Written by Don Byrd

[Update: See the BJC’s coverage in the November/December edition of Report from the Capital at this link, and see Bob Allen’s coverage of Tyler’s testimony for Baptist News Global’s here: “Baptist leader promotes balanced view of religious liberty before Senate panel“]

Today the Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on “Threats to Religious Liberty Around the World,” featuring three panelists including Baptist Joint Committee Executive Director Amanda Tyler. You can watch video of the hearing, which lasted about an hour and a half, at this link.

In her opening remarks, Tyler emphasized “five current trends” that require attention:

  1. We must restore our reputation in the wake of President Trump’s statements against Muslims and travel ban policy.
  2. We must acknowledge and address violence and rhetoric directed against religious minorities in the U.S. and abroad.
  3. We must reject overreaching on religious liberty exemptions, which threatens widespread support for religious freedom.
  4. Congress should address recent backtracking on religious liberty protections for social service beneficiaries.
  5. Beware of the use of the term “religious liberty” to promote bad policy.

You can watch her elaborate on each of those points during her opening statement — it’s embedded above, and it also begins at the 48:33 mark of the video of the entire hearing, which is embedded. Followup exchanges between Tyler and Senator Hirono (D-Hawaii) take place between 1:02:41 and 1:12:44 on topics ranging from the substantial burden test in RFRA to the Johnson Amendment.

You can read Tyler’s prepared remarks here.