American flag waving in blue skyBy BJC Staff Reports

Entries are now being accepted for the 2017 Religious Liberty Essay Scholarship Contest, open to all high school juniors and seniors. To enter, students must write an essay on the following topic and submit it to the Baptist Joint Committee by March 10, 2017:

The United States, along with many other countries, gives safe haven to refugees of war-torn countries. Many factors are taken into account when determining who is allowed to enter our borders. During the 2016 presidential campaign, there was discussion around the idea of denying entrance to some immigrants and refugees based on their religion.

In an essay, discuss whether a religious test should be conducted as a part of the United States’ immigration and refugee policies.

Explore the intersection, if any, between the proposed test and the two religion clauses in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Be sure to identify the implications for religious liberty of all citizens in your answer.

There is no religious requirement for entering the contest, which is sponsored by the Religious Liberty Council. Complete rules, details and entry forms are available at

From the November/December 2016 edition of Report from the Capital. You can also read the digital version of the magazine or view it as a PDF.