The Baptist Joint Committee is the only faith-based agency devoted solely to religious liberty and the institutional separation of church and state. Since 1936, the BJC has continuously provided reliable leadership on church-state issues as it leads coalitions of groups striving to protect both the free exercise of religion and to defend against its establishment by government. Read more.
Baptists value religious freedom and separation of church and state because we suffered the hard lessons of history. The Baptist commitment to religious liberty is centered on our freedom to worship without efforts by the government to advance or restrain religion. God has made us all free – free to say yes, free to say no, and free to make up our own minds about our spiritual destiny. The BJC believes that a threat to anyone’s religious liberty is a threat to everyone‘s liberty. Read more
The separation of church and state is a shorthand metaphor for expressing a deeper truth: religious liberty is best protected when church and state are institutionally separated and neither tries to perform or interfere with the mission and work of the other. It does not require a “segregation” of religion from public life, but it serves both religion clauses in the First Amendment, insisting upon no establishment of religion and ensuring the free exercise of religion. Read more
Written opinions in two recent and seemingly conflicting U.S. Supreme Court rulings in execution chamber cases may signal more to come in that area, according to the BJC’s Amanda Tyler.
Last week, the Missouri House passed legislation authorizing the creation of public school courses in the Old and New Testaments, rejecting an amendment to broaden the sacred texts covered.
In Kentucky, a judge allowed a school district to continue enforcing its ban on unvaccinated students attending school functions during a chicken pox outbreak.
“Maintaining the United States’ strong leadership in defending religious liberty around the world requires that we attend to challenges at home as well as abroad.”
Walking the hallowed ground of America’s commitment to religious liberty in Rhode Island is a pilgrimage for any Baptist and a reminder of how important it is to defend this freedom for all.
We can pursue unity in these divided times by recommitting ourselves – Republicans and Democrats – to living up to the principle of religious non-favoritism.