S4, Ep. 09: Addressing Christian nationalism before Congress

Hear more about an important Congressional hearing this week addressing threats to democracy

Dec 15, 2022

Why hasn’t Congress addressed the dangers of Christian nationalism before now? Amanda and Holly talk about a crucial hearing this week, which included testimony from Amanda on how Christian nationalism overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. They look at the challenges facing Congress in addressing the rise in violence in our country, and they share some bipartisan unity from this week’s hearing. Plus, Amanda and Holly take a moment to thank our listeners as we wrap our final show of 2022.


SHOW NOTES:

Segment 1 (starting at 00:50): Why is congressional testimony important?

You can read the joint BJC/Freedom From Religion Foundation report on Christian nationalism and the January 6 insurrection at this link.

Jack Jenkins and Emily McFarlan Miller wrote this article for Religion News Service about the expert statement from Christian leaders to the January 6 Committee: Major Christian leaders asked Jan. 6 committee to investigate Christian nationalism

Read the full text of the letter sent to the January 6 Committee at this link.

Amanda testified during a hearing titled “The Evolution of Anti-Democratic Extremist Groups and the Ongoing Threat to Democracy.” It was the 7th – and final – hearing in the “Confronting White Supremacy” series of hearings led by the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. Click here to read more about the hearing and the list of expert witnesses. 


Segment 2 (starting at 13:38): Amanda’s testimony: Christian nationalism is not Christianity

Read Amanda’s submitted written testimony at this link.

Watch Amanda’s in-person testimony at this link.

Watch a video of the entire subcommittee hearing at this link.

Segment 3 (starting at 30:33):Who are our podcast listeners?

Respecting Religion is made possible by BJC’s generous donors. You can support these conversations with a gift to BJC. Use that link so we know your gift came through our podcast!

 

Transcript: Season 4, Episode 9: Addressing Christian nationalism before Congress (some parts of this transcript have been edited for clarity):

Segment 1: Why is congressional testimony important? (starting at 00:50)

AMANDA: Welcome to Respecting Religion, a BJC podcast series where we look at religion, the law, and what’s at stake for faith freedom today. I’m Amanda Tyler, executive director of BJC.

HOLLY: And I’m general counsel Holly Hollman. Today we’re going to look at an important congressional hearing that happened this week that included testimony focusing on — what we think — is the very first time Christian nationalism, and we’re recording this on Tuesday, December 13, the day that you, Amanda, testified before Congress.

AMANDA: That’s right. As our listeners know, Christian nationalism is a topic that we often address, as it is a threat to our country and our faith, and it strikes at the core of BJC’s mission to protect faith freedom for all. And over our concentrated work on drawing attention to Christian nationalism so we can try to work to dismantle it, we have continued to learn about its various manifestations and historical analogies, but importantly today, the House Oversight Committee’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties took it on.

HOLLY: While that may be surprising to many listeners — to think that this important topic to those that are committed to faith freedom for all and our constitutional separation of church and state and the obvious threats of Christian nationalism — may be surprised that Congress has not looked at this more closely. I mean, Congress certainly is aware of the many threats against democracy, and many would assume that they are well informed about all of the many motivations that lead to violence.

AMANDA: Maybe so, and I think they were properly focused on white supremacist violence and how much of a threat that is to our society and particularly to the individuals and the families directly impacted by that violence and wanted to keep the attention appropriately there.

But I think also when it comes to Christian nationalism, they feel they don’t have the expertise on the topic, and we know it is a nuanced topic. There’s a lot of confusion about Christian nationalism. We’re still working to get a common understanding and definition about what it is out into the public conversation, and I think that Congress is sometimes hesitant to talk too much about religion.

HOLLY: Right.

AMANDA: And, you know, they’re a little ‑‑

HOLLY: For obvious reasons maybe.

AMANDA: Yeah. I think they’re worried about ‑‑

HOLLY: They get it wrong. They could get it wrong.

AMANDA: Yeah. And alienate voters ‑‑

HOLLY: Sure.

