The ERLC Podcast

What is the public square?

April 4, 2024

Healthy engagement in the public square can feel like a fond memory of past decades, but we believe that Christians can still engage the public square today in ways that bring hope where it is desperately needed.

On the ERLC Podcast, our goal is to help you think biblically about today’s cultural issues. Today, we’re starting a new series on Christian political engagement.

Do you sense that American politics is in trouble? Are you frustrated by our inability, even as Christians, to dialogue and disagree across party lines and other differences? In 2019, the ERLC, the Fetzer Institute, and LifeWay Research conducted a study on civility in the public square. The study found that “the single most common adjective” evangelical leaders used to describe the current political discourse was “toxic.” Sadly, not much has changed over the last several years. 

At the ERLC, we feel the same tensions you feel. On the one hand, it’d be easy to throw up our hands and be done with politics altogether. On the other, we can be tempted to conform to the patterns of the world and adopt the same defensive posture in politics we see on social media and in the news. But, we, as Christians, believe there’s a better way and that Scripture guides us in our political engagement—maybe not in the specifics of voting on a certain policy, but certainly, in our speech, how we treat others, and the things we care about. 

Together, we want to be Southern Baptists who engage in politics and bring hope to the public square. On today’s episode, you’ll learn what this means from Brent Leatherwood, the president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. He has extensive experience working in our nation’s capital and in Tennessee politics. He and his wife are committed members of their local church and have three children. 

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