As the year draws to a close, we are reminded yet again that many Americans do not understand the importance — or even accept the reality — of the nation’s historic practice of separating church and state. The recent issue of Report from the Capitol, published by the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, reviews some of the more significant issues.
My primary purpose in writing today is to point readers who don’t receive a print version of Report from the Capitol toward two very helpful articles in the November/December issue. Fortunately the articles are also available online.
Don Byrd, who blogs regularly on the BJC site, offers insightful information in “Religious Liberty: Year in Review.” He points to a number of stories relative to religious liberty, giving most attention to the widespread rejection of religious liberty by those who oppose the building of a mosque a few blocks from New York’s “Ground Zero” site. The issues are deeper than surface emotion, and should be seriously considered by those who believe in religious liberty.
Another article, one worth clipping (or clicking) and saving is Brent Walker’s article “Debunking the Top Five Myths of Separation of Church and State.” Walker has put forth most of these arguments before, sometimes in similar fashion, but this article does a nice job of identifying the faulty thinking behind common claims opposing the separation of church and state, and offering a cogent understanding of what the nation’s founders intended when they wrote and approved the First Amendment.
Enough of reading my words: if you care about religious liberty, take a look at the two articles mentioned above, improve your own understanding of the issues, and see if you can help make 2011 a better year for the cause of religious liberty.
Professor of Old Testament at Campbell University Divinity School in Buies Creek, North Carolina, and the Contributing Editor and Curriculum Writer at Good Faith Media.