CBF Executive Coordinator calls crowd to religious liberty advocacy at luncheon

CBF Executive Coordinator calls crowd to religious liberty advocacy at luncheon

By Cherilyn Crowe GREENSBORO, N.C. — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter recounted her road to religious liberty advocacy and encouraged the crowd to speak up for freedom during the 2013 Religious Liberty Council Luncheon. Paynter delivered the keynote address during the annual event and received the BJC’s highest honor — the J.M. Dawson Religious Liberty Award. The meeting also included the election of new RLC representatives to the Baptist Joint Committee Board of Directors. The sold-out crowd of more than 550 people listened intently as Paynter took the stage and recalled an early encounter with famed atheist activist Madalyn Murray O’Hair, which first led Paynter to grasp something as “esoteric” as religious liberty. In 1978, Paynter was a teacher in Austin, Texas, and had O’Hair’s granddaughter in her classroom. At that time, O’Hair was famous for the Murray v. Curlett lawsuit, which was consolidated with Abington v. Schempp and led to the landmark 1963 Supreme Court ruling that ended school-sponsored Bible reading in public schools. O’Hair was so controversial that Life magazine referred to her as “the most hated woman in America.” O’Hair adopted her granddaughter as her daughter in order to have access to the public schools. Paynter recalled O’Hair’s visit on the first day of school, warning the teachers that she would not be back until she had a bullhorn and a TV camera with her “to tell you how you are violating my rights and the rights of my daughter.” After her first encounter with O’Hair, Paynter was struck by a strange juxtaposition. “I was a Christian, I was the wife of a minister,”...
Walker delivers commencement address, receives honorary doctorate

Walker delivers commencement address, receives honorary doctorate

Photo by Martin Parr By Cherilyn Crowe Baptist Joint Committee Executive Director J. Brent Walker received an honorary doctorate from the John Leland Center for Theological Studies June 1, honoring his work as a minister and advocate. Walker received the degree and delivered the graduation address during the commencement ceremony, advising students to “be kind, but tell the truth.” “Kindness and truth-telling are essential to being a good citizen, a good Christian and a good Baptist minister,” Walker said to the second-largest graduating class in the school’s history. Walker discussed some of the top myths about church and state during his address, including the misguided beliefs that God has been kicked out of public schools and that the United States is a Christian nation in any legal sense. He noted that, while many individuals and groups are not interested in reasoned discourse or civil conversation, “fidelity to the truth and a commitment to civility require that we refuse to join the rhetorical food fight.” Being a truth-teller does not mean avoiding controversial issues, Walker told the graduates, but the wiser course would be to start the discussion in a forum “to allow the issues to be fully developed and parishioners the opportunity to speak their mind.” The John Leland Center awarded Walker with an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree during the ceremony, recognizing his work as an ordained minister, counselor, advocate and executive leader. It specifically acknowledged his work defending Baptist doctrines and advising “both church and government of their respective obligations to one another.” Walker is both a member of the Supreme Court Bar and an ordained minister,...
Brent Walker: Religion and Politics: How did we do in 2012?

Brent Walker: Religion and Politics: How did we do in 2012?

In his third presentation for the 2013 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State, BJC Executive Director Brent Walker reflects on the 2012 election cycle and examines what the results show about the current relationship between religion and politics in America. The 2013 Shurden Lectures (centered around the theme of “Religious Liberty and Church-State Separation: Oh, What a Touchy Subject!”) were held on the campus of Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. For more information on the lecture series, visit www.BJConline.org/lectures. Click here to watch the video of this lecture. Visit the BJC’s iTunes channel for a downloadable version of this lecture and other BJC podcasts. Click here for the podcast of lecture #1: First Principles: God-given, but government protected. Click here for the video of lecture #1. Click here for the podcast of lecture #2: First Freedoms: Accommodate religion, but don’t advance it. Click here for the video of lecture #2. Click here for a complete wrap-up of the 2013 Shurden Lectures, from the April 2013 Report from the Capital. Brent Walker: Religion and Politics: How did we do in 2012? [ 42:02 ] Play Now | Play in Popup |...
Brent Walker: First Freedoms: Accommodate religion, but don’t advance it

Brent Walker: First Freedoms: Accommodate religion, but don’t advance it

Baptist Joint Committee Executive Director Brent Walker discusses how government accommodates religion without advancing it in his second of three presentations for the 2013 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State.  The entire 2013 series centered around the theme of “Religious Liberty and Church-State Separation: Oh, What a Touchy Subject!” The 2013 Shurden Lectures were held on the campus of Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. For more information on the lecture series, visit www.BJConline.org/lectures. Click here to watch the video of this lecture. Visit the BJC’s iTunes channel for a downloadable version of this lecture and other BJC podcasts. Click here for the podcast of lecture #1: First Principles: God-given, but government protected. Click here for the video of lecture #1. Click here for the podcast of lecture #3: Religion and Politics: How did we do in 2012? Click here for the video of lecture #3. Click here for a complete wrap-up of the 2013 Shurden Lectures, from the April 2013 Report from the Capital. Brent Walker: First Freedoms: Accommodate religion, but don't advance it [ 52:05 ] Play Now | Play in Popup |...
Brent Walker: First Principles: God-given, but government protected

Brent Walker: First Principles: God-given, but government protected

Listen to Baptist Joint Committee Executive Director Brent Walker deliver his first of three presentations for the 2013 Walter B. and Kay W. Shurden Lectures on Religious Liberty and Separation of Church and State. This lecture is titled “First Principles: God-given, but government protected.” The entire 2013 series centered around the them of “Religious Liberty and Church-State Separation: Oh, What a Touchy Subject!” The 2013 Shurden Lectures were held on the campus of Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. For more information on the lecture series, visit www.BJConline.org/lectures. Click here to watch the video of this lecture. Visit the BJC’s iTunes channel for a downloadable version of this lecture and other BJC podcasts. Click here for the podcast of lecture #2: First Freedoms: Accommodate religion, but don’t advance it. Click here for the video of lecture #2. Click here for the podcast of lecture #3: Religion and Politics: How did we do in 2012? Click here for the video of lecture #3. Click here for a complete wrap-up of the 2013 Shurden Lectures, from the April 2013 Report from the Capital. Brent Walker: First Principles: God-given, but government protected [ 36:51 ] Play Now | Play in Popup |...