At Baptist News Global, Robert Dilday has a fantastic interview with Baptist Joint Committee Executive Director Brent Walker. Starting with Brent’s 25 years of experience working on religious liberty issues with the BJC, the interview is full of insight about the last quarter century of religious liberty in America. I am particularly struck by his description of the changing landscape of church-state advocacy.
Here is just one excerpt:
Protecting religious liberty is a challenge for every generation. But do you find it easier or harder than in the past to make the case for religious liberty? And do you see it becoming easier or more difficult in the future?
I think it has gotten harder. The rise of the religious right over the past quarter century — and their well-funded advocacy groups — sometimes makes it difficult to enforce strong Establishment Clause values. But the more recent rise in the strength of the secular left, and their perhaps not-quite-so-well-funded advocacy groups, can sometimes make fighting for the free exercise of religion more difficult. Establishment Clause issues have always divided us. Free Exercise issues — once a rallying point for some agreement — have become more divisive now, too. Sorry to say, I think these trends will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.
One thing I have always loved about the BJC is their position as strong advocate for both religion clauses. They really do occupy an increasingly rare space between the shrill voices for one clause or the other. The BJC’s voice has likely never been needed more than now. Read the whole thing.