At the 2013 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon on June 28 in Greensboro, N.C., held in conjunction with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship General Assembly, the BJC awarded CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter with the J.M. Dawson Religious Liberty Award.
During her keynote address, Paynter remarked:
We treat our most sacred freedoms like they are distant teacups, not really ours except in some decorative sense. We will exercise our bodies to Hip Hop abs and P90X. It’s time to put some energy into exercising our freedom of conscience for religious liberty and lift our voices to defend the religious rights of others here and around the world.
Justice requires action. Jesus said so.
I support religious liberty for all!
What do I do now?
Whatever your sphere of influence, you can help communicate the belief that genuine religious liberty requires the separation of church and state. By advocating for religious liberty in your community, you show people around you that you care, and you help multiply the impact of the Baptist Joint Committee’s efforts.
Explore ways for you and your church community to be more involved in extending and defending religious liberty for all. You also have the Baptist Joint Committee staff at your disposal. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you think we can help.
- Track current events at the church-state intersection.
Dedicate a portion of your church newsletter or email updates to reporting on religious liberty issues.
The BJC’s continually updated blog, Blog from the Capital, and our website can help. Create a religious liberty bulletin board or add a slide to your church’s visual announcements. Link to the BJC website from your church’s website.
- Conduct a religious liberty emphasis at your church.
You can bring awareness of religious liberty to your church family by focusing your congregation on the issue. Plan an entire church service with every element tied to the idea, or have an element or moment of emphasis.
Visit http://www.bjconline.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3014 to download resources, including songs, hymns, litanies, dramatic readings and curriculum to help you teach others about religious liberty.
- Connect to the BJC via social media.
Follow us on Twitter @BJContheHill, Facebook at Facebook.com/ReligiousLiberty and our mobile site at BJCmobile.org for current updates. Share important stories through your own Facebook and Twitter feeds.
- Communicate with your political representatives.
Let those who represent you at the city, county, state and federal levels know that you are paying attention and that religious liberty for all is important to you. Ask them to stand up for you with their votes and advocacy.
- Speak up!
Are people in your community misinformed about the proper relationship between church and state? Is there an issue in your town that is heading for a city council vote? Get involved. Write letters to decision makers. Speak up in town halls. Let others know that there are people out there who cherish robust religious freedom.
- Bring speakers from the Baptist Joint Committee to your town.
BJC Executive Director J. Brent Walker and General Counsel K. Hollyn Hollman enjoy speaking in communities across the nation about the importance of our work defending and extending religious liberty for all, be it in a church service or other setting. We encourage supporters to join together and sponsor a community event in which Brent or Holly will engage the audience in a dialogue about our “first” freedom.
- Claim the historic Baptist distinctive of religious freedom.
In your teaching and preaching and through your church website and budget, help defend and extend religious liberty for all by supporting the vital work going on in the nation’s capital and across the country.