The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty’s mission is to defend and extend God-given religious liberty for all, furthering the Baptist heritage that champions the principle that religion must be freely exercised, neither advanced nor inhibited by government.

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Religious Liberty for ALL

The Baptist Joint Committee works to improve the public’s understanding of our constitutional values by standing up for religious minorities and anyone being targeted solely because of his or her faith.

The BJC believes that a threat to anyone’s religious liberty is a threat to everyone’s religious liberty. The American experiment in religious liberty has been successful in large part because it has been able to protect the religious freedom of “fringe” religions — from Baptists in colonial times to Catholics and Mormons in the 19th Century to Jehovah’s Witnesses and Christian Scientists in the 20th.

From our coalition efforts with members of other religions to our work standing up for the right of all individuals to practice their faith freely (or practice no faith), the BJC defends both our fellow Christians and individuals whose beliefs differ from our own.

While helping to ensure our Constitution’s promise of religious liberty in a vibrant religious landscape, the BJC seeks to foster open discussion about religion and matters of faith.

Recent court cases:
Holt v. Hobbs, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on Jan. 20, 2015. The BJC joined a brief defending a Muslim prisoner’s right to have a beard for religious reasons. A unanimous Supreme Court agreed, declaring that the prisoner can exercise his religious belief by adhering to certain religious grooming standards.

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. , decided by the U.S. Supreme Court on June 1, 2015. The BJC joined a brief that says employers have a duty to reasonably accommodate the religion of employees and avoid discrimination against prospective employees. The Supreme Court agreed in an 8-1 decision.

Islamic Society of Basking Ridge v. Township of BernardsThe BJC  joined a brief in the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in 2016 asserting that the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act prohibits different municipal rules for building a mosque than for a church.

Recent initiatives:
In 2015, the Baptist Joint Committee began its work with other organizations in the Know Your Neighbor coalition, calling on all Americans to share their own beliefs as well as understand and respect those of others. The coalition believes that dialogue is desperately needed to reduce religious tensions and maximize the strength of our nation’s diverse heritage. 

Continue to scroll for examples of our work and articles for additional reading.

For Further Reading

“Unprecedented” call to close U.S. borders to Muslims is un-American
BJC blog
December 2015

Reaching out to our Muslim neighbors
By BJC Executive Director J. Brent Walker
May 2013

Protect religious liberty: Reject false narratives, big and small; condemn violence, not religion
By BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman
Nov/Dec 2015

Fear fuels anti-Sharia initiatives
By BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman
February 2011

Religious liberty in America:
An enduring promise

By BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman and Hoda Elshishtawy from the Muslim Public Affairs Council
Distributed June 2013 by Common Ground News Service

Improving dialogue on religion in public life
By BJC General Counsel Holly Hollman
January 2010

No sabbatical for religious liberty
By BJC Executive Director J. Brent Walker
October 2010