Written by Don Byrd

Over at EthicsDaily.com this week, an essay series focuses on the importance of interfaith engagement. In one entry, the Baptist Joint Committee’s Amanda Tyler explains that “Building Interfaith Relationships Furthers Religious Liberty for All.” 

Read the whole thing. Here is an excerpt:

Building relationships is crucial to protecting religious freedom. It is much harder to “otherize” our neighbors when we know them.

And, on the flipside, it is much easier to protect our neighbors’ faith as our own when we come together, have conversation and get to know each other on a personal level.

In other words, to protect religious liberty in these challenging times, loving our neighbor is not enough. We must also know our neighbors and be their friends as they face big and small threats to their freedoms.

The BJC has been a leader in the Know Your Neighbor campaign, which emphasizes that hateful rhetoric and violence can be as much a threat to religious liberty as any official act of government. It is not only up to our political leaders to combat these dangers. We all have a role to play, and action we can take, starting with reaching out across the religious divides within our own communities.

Other articles in the series include: Five Steps for Churches Planning Community Interfaith Dialogues by Pastor Aurelia Davila Pratt, and How to Succeed at Interfaith Dialogue: Act Like 10-Year-Olds by Terry Smith.