The Baptist Joint Committee is the only faith-based agency devoted solely to religious liberty and the institutional separation of church and state. Since 1936, the BJC has continuously provided reliable leadership on church-state issues as it leads coalitions of groups striving to protect both the free exercise of religion and to defend against its establishment by government. Read more.
Baptists value religious freedom and separation of church and state because we suffered the hard lessons of history. The Baptist commitment to religious liberty is centered on our freedom to worship without efforts by the government to advance or restrain religion. God has made us all free – free to say yes, free to say no, and free to make up our own minds about our spiritual destiny. The BJC believes that a threat to anyone’s religious liberty is a threat to everyone‘s liberty. Read more
The separation of church and state is a shorthand metaphor for expressing a deeper truth: religious liberty is best protected when church and state are institutionally separated and neither tries to perform or interfere with the mission and work of the other. It does not require a “segregation” of religion from public life, but it serves both religion clauses in the First Amendment, insisting upon no establishment of religion and ensuring the free exercise of religion. Read more
For now, the proposed Senate tax bill leaves intact the Johnson Amendment, while the House version, which would gut that key protection for houses of worship, heads for a vote.
When students at an Islamic High School in New Jersey were confronted with hateful and bigoted comments about their faith, they responded with information and understanding.
A federal judge in Texas is asking FEMA and other interested parties to offer arguments in defense of the agency’s policy not to award grants to houses of worship out of church-state concerns.
The Baptist tradition of standing up for religious freedom for all is not new. One of the great privileges of my work so far this year has been to tell that story, a reminder to the many who know it and a welcome surprise to the many more who do not.
While the holding of this decision may be narrow, its tone is unfortunate and ahistorical, as aptly noted in the dissent. Treating churches in a distinct way has long been part of our religious liberty tradition.
In his statements both during and after the hearing, Sen. Sanders seems to conflate Vought’s religious exclusivism with political exclusivism.