AMANDA: — and constituents along the way. But this invitation to present to Congress came out of some particular interactions and relationships that we’ve built, in particular with Representative Jamie Raskin who represents a district in Maryland right outside of Washington, D.C. His background is as a constitutional law professor, and he chairs this particular subcommittee. And he has shown an interest in learning more about Christian nationalism.

In addition to chairing this subcommittee, Representative Raskin also cochairs with Representative Jared Huffman of California the Congressional Freethought Caucus, and they have invited me and others who work on Christian nationalism to present to their caucus, including in March of this year to present the BJC and Freedom From Religion Foundation’s report on Christian nationalism and how it influenced the January 6 attack on the Capitol, including in the events leading up to it.

And it was out of that interaction then that Representative Raskin, who also serves on the January 6 Select Committee, invited me and other Christian leaders to submit an expert statement on how Christian nationalism influenced January 6.

And we sent that statement to the committee in June of this year, recently released that statement publicly, and Jack Jenkins and Emily McFarlan Miller for Religion News Service wrote a story about that statement, which we will link in show notes, and we will also link in show notes the complete text of that letter that went to the January 6 Committee.

HOLLY: We really appreciate the leadership of Chairman Raskin. As a constitutional lawyer, he cares very much about these issues. We particularly note that he is someone who is respectful of religion, that he’s very careful in how he speaks, and we saw that during these recent hearings. He is a good model of civil discourse, and we really appreciate that we’ve had this new opportunity to work with him and that he has called on us for our expertise.

We also know that so many people are working with us and alongside us to fight Christian nationalism, and so there’s been a consistent push from many different quarters, and that’s what it takes to fight this political ideology.

Our friends at Interfaith Alliance recently hosted a briefing on Christian nationalism, and we know lots of people are writing about this and holding up each other’s work and making sure that people give it the proper attention that it needs to understand what it is and what it is not, so that we can come together as supporters of religious freedom for all and not be divided. All of these events kind of culminated in this hearing that specifically gave us an opportunity to address Christian nationalism.

The title of the [series of hearings] was “Confronting White Supremacy,” and it was part 7 of the series. This one particularly was on the evolution of anti-democratic extremist groups and the ongoing threat to democracy. It felt like ‑‑ and I think the members saw it ‑‑ as sort of a wrap-up of the committee’s work over time on this broad topic of white supremacy. And, Amanda, you were one of several witnesses that were invited to come and address this topic.

AMANDA: Yes. It was a distinguished group of experts, and we will link in the show notes to that full list of experts that included people who could testify on paramilitary militias, extremist groups and how they’re becoming more localized, the anti-semitism rise in particular over the last several months, how social media impacts a lot of this, and various other threats to democracy.

HOLLY: And before we talk about the specific testimony that you offered, Amanda, I think it would be good to give our listeners some idea about how we see congressional testimony and how it fits in the overall work of our government.

AMANDA: So I think many people know, once you’re elected to Congress, you are also given one or more committee assignments, and much of the work, particularly in the House of Representatives, is done in committees. So these committees will hold hearings, both topical hearings on subjects that the majority party would like to take testimony on.

You know, the House is very much “majority rule.” The members of the majority both chair the committee and have more members on each committee and really set the agenda for what the members will hear about, and so this hearing was one of those opportunities for Chairman Raskin to set the agenda, which was, in this long series, to confront white supremacy.

HOLLY: And BJC’s had the opportunity in the past to testify before Congress, sometimes presenting on a panel, often invited to submit written testimony, generally on matters of constitutional law or specific legislation affecting religious liberty, which makes sense. But today was really remarkable in that it was using our expertise on Christian nationalism and your voice as a part of this final series.

Knowing that the chamber’s getting ready to change hands, the agenda of this committee may change, but that it recognized that Christian nationalism is an important problem that should be confronted, and it does fit within this greater concern that the committee has focused on for many years now.

