Book Bans, Christian Nationalism Focus of BJC Scholarship Contest

The Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Freedom (BJC) has announced details for its annual scholarship contest for high school juniors and seniors. The scholarship, which awards grand prizes of $2,000 to winning entries, is designed to engage high school students in the critical and complex issues of church and state. 

The prompt for this year’s entry focuses on the widespread increase in calls to ban or censor books that appear in U.S. school and community libraries. 

As in years past, the contest allows participants to write an essay about the prompt. But this year, the competition has added the option of creating a TikTok video. Using either platform, applicants are asked to “illuminate the connection between Christian Nationalism and book bans in the United States,” according to a BJC press release. 

Submissions “should define Christian Nationalism, describe how the ideology inspires efforts to ban books and offer ideas for effective ways to respond to book bans in ways that support religious freedom for everyone.”

Speaking on the importance of the scholarship program in engaging young people in the work of religious liberty, BJC’s Chief of Staff, Rev. Janna Louie, noted that “students will live with the impact of book bans for years to come.”

The scholarship program is open to all high school juniors and seniors, regardless of religious background, extracurricular involvement or GPA. Submissions are due by March 15, 2024. Contest details and guidelines can be found here

BJC is the only faith-based organization in the United States whose sole purpose is to protect religious freedom for everyone. They are the home base for the “Christians Against Christian Nationalism” campaign, which numerous Christian leaders have endorsed. Their statement against Christian Nationalism has over thirty-five thousand signatures. 

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