Written by Don Byrd

Today’s must-read is an op-ed by Baptist Joint Committee General Counsel Holly Hollman published in the Waco Tribune. She discusses the U.S. Supreme Court’s troubling decision in Trinity Lutheran Church, placing it in the context of the historic Baptist tradition of demanding church-state separation. Specifically, Hollman takes on the view, expressed by former Baylor University President Ken Starr and others that the ruling is a win for religious freedom.

Here is an excerpt:

[T]he former president of the world’s largest Baptist university ignored a constitutional cornerstone treasured by Baptists: the First Amendment’s prohibition on government establishment of religion. Worse yet, he perpetuates the politically expedient yet woefully inaccurate idea that a rule designed to avoid funding churches is hostile to religion. Instead, it is a central component of protecting religious liberty, church autonomy and voluntary religion.

[S]eparating the institutions of the church from those of the state is vital to the preservation of true religion. If churches are no different from other charitable organizations, we have lost or greatly diluted the power of the Gospel. Religious exemptions become hard to defend. To maintain the independence and prophetic witness of our churches, we should not allow the government to fund or control them.

Read the whole thing.

For more background and perspective on Trinity Lutheran Church, see the Baptist Joint Committee’s resource page on the case.