Most of all for listeners of Respecting Religion and friends of BJC and other supporters of religious freedom, it was a remarkable opportunity to have your voice standing up, confronting Christian nationalism, you being particularly identified, not only with BJC but personally as a Baptist Christian and patriotic American who is thanking this committee for their attention to this and, you know, pointing them to resources that can lead them to greater understanding and maybe greater courage in standing up to Christian nationalism.

So I was very proud to be there with you in the hearing room, to be behind you as you gave your testimony. I think people might wonder what that felt like, because as I say that, that is ‑‑ that’s a lot of pressure to put on one person. How was that experience for you in this setting, knowing that you had worked for Congress before, and you have testified on behalf of BJC before. But I feel like this was a unique opportunity.

AMANDA: It was. And, you know, I think one thing people might not know is we don’t often get a lot of warning when we have one of these invitations. It’s the kind of thing that when it comes, you’re expected to be able to put together ‑‑

HOLLY: Yes. So you say, Yes, and then you start.

AMANDA: Yes, and then you say, How do we put together this written testimony and be able to be there and give this testimony in person at the time? And so it was a wonderful team effort from the BJC team to be able to respond in this way, to answer the call that came and this opportunity to provide testimony.

You know, I think some of the mystique of testifying for Congress has worn off a little bit for me, and I don’t mean ‑‑ just because I worked in Congress, so I spent a lot of years in the committee room, but on the other side, you know, serving a member of Congress and preparing for hearings. And so I, in many ways, feel comfortable in that setting.

And yet, I did feel a great sense of responsibility for this particular hearing, one, because of the seriousness of the topic, white supremacist violence, and, two, because I knew that I was representing this very large community of people deeply concerned about Christian nationalism, not just the community of Christians Against Christian Nationalism that we have been working to build — this network of individuals who are concerned about the topic — but also this fantastic community of concerned scholars and researchers and advocates and theologians and journalists who have been devoting their life’s work to drawing more attention to Christian nationalism.

And there was one invitation to the hearing today, so I felt a sense of trying to represent this great body of work that we are all putting in to this, and that’s a lot to do in five minutes, Holly.

HOLLY: (Laughing.) That’s right. And we didn’t say that.  The written testimony, you have ‑‑ you know, you can put in a good 14, 15 pages, and you can offer some kind of deep thoughts and some good resources and all. But, yeah. The spoken testimony, you’re limited to five minutes.

AMANDA: Yeah.

HOLLY: You want to give it your best shot, as hopefully people are watching on C-SPAN, or we know it’s recorded and they’ll see it later.

AMANDA: Yeah. So when I was looking at those five minutes and what am I trying to accomplish, I had three main goals: one, to explain the connection between Christian nationalism and white supremacy, because that, after all, was the topic of the hearing at hand.

HOLLY: Why we were invited.

AMANDA: Right. Two, to explain the threat that Christian nationalism poses to religious freedom for all. That is our expertise at BJC and the focus of our Christians Against Christian Nationalism campaign. And, three, to say boldly and as often as I could that opposition to Christian nationalism is not opposition to Christianity.

I think that fear is one reason that more members of Congress are not speaking out against Christian nationalism, and I thought that one reason I was invited to provide this testimony was to explain as a Baptist leader and constitutional lawyer why Christian nationalism was a threat to our faith and to our country.

 

Segment 2: Amanda’s testimony: Christian nationalism is not Christianity (starting at 13:38)

HOLLY: With that, let’s play a recording of your testimony.

CHAIRMAN RASKIN: (audio clip) Now we’ll hear from Amanda Tyler, the executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Welcome.

 

AMANDA: (audio clip) Good morning, Chairman Raskin and Ranking Member Mace and other members of the subcommittee. I’m Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.

 

As a faithful Christian and a patriotic American, I am honored to be here this morning to offer testimony about the connection between Christian nationalism and white supremacy, why Christian nationalism must be addressed, and why, I believe, Christians have a special responsibility to address the harms of Christian nationalism.

 

BJC has a long and consistent record of defending religious freedom for all, supporting both of the First Amendment’s religion clauses, the No Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. We chaired the coalition that pushed for passage of RFRA.

 

In July 2019, BJC launched Christians Against Christian Nationalism. It’s a grassroots project of Christians from every congressional district in the country who oppose the rise of Christian nationalism and its threat to our faith and our country.

 

Christian nationalism is a political ideology and cultural framework that seeks to merge American and Christian identities. It suggests that ‘real’ Americans are Christians and that ‘true’ Christians hold a particular set of political beliefs.

 

The ‘Christian’ in Christian nationalism is more about ethno-national identity than religion. Christian nationalism is a gross distortion of the Christian faith that I and many others hold dear. Opposition to Christian nationalism is not opposition to Christianity, and a growing number of Christians feel a religious imperative to stand against Christian nationalism.

 

Christian nationalism uses the language, symbols and imagery of Christianity. In fact, it may look and sound like Christianity to the casual observer. However, closer examination reveals that it uses the veneer of Christianity to point not to Jesus the Christ but to a political figure, party, or ideology.

 

Christian nationalism often overlaps with and provides cover for white supremacy and racial subjugation. It creates and perpetuates a sense of cultural belonging that is limited to certain people associated with the founding of the United States, namely native-born white Christians.

 

Christian nationalism is not patriotism. Patriotism is a healthy love of country; nationalism is an allegiance to country that demands supremacy over all other allegiances.

 

Christian nationalism relies on a cherry-picked and misleading version of an American history in order to thrive. The Christian nation myth must downplay or ignore the role of Indigenous communities, Black Americans, immigrant populations, religious minorities, secular Americans, and all others who undercut the false narrative that the U.S. is special because it was founded by and for white Christians.

 

But the myth of a Christian nation is worse than just bad history. It undermines and contradicts the U.S. Constitution, specifically the prohibition in Article VI against religious tests for public office, one of the truly revolutionary aspects of the Constitution that laid the foundation for the U.S. being a faith freedom nation.

 

As a Baptist, I became a leader in the fight against Christian nationalism because of my increasing alarm about the violence it has inspired at our country’s houses of worship: Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston; Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh; Chabad of Poway near San Diego.

 

As recently as earlier this year at the Tops Supermarket in Buffalo, Christian nationalism inspired white supremacist violence in public spaces.

 

Christian nationalism helped fuel the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, uniting disparate actors and infusing their political cause with religious fervor.

 

We applaud this committee’s sustained work to confront white supremacy and investigate its myriad causes. Understanding Christian nationalism is imperative to both dismantling white supremacy and preserving religious freedom for all. Christianity does not unite Americans. Our belonging in American society must never depend on how we worship, what we believe or how we identify religiously.

 

Do not allow anyone to say that confronting Christian nationalism is somehow anti-Christian. All across this country, Christians are deeply alarmed by this ideology, especially the way it gives an illusion of respectability to white supremacy and undermines our nation’s foundational commitment to ensure religious freedom for all.

 

CHAIRMAN RASKIN: (audio clip) Thank you for your testimony, Ms. Tyler.”

HOLLY: You were the fifth out of six panelists presenting, and, you know, that short time goes by pretty quickly. But I was sitting right behind you, and I was able to watch the members that were there. There were other members that were participating by Zoom, as well as one of the panelists was presenting by Zoom, and it was really interesting to see that they were listening.

I mean, you presented very clearly, and I appreciated that there were members in the room from both parties, and they were paying attention. And that’s not always the case. I’ve been to other hearings where, you know, there were not members showing up, and if they were, they weren’t really paying attention. So I thought that was positive.

After the next panelist spoke, then they opened it up for questions for both the members who were in the room as well as the members who were participating by Zoom, and most of those questions were about amplifying particular parts of particular witnesses’ testimony, and that’s appropriate. And then there was a question directed specifically at you, Amanda, from Chairman Raskin. I think we should play that now.

“CHAIRMAN RASKIN: (audio clip) Ms. Tyler, can I ask you: What motivated the Joint Baptist Committee [sic] to take on the problem of white Christian nationalism?

