S3, Ep. 11: Race and Religious Freedom

In discussing religious freedom for all, we must explore the intersections of race and religious freedom

Feb 10, 2022

How do we tell a more inclusive and more critical narrative of religious liberty? How do we recognize and spotlight those who have been left out of the conversation, whether intentionally or not? This week, Amanda and Holly talk about the concept of religious freedom for all, exploring the intersections of race and religious freedom. From the racial divides among Baptist denominations to how BJC is interrogating its own history to BJC’s new Project on Race and Religious Freedom, they highlight resources from BJC and our partners. 



Segment 1: Learning to tell a more honest history and launching the Project on Race and Religious Freedom (starting at 00:44)

We always like hearing your feedback – email Amanda and Holly at [email protected].

For more on Baptist history and BJC’s commitment to religious liberty, see the BJC website: https://bjconline.org/mission-history-baptist-heritage/ 

BJC has been responding to the truth that religious freedom has been white too long. Amanda wrote about what that means last year, including the quote from James Baldwin who coined the idea.

Watch the Rev. Dr. Marvin McMickle’s speech at our 2015 luncheon on the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth: https://vimeo.com/131663810

Amanda mentioned Dr. Corey D.B. Walker’s work in complicating the narrative of religious freedom. Hear him on a panel at the 2019 BJC Dinner: An Inclusive Approach to Religious Liberty.

Amanda read from the book African Americans and Religious Freedom: New Perspectives for Congregations and Communities, edited by Dr. Walker and Dr. Sabrina Dent. 

Segment 2: Resources from recent BJC events on race and religious freedom (starting at 20:03)

The first clip is from Dr. Nicole Myers Turner of Yale University, speaking during Religious Liberty Has Been White Too Long: Voices of Black Scholars, which was our presentation for the 2021 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures. You can watch the entire presentation at this link, featuring Dr. Turner, Dr. Teresa L. Smallwood of Vanderbilt Divinity School, Dr. Anthony Pinn of Rice University, and Dr. David Goatley of Duke Divinity School.

Holly also mentioned Dr. Turner’s book: Soul Liberty: The Evolution of Black Religious Politics in Postemancipation Virginia

The second clip is from The Most Rev. Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church. He spoke during a webinar called “Democracy and Faith Under Siege: Responding to Christian Nationalism.” You can watch that entire presentation at this link

Our third clip is from the Rev. William Lamar IV, Pastor of Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. This is from a Facebook Live conversation with BJC Director of Education Charles Watson Jr. in 2021 called “What can the American church learn about Black faith freedom?” You can watch their entire conversation at this link, and visit BJConline.org/facebook-live for more conversations in our “Voices of Faith Freedom Series.”

We played two clips from Fierce Freedom, a live event held in 2021 featuring the Rev. Dr. Jacqui Lewis. During the clips, we heard from Dr. Lewis and then we heard a clip from a conversation after her presentation, featuring the Rev. Keisha Patrick, who is an attorney and a BJC Fellow. You can watch the entire “Fierce Freedom” presentation at this link.

For other videos and resources, visit our page of resources on race and religious freedom, available at:BJConline.org/race-and-religious-liberty/


Segment 3: Freedom Fighters and Black History Month (starting at 32:38)

Holly and Amanda mention an episode of the Ezra Klein Show, featuring Martha Jones being interviewed by Jamelle Bouie. You can listen and read a transcript at this link.

Follow BJC on Instagram as we share stories of freedom fighters throughout Black History Month. Our handle is @BJContheHill.

Respecting Religion is made possible by BJC’s generous donors. You can support these conversations with a gift to BJC