All people are born free and equal: BJC staff Q&A with Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons
As BJC’s communications director, Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons leads BJC’s marketing and media strategies to grow, diversify and inspire BJC’s audience to take action. After growing up in Houston, Texas, he earned degrees from American University and Union Theological Seminary. Guthrie is also currently enrolled in the Iliff School of Theology as he works toward a doctor of ministry in the prophetic leadership program.
What does faith freedom mean to you?
I believe all people are born free and equal in rights and dignity. I believe that faith freedom is a human right, and I look to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as inspiration. Article 18 states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”
What’s one thing you’ve accomplished at BJC that makes you proud?
I loved planning the January 6 vigil this year with our partners at Faithful America. BJC and the Freedom From Religion Foundation released a report documenting the role of Christian nationalism in the January 6 insurrection. The vigil, on the second anniversary of the insurrection, gave us and our partners the chance to show a different vision of how Christians can show up in the public square.
What have you been reading, watching, and listening to lately?
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai, “Schmigadoon” on Apple TV+, and “Dance Fever” by Florence + The Machine
Who inspires you?
The Rev. Dr. William Barber II and the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis have inspired me through their leadership of the Poor People’s Campaign.
What’s your favorite BJC quote or saying?
“[Christian nationalism] often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation.” This line from the Christians Against Christian Nationalism statement is critical to our understanding of white Christian nationalism.
What has been your favorite BJC event during your tenure?
The panel on Christian nationalism at Georgetown University’s Center for Faith + Justice was a favorite because I’ve admired the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, for a long time. I had the opportunity to meet him and hear him speak, which was amazing. I also loved the questions from the students at Georgetown.