The problem with a theocracy: BJC Staff Q&A with Holly Hollman

Jul 14, 2023

As BJC’s general counsel and associate executive director, Holly Hollman leads the organization’s efforts to defend faith freedom for all through education and advocacy, particularly in current conflicts that play out in the U.S. Supreme Court, Congress and executive branch. Holly co-hosts the Respecting Religion podcast, and she makes sure BJC provides a voice that acknowledges the distinctive nature of religion in our constitutional order and the importance of maintaining separation between the institutions of religion and government. After growing up in Jackson, Mississippi, Holly earned degrees from Wake Forest University and the University of Tennessee College of Law.


What does faith freedom mean to you?
The government does not lead or direct us in matters of religion, but it protects the principle that we are equal citizens without regard to religion.


What have you been reading and watching lately?
I’m reading Sacred Nature: Restoring our Ancient Bond with the Natural World by Karen Armstrong. I finally finished watching The Crown on Netflix, and I am currently enjoying NBA Summer League games.


Who inspires you?
My family, my friends, my pastor, and teachers.


What’s your favorite BJC quote or saying? 
The problem with a theocracy is those in power think they are Theo!


What has been your favorite BJC event during your tenure?
At the opening of our Center for Religious Liberty on Capitol Hill in 2012, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer spoke as our guest. I introduced him and made him smile with my description of the important distinctions he saw in the two Ten Commandments cases, which were both decided in 2005 on the same day with different outcomes.