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ERLC announces launch of Digital Public Square Project

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September 16, 2021

Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 16, 2021—The Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is launching a new, long-term research project today convening top Christian thinkers to explore the intersection of Christian ethics and the digital public square.

The Digital Public Square project will focus on the areas of human dignity, ethics, free speech and religious freedom. Jason Thacker, ERLC’s chair of research in technology ethics and author of the forthcoming book, “Following Jesus in the Digital Age,” from B&H Publishing, is spearheading the project. 

ERLC trustees affirmed the project by a unanimous vote after a special presentation from Thacker during their annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 15.

“The ethical issues surrounding technology are often extremely complex and challenging,” said Thacker. “In an increasingly digital society, technology is the primary means through which much of our public discourse occurs. The ERLC wants to equip Christians and the wider culture to make sense of an ever-changing digital culture and to gain wisdom to navigate the most challenging aspects of technology and social media—including the nature of religious freedom and free expression in the digital public square. We often fail to see how technology is shaping not only our own walk with Christ, but also our churches and communities in ways that are contrary to our faith.”

Acting ERLC President Brent Leatherwood stated, “The ministry assignment Southern Baptists have given the ERLC asks us to assist churches in applying the moral and ethical teachings of the Bible to Christian life––and this is especially crucial as technology affects more and more aspects of our society. Jason has proven himself to be one of the leading voices in technology ethics and we are so thankful for the biblical wisdom he is providing in this area.”

In addition to Thacker’s book, leaders of the Digital Public Square project plan to release a number of assets over a two-year period to equip Christians on why ethics of technology matter to human flourishing and our public discourse. 

The project will include an in-depth report on the state of the digital public square, a set of guiding ethical principles for digital governance and numerous resources for the local church to engage and bear witness to the gospel in the digital age—including two different book length volumes: “Following Jesus in a Digital Age” with B&H Publishing and “The Digital Public Square: Ethics and Religion in a Technological Society” with contributions from 14 leading thinkers from B&H Academic in 2022.

To learn more about the Digital Public Square project, visit ERLC.com/digital

About Jason Thacker: Jason Thacker serves as chair of research in technology ethics and leads the Research Institute at The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. He is the author of the forthcoming book, “Following Jesus in the Digital Age” with B&H Publishing, as well as “The Age of AI: Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Humanity” with Zondervan. He is also the editor of a forthcoming volume with B&H Academic on Christian ethics and the digital public square. He is the project leader and lead drafter of “Artificial Intelligence: An Evangelical Statement of Principles,” and his work has been featured at Slate, Politico, Christianity Today, The Gospel Coalition, and World Radio.

He is a graduate of The University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies. He also holds a Master of Divinity from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he is currently pursuing a doctorate in Ethics and Public Theology. He serves as a founding member of AI and Faith. He is married to Dorie and they have two sons. They live outside of Nashville, Tenn.

Elizabeth Bristow

Elizabeth Bristow serves as the Press Secretary. Elizabeth oversees press and media operations for the organization. She received a B.A. in Public Relations and Marketing from Union University in 2010. She and her husband reside in Texas and are blessed with two beautiful children. Read More by this Author