 

AMANDA: (audio clip) Well, the problem of white Christian nationalism is exactly ‑‑ fits with our mission of defending and extending religious freedom for all people, and that’s because Christian nationalism strikes at the heart of the foundational ideas of what religious freedom means and how it’s protected in this country. And that, of course, is with the institutional separation of church and state that ‑‑

 

CHAIRMAN RASKIN: (audio clip) Let me ‑‑ can I ask you quickly about that, because everybody knows about Jefferson’s famous letter to the Danbury Baptists. Why have the Baptists always been such strong champions of religious freedom and pluralism and toleration?

 

AMANDA: (audio clip) It really goes back to the beginning of the Baptist movement in the early 17th century and Thomas Helwys who wrote the first defense of universal religious freedom in the English language and was imprisoned by King James I for his advocacy. It continued with Roger Williams who founded the First Baptist Church in America.

 

What unites these early Baptist advocates with modern-day advocates like me and others at the Baptist Joint Committee is our theological commitment to soul freedom and our living out of Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves. We protect the religious freedom of our neighbors as we protect our own religious freedom. And we do it in our constitutional democracy by defending the First Amendment.

 

CHAIRMAN RASKIN: (audio clip) Well, thank you for your testimony and thank you for your work.”

HOLLY: Well, I don’t know that that is the question that I would have guessed would be asked of you, but he certainly set you up to speak well within your area of expertise and on behalf of BJC. I know it was an answer that made people proud. I think Chairman Raskin has heard and like maybe more people know in general, oh, yeah, there’s some kind of connection between Baptists and religious freedom, but you took him all the way back. (Laughing.)

AMANDA: (Laughing.)

HOLLY: And so that was really enjoyable to hear your good, strong statement that we come to this truthfully and historically and with some long-standing interest in a topic that carries over. And I loved the way you connected historical figures to present-day expressions of the importance of religious freedom. And at that point, I was seeing some nodding in the room, as well as, I think, a few light bulbs turned on.

AMANDA: I also liked the opportunity ‑‑ and he really did kind of toss me a softball there, for me to ask me this question — but to offer theology in a congressional hearing. I think that’s an example ‑‑ because that’s exactly what he was asking me [with] that question: Why do Baptists care about this topic? I found that to be a way to model faith-based advocacy in the public square.

HOLLY: Yeah.

AMANDA: We could ‑‑ I specifically could bring my Baptist identity into that hearing room ‑‑ that’s one reason I was invited to give this testimony ‑‑ without pushing for my theology to be made the law of the land by this committee. And that’s exactly what we’re trying to teach at Christians Against Christian Nationalism.

HOLLY: It fit so perfectly with the American civics lesson that I think the committee was dedicated to, at least that Chairman Raskin is dedicated to, in affirming religious freedom and seeing Christian nationalism as a threat, not only obviously to religious freedom but a threat to our democracy and part of this great concern about white supremacy and violence.

AMANDA: And I do want to commend the entire hearing to our listeners. I think it’s a vital topic. I learned quite a bit in listening to the perspectives from the other panelists there, and we will link in the show notes to the entire hearing.

If you haven’t watched a lot of congressional hearings, one thing that might surprise you is that some of these “questions” ‑‑ I’m putting air quotes around them ‑‑ are often more like speeches. The members have five minutes to make their point, after listening to all of this testimony, and that’s predictable. And, in fact, Holly, you and I were talking: on the range of divisive or polarized hearings, this one was really not so much.

HOLLY: Not that bad.

AMANDA: I think, in part, because we can all condemn violence and white supremacist violence in particular and want to find solutions to address those issues. I also was struck by how many times violence against members of Congress and their families came up in the hearing. We’re in the waning days of this Congress, and right before this Congress came in, of course, was January 6. Right?

So we’re almost two years there, and so many of these members were there in the Capitol on January 6 and experienced that.

HOLLY: Yeah. So they have that firsthand experience. And then, as we heard, they have other firsthand experience.

AMANDA: Yeah. The attack on Speaker Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, just a couple of months ago, the fact that that happened in their home, I think, really struck very close to home for these members of Congress. And so they’re concerned about extremist violence in new and very personal ways as well.

