BJC scholarship contest expands with video category

The connection between book bans and Christian nationalism is this year’s topic

Jan 3, 2024

Media contact: Karlee Marshall | [email protected] | 580-224-1817

WASHINGTON—The annual Religious Liberty Scholarship Contest returns this year in an expanded format, aiming to creatively engage high school students in church-state issues. In the past, the contest was limited to essays. This year, students also have the option of creating a TikTok-style video submission. 

The prompt is the same for the essay category and TikTok-style video category:   

Book bans are sweeping the United States, and they have significant implications for religious freedom. Attempts to censor books are often justified with religious appeals for why no one should read the book. The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented more demands to censor library books and resources in 2022 than any year since they began compiling data more than 20 years ago. 


In an essay or TikTok-style video, illuminate the connection between Christian nationalism and book bans in the United States. 

Entries will be judged on the depth of their content, mastery of the topic and the skill with which they are produced. Each submission should define Christian nationalism, describe how the ideology inspires efforts to ban books, and offer ideas for effective ways to respond to book bans in ways that support religious freedom for everyone. 

Open to high school juniors and seniors, the grand prizes for the winning essay and the winning TikTok-style video are the same: $2,000 each. The runner-up in each category will receive $500. All submissions are due by March 15, 2024. 

“It’s critical for us to hear from the next generation in the United States,” said the Rev. Janna Louie, BJC’s chief of staff. “Religious freedom connects to many other issues in our society, and students will live with the impact of book bans for years to come.”

The venture into TikTok-style video submissions follows BJC’s launch of its first TikTok account, @endchristiannationalism. That account was launched on January 6, 2023, to coincide with BJC’s Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign marking the second anniversary of the insurrection. More than 40,000 TikTok users have followed the account since its creation less than one year ago. Reckon News covered the spread of Christian nationalism online, highlighting the work of Christians Against Christian Nationalism in countering that spread.

“TikTok is one of the many places we are educating and mobilizing Christians to oppose Christian nationalism,” said Georgia McKee, BJC’s digital communications associate who often stars in videos for the @endchristiannationalism TikTok channel. “Reaching people where they are allows us to communicate in an authentic way, expanding BJC’s audience and the base of support for religious freedom. We’re marshaling decades of BJC’s policy expertise in new and creative ways.” 

All high school juniors and seniors are invited to submit entries for the scholarship contest – there are no religious, extracurricular or GPA requirements. Visit for the entry forms and complete contest rules. For questions about the contest, email [email protected] .

BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) is an 88-year-old religiously based organization working to defend faith freedom for all and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition. BJC is the home of the Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign.