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
“In God We Trust” fever in states across the U.S. may be just the first phase of a larger effort to introduce increasingly ambitious legislation to expand religion’s footprint in public institutions.
A bill sent to President Trump by a unanimous vote in both the House and Senate offers assistance to those surviving religious minorities in Iraq and Syria targeted by ISIS for extinction.
Ohio House Bill 36, the “Ohio Pastor Protection Act,” bars any penalty directed at ministers for refusing to perform a marriage ceremony that conflicts with their religious beliefs. But is it necessary?
We can pursue unity in these divided times by recommitting ourselves – Republicans and Democrats – to living up to the principle of religious non-favoritism.
Judge Kavanaugh appears to favor more government support and sponsorship of religion and less concern for individual religious freedom.
When viewed in light of Justice Kennedy’s church-state legacy and ongoing conflicts, it is clear that living up to our country’s promise of religious liberty for all remains an uphill battle.