Faces of Religious Liberty

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Five people share why defending and extending God-given religious liberty for all matters to them.

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State-sponsored Christian missionaries trampled on the religious liberty rights of Mitch Randall’s Native American great-grandmother, and she ultimately rejected the church. Now a pastor, Randall is passionate about protecting religious freedom for all people, knowing that even good intentions can cause irreparable harm when religion is forced on others.

 

When Jeffrey Haggray fought for equality and justice in college, he found himself side-by-side with others who battled a type of discrimination he had never personally experienced: religious discrimination. His work to affirm the worth of all people meant doing so regardless of things basic to each person’s identity, which includes skin color and religious belief.

 

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The day after his son was born, Brad Bull stood up against a government-sponsored Ten Commandments display. He found himself not just battling an establishment of religion but explaining the Baptist heritage of separation of church and state to those close to him. Bull’s young family was ostracized by many in the community until an evening of reconciliation and reinstatement.

 

While pretending to be a pirate on the playground with his elementary school classmates, Madison McClendon unearthed a teachable moment. A misunderstanding over an “X” drawn in the sand illuminated the deep religious differences and convictions of his friends, and a talk with the teacher opened his eyes to the importance of respecting the religious belief of other people.

 

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During her newborn daughter’s fight for her life in the hospital, Mary Elizabeth Hanchey struck up a friendship with a Muslim mother who was dealing with a similar situation. Their shared struggles and experiences in caring for their children while drawing strength from their different religious beliefs reminded her that a threat to the religious liberty of her friend is a threat to her own freedom.

 

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