Religious liberty has been white too long: Voices of Black scholars

Join a live event April 14 with Dr. Teresa Smallwood, Dr. Anthony Pinn, Dr. Nicole Myers Turner and Dr. David Goatley

Apr 6, 2021

Contact: Cherilyn Crowe, BJC: [email protected] / cell: 202-670-5877

In our discussions about religious liberty, how can we dismantle a narrative that centers white experiences and upholds white supremacy? Learn from four experts as they examine ways that white supremacy has impeded our understanding of faith freedom for all.

Event Title: Religious Liberty Has Been White Too Long: Voices of Black Scholars
When: April 14 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time
Where: Broadcast live – sign up here (Free and open to all)


The four scholars will present individually and then join in conversation during the live event. Topics will include in-depth exploration of Black religious freedom, efforts to make meaning in an anti-Black world, and how post-Emancipation Black Protestants defined religious freedom as a critique of racial inequality. The event is hosted by BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty), and BJC Director of Education Charles Watson Jr. will moderate the conversation.

Meet the four lecturers:

Dr. Teresa L. Smallwood is Associate Director of the Public Theology and Racial Justice Collaborative at Vanderbilt Divinity School. She holds a law degree, and her Ph.D. concentration in Theology, Ethics, and Human Sciences informs her multivalent methodological approach to racial justice.

Dr. Anthony Pinn is Agnes Cullen Arnold Professor of Humanities and Professor of Religion at Rice University and Director of Research for the Institute for Humanist Studies. Pinn’s research interests include religion and culture, Black religious thought, humanism and hip hop culture.

Dr. Nicole Myers Turner is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University. She is the author of Soul Liberty: The Evolution of Black Religious Politics in Post-Emancipation Virginia, which narrates the transformation in Black religious political strategies that occurred from 1865 to 1890.

Dr. David Goatley is Research Professor of Theology and Black Church Studies at Duke University Divinity School. A globally recognized missiologist, he is a constructive theologian whose scholarship and practice are at the intersection of missiology, Black Theology and leadership strategy.

This live conversation is free and open to the public. The event is part of the 2021 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State. Visit for additional details.



BJC (Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty) is a leading voice in Washington, D.C., working to defend faith freedom for all and protect the institutional separation of church and state in the historic Baptist tradition. We are focusing on learning from BIPOC scholars, theologians, preachers, writers, philosophers, poets, prophets and podcasters about faith freedom for all, intentionally working to decenter the voices that have taken up almost all of the conversation about religious freedom to this point. Learn more at

Dr. Walter B. and Dr. Kay W. Shurden made a gift to BJC in 2004 to establish this annual lectureship. Each program brings together leaders who can inspire and call others to an ardent commitment to religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Learn more at