BJC’s Walker Discusses Religious Liberty at Harvard University Symposium

BJC’s Walker Discusses Religious Liberty at Harvard University Symposium

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Written by Don Byrd
Marv Knox of the Baptist Standard reports on yesterday’s interfaith panel discussion at Harvard University featuring the Baptist Joint Committee’s Brent Walker as well as leaders from the Islamic and Jewish faiths. On the topic of building bridges across diverse faith traditions, Walker emphasized respect for the rights of others.

Faith Bridges rely upon “the three R’s of civic engagement—rights, responsibility and respect,” Walker explained. “All three of these are important and must go together.”

Christians, Jews and Muslims “all believe we got our right of religious liberty from God,” Walker said, noting other faiths tend to agree, and even many nonreligious people see personal faith or nonfaith as an individual right.

“We must take care to exercise responsibility” for faith and its exercise, he added.

A key for Christian understanding of faith-responsibility is found in the fifth chapter of the New Testament book of Galatians, he said: “St. Paul affirms our freedom in Christ, but we must not use it for self-indulgence, but to serve one another. The rights we want for ourselves, we must afford to others.”

The inaugural Harvard symposium on religious liberty was moderated by Professor Henry Louis Gates.