By Colin Harris

Baptist icon George W. Truett was the focus of a recent high school assembly in Hayesville, North Carolina, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Clay County native’s birth.

An invitation to participate in the event sent me to Keith Durso’s excellent biography of the Baptist icon, titled Thy Will Be Done.

Recent efforts by state legislatures to propose and enact “religious liberty” bills also prompted a look back at what is regarded by many as Truett’s landmark address on the topic in May 1920.
Southern Baptists were meeting in Washington, D.C., and the Dallas pastor was asked to offer an extra-agenda address from the Capitol steps.

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Colin Harris is professor emeritus of religious studies at Mercer University and a member of Smoke Rise Baptist Church in Stone Mountain, Georgia. This article originally appeared on
and was reprinted in Report from the Capital with permission.

A version of the full article appeared in the November/December 2017 edition of Report from the Capital. You can also read the digital version of the magazine or view it as a PDF