Archive: J. Brent Walker
To impugn the patriotism and good faith of this sizable community is not only a threat to their liberty and ours, but actually could be counter-productive in resisting terrorism.
By J. Brent Walker | March 8, 2011; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (2)
Religion -- especially Islam these days -- is in danger of exploitation for political purposes.
By J. Brent Walker | February 22, 2011; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (2)
In touting genuine religious freedom -- and its constitutional corollary, the separation of church and state -- we Baptists often hold up 17th century preacher Roger Williams' "hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world."
By J. Brent Walker | February 15, 2011; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (4)
The message that I would suggest the president articulate is that, in the final analysis, full fledged religious liberty will actually promote a "harmonious society" more than divisive governmental intervention into the religious demography --favoring some, disfavoring (even persecuting) others.
By J. Brent Walker | January 18, 2011; 02:29 PM ET | Comments (5)
It's hard to know whether there is any direct connection between the tragic shootings in Tucson and our rancid political rhetoric. We may never find out. However, we do know that inflammatory language -- pregnant with martial metaphors and Second Amendment allusions -- pollutes the public square
By J. Brent Walker | January 11, 2011; 02:19 PM ET | Comments (3)
The United States of America is a very special place; but it does not enjoy a special relationship with God.
By J. Brent Walker | November 30, 2010; 10:09 AM ET | Comments (8)
An active, visible practice of Obama's Christianity would help counter misunderstandings and lies about his faith.
By J. Brent Walker | November 9, 2010; 09:45 AM ET | Comments (5)
It is because of Beck and others like him that people are confused.
By J. Brent Walker | August 30, 2010; 02:20 PM ET | Comments (5)
Many of the recent statements that affirm religious freedom, while questioning the "wisdom" and "appropriateness" of this project, ring hollow. The burden of ensuring that all enjoy religious freedom equally falls to all of us.
By J. Brent Walker | August 17, 2010; 04:22 PM ET | Comments (3)
Perhaps we have begun to take seriously the "no religious test" principle in Article VI of the Constitution. In today's post-denominational religious milieu, other issues seem to eclipse religion as important characteristics -- gender, ethnicity, judicial experience and constitutional philosophy.
By J. Brent Walker | May 11, 2010; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (0)
But Justice Stevens's willingness to require (or sometimes even to permit) the accommodation of religion under the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause has been lacking.
By J. Brent Walker | April 9, 2010; 01:05 PM ET | Comments (28)
To subsidize religious discrimination with tax dollars is not an accommodation at all, but an advancement of religion that is clearly misguided and arguably unconstitutional.
By J. Brent Walker | March 9, 2010; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (5)
To suggest that the Establishment Clause can never apply beyond our borders would be an emasculation of that critical pillar of the First Amendment that ensures religious liberty for all Americans and whose underlying principle of governmental neutrality informs a proper understanding of religious liberty abroad.
By J. Brent Walker | February 24, 2010; 12:38 PM ET | Comments (2)
The president is elected to serve as a political leader, not a religious one. The president is the leader of the whole nation, not one segment of the religious community. His speeches and pronouncements should reflect the understanding that he is president of all people in this religiously diverse, religious freedom-loving nation.
By J. Brent Walker | January 26, 2010; 03:10 PM ET | Comments (3)
If you do exercise your right to peddle your faith in the marketplace of ideas, you cannot cry foul when somebody criticizes you or refuses to buy what you are selling.
By J. Brent Walker | January 13, 2010; 01:31 PM ET | Comments (4)
Baptists and all champions of religious liberty and the cause of conscience have condemned theocracies and attempts on the part of government officials to dictate spiritual matters, including passing blasphemy laws.
By J. Brent Walker | January 5, 2010; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (5)
Normally, under the First Amendment's ban on the establishment of religion, the government may not promote, sponsor or display thoroughly religious symbols such as a crèche. The White House is different. The crèche in the East Room is more like an individual displaying it in a private home or on one's lawn or a church doing so in the church yard.
By J. Brent Walker | December 8, 2009; 09:55 AM ET | Comments (1)
While reasonable people will disagree about the extent to which government has the authority to police harmful religious behavior, one never can justify government bans on religious symbols on private property or worship style that does not directly affect third parties.
By J. Brent Walker | December 1, 2009; 09:42 AM ET | Comments (3)
Religion should only disqualify someone from active military service if the religious beliefs and practices would substantially impair the performance of one's duties in the military.
By J. Brent Walker | November 10, 2009; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (1)
The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty is proud to have played a part in the drafting of a recent letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking that he review and withdraw this memo that espouses a misguided application of RFRA.
By J. Brent Walker | September 22, 2009; 05:16 PM ET | Comments (1)
There are so many ways to do religion in public schools right. "See You at the Pole," when properly done, is one of the best.
By J. Brent Walker | September 21, 2009; 04:38 PM ET | Comments (174)
Teaching about religion is constitutional and even desirable; so much so that it's worth the risk and trouble trying.
