Amanda Tyler is executive director of BJC. She leads the organization as it upholds the historic Baptist principle of religious liberty, defending the free exercise of religion and protecting against its establishment by government.
Tyler often speaks in churches, educational institutions and denominational gatherings, and she provides commentary on church-state issues to the media. A member of the Texas and U.S. Supreme Court Bar, Tyler has experience working in Congress, in a private legal practice and serving as a law clerk for a federal judge.
Called a “powerful advocate” and “rising star in the sector” by The Nonprofit Times, she was named one of the nation’s top 50 nonprofit leaders in 2018. Tyler was named “Baptist of the Year” by EthicsDaily.com in 2019 for her work leading the Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign. She also co-hosts the Respecting Religion podcast series, and she serves on the board of the Center for Faith, Justice, and Reconciliation.
Originally from Austin, Texas, Tyler grew up hearing about the cherished Baptist principles of religious liberty and the separation of church and state as a member of Highland Park Baptist Church. Because she was committed to these principles, Tyler sought out BJC when she moved to Washington to attend Georgetown University, and she began volunteering in the office.
Tyler graduated from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown with a bachelor’s degree in foreign service, magna cum laude. She was hired by BJC to serve as assistant to the general counsel, working closely with Brent Walker, James Dunn, Melissa Rogers and Holly Hollman. During this time, she wrote columns for Report from the Capital, drafted statements on religious liberty issues, presented educational programs and coordinated the broad coalition in support of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
Tyler left BJC to enroll in The University of Texas School of Law, where she received her J.D. with honors. Following law school, Tyler worked in private practice and served as a law clerk for a U.S. district court judge in Dallas, Texas. She later joined the staff of U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett in Austin and Washington, D.C.
In Austin, Tyler served as the congressman’s district director, leading the staff in the development and execution of an outreach agenda for a 7-county congressional district, as well as serving as a spokesperson for his office. She later served as Rep. Doggett’s counsel for the Ways and Means Committee.
A member of First Baptist Church of Washington, D.C., she lives in the city with her husband, Robert Behrendt, and their son, Phelps. You can follow her on Twitter: @AmandaTylerBJC.
Tyler named Outstanding Young Alumna by University of Texas School of Law
Tyler testifies before Congress
Christians Against Christian Nationalism
Faith leaders speak out against Christian nationalism
NPR’s All Things Considered (July 4, 2021)
How outrage for a death row inmate may have flipped the justices for religious liberty
Commentary by Amanda Tyler for Religion News Service
Tax Plan Could Mean Politics At The Pulpit
Amanda Tyler discusses the protections of the Johnson Amendment on NPR (Nov. 28, 2017)