WASHINGTON (ABP) — A First Amendment scholar and a Mississippi church will be honored for their commitment to religious liberty when they receive awards from Associated Baptist Press April 30.
Charles Haynes, senior scholar at the Freedom Forum's Arlington, Va.-based First Amendment Center, will receive ABP's annual Religious Freedom Award. Haynes is an expert on the First Amendment's protections for religious freedom and prohibitions of government endorsement of religion.
He has authored or co-authored six books, including “Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools.” Since the mid-1990s, Haynes has been the principal organizer in an effort to create a set of consensus guidelines on the controversial subject of teaching about religion in the public schools.
Haynes' efforts culminated in 2000, with a set of guidelines endorsed by an ideologically diverse array of religious and civil-rights groups. President Bill Clinton then instructed the Department of Education to forward the guidelines to every school in the United States.
“The quiet leadership of Charles Haynes understates his key role in the fight for religious liberty in the classroom,” said ABP Executive Editor Greg Warner. “The directors of ABP are grateful to him and the Freedom Forum for all they do to champion our religious freedoms.”
Haynes is a newspaper columnist and frequent commentator regarding First Amendment issues in news articles and on television and radio news programs. He holds a master's degree from Emory University and a doctorate from Harvard Divinity School.
The Freedom Forum is an organization dedicated to freedom of speech, religion and the press. It operates the First Amendment Center and Newseum in Washington, as well as educational programs from a center at Vanderbilt University. Haynes will receive the award at a banquet in Nashville, during the spring meeting of ABP's board of directors.
ABP also will honor Northminster Baptist Church in Jackson, Miss., at the banquet. The church will receive the organization's Founders' Award for Northminster's ongoing support of ABP's ministry. The congregation is a longtime financial contributor to ABP, and church member Rebecca Wiggs is the organization's immediate past board chair.