By J. Brent Walker | September 1, 2009; 11:12 AM ET | Comments (2)
A justice's faith, gender and ethnicity--and life experience generally--will influence his or her view of the world and the law. But these should not dictate a justice's decisions.
By J. Brent Walker | July 14, 2009; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (0)
Mayor Bloomberg is wrong in saying that the City of New York does not have to accommodate all faiths. But he's right in saying that, given our vast religious pluralism, schools cannot close for "every single holiday."
By J. Brent Walker | July 8, 2009; 12:14 PM ET | Comments (0)
Church-state separation can result in a separation that is more antagonistic to religion. Although the institutions of church and state are separate, the state is not neutral toward religion but, in many cases, hostile to it.
By J. Brent Walker | June 25, 2009; 03:21 PM ET | Comments (1)
History and contemporary realities show us that a theocracy's unrestrained friendliness to one religion violates religious liberty as much as a secular state's untempered hostility to all religion.
By J. Brent Walker | June 17, 2009; 08:38 AM ET | Comments (4)
New Hampshire's exemptions for religious organizations, associations and societies provide some comfort to those who worry that extending marriage rights to same sex couples will necessarily harm their religious liberty.
By J. Brent Walker | June 9, 2009; 03:57 PM ET | Comments (4)
I have long contended that Congress' official designation and the President's predictable proclamation of a National Day of Prayer is misguided. It is not government's job to tell the American people what, where or when to pray.
By J. Brent Walker | May 5, 2009; 03:12 PM ET | Comments (4)
For a Baptist Christian, scriptural interpretation should begin and end with the individual reading of the text through the lens of Jesus and with the Holy Spirit's guidance. However, this always should be done in the context and the nurture of the community.
By J. Brent Walker | February 23, 2009; 07:17 AM ET | Comments (13)
Allowing religious organizations to discriminate in the private sector is an appropriate accommodation of religion. To subsidize religious discrimination with tax dollars is arguably unconstitutional.
By J. Brent Walker | February 11, 2009; 07:40 AM ET | Comments (4)
The religious aspects of the inaugural celebration not only do not offend the Establishment Clause, but arguably serve the President-elect's rights under the First Amendment's Free Exercise Clause.
By J. Brent Walker | January 20, 2009; 10:30 AM ET | Comments (2)
There is nothing wrong with the American people getting together to pray on a designated day, even public officials. In fact every day should be a day of national prayer. The church-state rub comes when the government declares it to be such and exhorts citizens to engage in a religious exercise.
By J. Brent Walker | November 19, 2008; 03:04 AM ET | Comments (3)
You should avoid resorting to divisive religious language that would suggest God blesses your position and the other candidate's view is ungodly.
By J. Brent Walker | August 27, 2008; 07:30 AM ET | Comments (4)
If a church wants to promote religion in its social service programs, it should use its own money. If it does not want to (and, therefore, qualify for federal funding), why does it need to impose a religious test in hiring?
By J. Brent Walker | August 20, 2008; 02:02 AM ET | Comments (8)
The Bill of Rights contains two religion clauses that protect the Free Exercise and No Establishment rights of all Americans. How would you deal with the tension between these two Constitutional guarantees?
By J. Brent Walker | August 17, 2008; 03:18 PM ET | Comments (6)
In the spirit of the no religious test clause in Article VI of the Constitution, we should give our candidates for president (and other offices) a lot of leeway in determining where they worship and who their spiritual leaders will be.
By J. Brent Walker | June 8, 2008; 10:06 PM ET | Comments (10)
Has this year’s presidential campaign become too religious? I don’t think so. Are secular ideas getting short shrift? That depends on what your definition of “secular” is.
By J. Brent Walker | February 11, 2008; 09:16 AM ET | Comments (39)
An amendment seeking to ensconce God’s law guts protections for religious freedom and establishes a theocracy or something close to it. This would fundamentally alter America as we know it.
By J. Brent Walker | January 24, 2008; 08:07 AM ET | Comments (31)
Private citizens and religious organizations are perfectly free to celebrate Christmas openly, visibly and in most public places!
By J. Brent Walker | December 20, 2007; 09:19 AM ET | Comments (17)
I wish Governor Romney had affirmed the rights and full citizenship standing of nonbelievers.
By J. Brent Walker | December 6, 2007; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (54)
Even though our liberty is a gift from God — not the result of an act of concession of the state — we have chosen to tailor our political institutions to protect that liberty.
By J. Brent Walker | November 26, 2007; 07:58 AM ET | Comments (24)
A watered-down, lowest-common denominator view of religion to support the idea that one religion is about as good as the next is a mistake.
By J. Brent Walker | October 18, 2007; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (78)
The U.S. may be a Christian nation sociologically, but not constitutionally.
By J. Brent Walker | October 5, 2007; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (45)
The Supreme Court has been clear that religious beliefs don't have to be popular, logical, consistent or reasonable to receive First Amendment protection
By J. Brent Walker | September 24, 2007; 09:45 AM ET | Comments (601)