Written by Don Byrd

Speaking at the Religious Liberty Council Luncheon in Atlanta, Georgia, last week, Baptist Joint Committee Executive Director Amanda Tyler introduced ways we can all help overcome bigotry and hatred targeting religious minorities, and she explained the importance of that effort for the cause of religious liberty. The BJC broadcast the address on Facebook Live – you can watch it here.

Here is a key excerpt:

[O]ur focus is rightly on holding government accountable. But as several recent events have demonstrated, religious freedom can also be jeopardized by acts of individuals. The desecration of graves in Jewish cemeteries, harassment and bullying of Muslim neighbors, vandalism of mosques, synagogues and churches all present challenges to our national experiment of freedom for a religiously diverse people.

For some of our neighbors, more than the freedom to worship is at stake. Their very existence is being challenged and threatened. The dramatic surge in hate rhetoric and violence directed at religious minorities over the past several months is as much a threat to religious liberty as any act of Congress or Executive Order signed by the president.

And these individual acts require both a response from our officials but also from “We, the People.” Not only must law enforcement investigate and prosecute criminal acts, and political leaders denounce bigotry, but we, citizens and co-sustainers of our democracy must not abandon the important roles we play in protecting religious liberty for all.

She goes on to describe a few ideas for actions we can take to show support for religious liberty for all, and for our neighbors of all faith traditions. 

Visit the BJC’s new Take Action page dedicated to this issue. Print a sign for your home or house or worship, use social media to post pictures, and tell your story of community interfaith engagement. And be sure to tag the BJC on Twitter (@BJContheHill), or use the hashtag #BaptistJointCommittee on Facebook and Instagram. You can also use the hashtag #WelcomeYourNeighbors to join others online.

As a supporter, I am proud of the BJC’s leadership in the Know Your Neighbor campaign. The BJC is facilitating action to help us all reach out to, welcome, and get to know our neighbors. And they recognize this as an act of not only civic engagement and good citizenship, but also as a necessary step toward standing up for those who are gravely threatened today.

Get started – visit http://bjconline.org/Neighbors/ – and spread the word!