C.

Grand Prize

Alyssa Bragg
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Second Prize

Haley Warren
Charlottesville, Virginia

Third Prize

Ellie Gardiner
Bernalillo, New Mexico

Watch Previous Winners Read Their Essays