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Amanda Tyler is executive director of BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty), leading 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. She is the lead organizer of BJC’s Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign and co-host of BJC’s Respecting Religion podcast.
Tyler’s constitutional law analysis and advocacy for faith freedom for all have been featured by major news outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, CBS News, ABC News, CNN, and MSNBC. Religion News Service named Tyler one of “2022’s rising stars in religion,” and she regularly preaches in Baptist churches, speaks at denominational gatherings, and leads sessions on college campuses and with community groups of all sizes.
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. She testified before Congress in 2022 about the ways in which Christian nationalism proves cover for white supremacy and in 2018 about threats to religious liberty around the world.
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 University 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. In 2019, the school named her their “Outstanding Young Alumna.”
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.
Tyler was named executive director of BJC in 2016, and she began her tenure in January 2017. 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 talks to MSNBC about Christian nationalism and January 6
Tyler named Outstanding Young Alumna by University of Texas School of Law
Tyler testifies before Congress
Democracy and Faith Under Siege: Responding to Christian Nationalism
Amanda talks with Ayman Mohyeldin about Christian nationalism
Read BJC columns by Amanda and read additional commentary on BJC’s Medium channel
Listen to podcasts hosted by Amanda:
Respecting Religion series, 2020-present
The Dangers of Christian Nationalism series in 2019
Marjorie Taylor Greene’s words on Christian nationalism are a wake-up call
By Amanda Tyler for CNN (July 27, 2022)
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
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)
Read the latest BJC news mentions
Baptist Joint Committee names Amanda Tyler next executive director