HOLLY: I could hear in some of the comments the temptation of partisanship, a little bit of pushing to say, you know, You’re getting it wrong, isn’t the problem this or that. But on the whole, we heard a lot of different concerns that can lead to violence and a shared concern that violence against anyone is something that we should all be worried about and that particularly we should be concerned about using irresponsible rhetoric that makes it more difficult for people to serve, to serve in Congress and to serve in local government leadership.

AMANDA: And I think, Holly, maybe some of what you were picking up on there was that their prepared statements, their prepared talking points, just really didn’t match the testimony that they heard. I think that particularly the Republican members of the committee, again who did not call this hearing, who were there to ‑‑ and who only had one witness of the six that they picked for the hearing, were maybe expecting to hear more partisan or political ‑‑

HOLLY: Blame.

AMANDA: — messages, blaming ‑‑ right? ‑‑ for this issue, and that really wasn’t the substance certainly of my testimony or any of the other panelists who presented testimony. They were talking more about the underlying causes of white supremacy and bigotry and violence and paramilitary groups and extremism.

HOLLY: And they were urging for action. They were calling on Congress to do something about it. A common theme was that we have to recognize it to act, that we can’t ‑‑ you can’t let things fester. You can’t ignore things, that maybe the danger is even greater now that things have become more decentralized and a lot of push toward local-level organizing.

AMANDA: Yeah. And I thought one of the most impactful moments in the hearing was when Oren Segal of the Anti-Defamation League said, We are all victims of white nationalism, that we have this unity of purpose in opposing a common enemy that should overcome our partisan divides. And so there was some effort, I think, to say, you know, the “what about this,” the “whataboutisms” of, you know, the left does this, too. But I thought that those critiques fell pretty flat in the context of the testimony that was received, because all of the witnesses and Chairman Raskin said, yes, this is a problem that we must be united in trying to fight.

So, I do think that there might be some signs of hope coming out of this conversation. I certainly think we need to lean into that, because the threat is very real. And I hope that our opposition to violence can unite us beyond these partisan differences.

HOLLY: I will say that what we also saw was a Republican member of Congress, the ranking member, Representative Nancy Mace from South Carolina, and a Democratic member, Chairman Representative Jamie Raskin from Maryland, showing a great deal of respect for each other and a great deal of unity in purpose.

As Representative Mace said, you know, we have different ways of getting there sometimes, but often do have a common purpose and clearly can have a common purpose in understanding white supremacy and the damage that it does to our country and the way it has led to these awful violent incidents.

The two of them, as they wrapped up the hearing, seemed to have genuine respect for each other, and it can’t be emphasized enough to hear members of both parties standing together against threats that undermine the rule of law, that denigrate our Constitution, that inflame rhetoric that does damage to our democracy. So that was a positive note to end on, and we hope some of that will continue over in the new Congress.

 

Segment 3: Who are our podcast listeners? (starting at 30:33)

HOLLY: This is the end of the first half of this season, and this is our last Respecting Religion episode before the end of the year, and we recently have learned more about appreciation for this podcast, and so we want to give that appreciation back, back to our listeners. Thank you all for listening.

We hear from great old friends of BJC who are glad to see us moving to this format. They just appreciate ‑‑ you know, these are people who’ve read Report from the Capital for decades ‑‑ that’s our print publication ‑‑ and people who are aware of our work on Capitol Hill or maybe they are aware of resources that we provide that they use in their churches and communities, but they really appreciate, wherever they are, they can listen to us as they’re walking or exercising or kind of a regular part of their podcast routine is keeping up with BJC and our work through Respecting Religion.

But I’ve also been really impressed and happy to learn about positive reactions from people that we don’t know.

AMANDA: Right. I mean, Holly, this is ‑‑ I think I speak for both of us. This is very much a labor of love for us. We enjoy these conversations we have.

HOLLY: We do.

AMANDA: And it means so much more when we hear from our listeners that we are offering content that they find useful, that is explanatory, that makes maybe complex issues, legal issues, easier to understand or at least easier to wrestle with ‑‑ right?

