The Religious Freedom Center and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond Announce Partnership

Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

Today, the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute and Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond (BTSR) have announced a partnership offering courses designed to help civic and religious leaders navigate the intersection of religion and public life. Students at BTSR will be able to declare a concentration in Religious Freedom as part of their Master of Divinity degree program, completing a total of 72 core semester hours at BTSR and 15 semester hours of concentration electives with the Religious Freedom Center, for a total of 87 semester hours.

“Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond has always attracted students interested in furthering the cause of religious liberty. Our proximity to the U.S. Capitol and the heart of the U.S. political process makes this partnership with the Newseum a perfect mix for our students to better understand the place of religion in public life. Prospective and current students will not want to miss this opportunity for a unique learning experience from two respected institutions who highly value religious freedom and quality theological education,” said Dr. Melissa Fallen, BTSR’s director of admissions and recruitment.

Dr. Ron Crawford, president of BTSR, said “Baptists were a passionate voice for religious liberty in the founding of our country, now BTSR is collaborating to ensure this historic voice is not lost in the modern conversation about the relationship between state and church, in a time when most do not understand religious freedom, let alone religious liberty.”

As unprecedented challenges arise from the nation’s rapidly expanding pluralism, civic and religious leaders require a thorough understanding of the guiding principles of the First Amendment.  In this blended-learning course of study, students will master the constitutional and human rights principles necessary to lead people of any religion or none and to negotiate religious and philosophical differences with civility and respect.  Four courses will be offered in the fall of 2016:

  • “Foundations of Religious Freedom in the United States”;
  • “Religious Liberty and Contemporary American Public Life”;
  • “Religion and News Media”; and
  • “The Human Right to Freedom of Religion.”

Using a blended-learning model, classes will be conducted online, except for a three-day seminar in October at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

Religious and civic leaders of all faith traditions or none are encouraged to apply online by July 31, 2016, by visiting Thanks to a generous grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, emerging and established religious leaders are eligible for full or partial scholarships. Upon successful completion of courses, students will receive graduate credit through Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.

BTSR opened for classes in September 1991 to question, discover, learn and serve in Jesus’s name. Springing from historic Baptist soil, the seminary became an expression of innovation and creativity in theological education.  The seminary was established originally by the Alliance of Baptists, but it has since been nurtured by the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and the Baptist General Association of Virginia. BTSR currently has more than 700 graduates serving all around the world in local congregations, social service agencies, educational institutions, chaplaincies, and on the mission field.

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