HOLLY: Yeah.

AMANDA: Because these are all nuanced, complicated, never easy, but we try to talk about them in common terms and also in respectful terms, of course, on Respecting Religion. And so we were excited to get our Spotify Wrapped numbers. Now, remember, Respecting Religion is wherever you get your podcasts, and as our producer likes to tell us, Cherilyn says, If it’s not where you get your podcasts, let us know, and we’ll put it there.

HOLLY: (Laughing.)

AMANDA: But Spotify gave us some numbers. We know that Spotify is our third most popular podcasting platform for listeners after Apple Podcasts and Apple Core Media. And we also learned that we are in the top 20% of creators in the news category for the content that we’ve put on Spotify.

HOLLY: I mean, that’s in the news category, and that was news to us.

AMANDA: It was. It was. So we’re putting good content out for our listeners, that people in 11 countries listen to our podcasts on Spotify alone. And we were also really excited to learn that we are in the top 20% of most followed podcasts on Spotify.

HOLLY: And, Amanda, I think that speaks to what I was saying about the long-standing support of friends of BJC, people who’ve invested in this voice for religious liberty for so long, and they are dedicated to us. It also reflects new listeners that appreciate the way we address topics, and we appreciate the way they see us and recommend us to their friends.

AMANDA: Yes. I was very excited that one of our listeners, Kyle Ingram, put on Twitter recently, “If you’ve been following the 303 Creative SCOTUS arguments but like me, still trying to wrap your head around some of the nuance, check out what Respecting Religion has to say. This is a great, fair, and informative treatment of the issues at stake.”  So thank you, Kyle.

HOLLY: That was so nice. We know that we want to have informed conversations, bringing our specialized knowledge to these issues that people care about, to have an informative and enjoyable conversation.

AMANDA: And we also learned a little bit about you, our listeners, from Spotify. It turns out, Holly, that our fans on Spotify have what they call the “enthusiast” personality. That means that our listeners are super-fans. Spotify says when we release a new episode, they’re among the first to know, and they go above and beyond to show their support.

Before we close today, we just want to say thank you.

HOLLY: Thank you. Thank you to all of the people who’ve emailed us. Thank you to all of you who see us in person and tell us how much this podcast means to you.

AMANDA: And we want to say that this podcast is only possible because of people who give financially to BJC. Your gifts allow us to do this podcast without any sponsored content, and we are so grateful. If you appreciate Respecting Religion and have never made a financial gift to BJC, we ask you to consider making a year-end gift.

HOLLY: There’s a link in our show notes for giving. If you use that link, we’ll know your donation to BJC came through the podcast.

AMANDA: Regardless of how you give and how much you can give, know that your tax-deductible donation to BJC is appreciated, and it’s what makes our fight for faith freedom for all possible.

HOLLY: It will ensure that we’re able to continue this service of providing a podcast Respecting Religion.

AMANDA: Of course, all of the donations we receive at BJC support this work. We are so grateful for BJC’s donors who allow us to continue standing for faith freedom for all in the courts, in Congress, in communities, and in this podcast.

And that brings us to the close of this episode of Respecting Religion and our last one for 2022. But we will be back in January 2023.

HOLLY: Thanks for joining us for today’s conversation. For details on what we discussed, including links to the articles we mentioned and the testimony, check out our show notes.

AMANDA: If you enjoyed today’s conversation, share this program with others on social media and tag us. We’re on Twitter and Instagram and YouTube @BJContheHill, and for now, you can follow me on Twitter @AmandaTylerBJC.

HOLLY: Plus you can email both of us by writing to [email protected] We love hearing from you.

AMANDA: And you can see a full list of shows, including transcripts, by visiting RespectingReligion.org.

HOLLY: And take a moment to find out more about BJC and how we’ve been working for faith freedom for all since 1936. Visit our website at BJConline.org for a look at what we do and some of our latest projects.

AMANDA: Join us back here in January for new conversations Respecting Religion.