RFI’s Nathan Berkeley on “Taking Steps to Protect Religious Institutions”

February 16, 2024

Nathan Berkeley, RFI’s Communications Director, joined the Center for Biblical Unity’s podcast All the Things to discuss “Taking Steps to Protect Religious Institutions.” Berkeley discussed the ways religious institutions are being targeted today, and how they can protect themselves in the face of such threats and remain faithful to their mission and core convictions.

Berkeley argued there are serious and rapidly growing threats to religious institutions today, including Christian ones, that are happening in “broad and multi-sector way” across American society: he cited attacks to K-12 schools, colleges, faith-based foster care and adoption agencies, healthcare and pregnancy centers, and small businesses. “In everyone of those areas, Christians institutions have been targeted with public smear campaigns, aggressive government administrative action, non-discrimination laws in particular, and lawsuits,” he said.

When asked what “woke activists” perpetrating some of these attacks are trying to accomplish, Berkeley explained:

Their goal is to push these institutions out of American public life… When these institutions reflect ideas that some woke ideologues disagree with, their mere presence becomes a form of offense. So they want these institutions to either change to be unrecognizable to what they are right now… or to vacate the premises, get them out of our public life, so they no longer have to be this visible manifestation of ideas that they disagree with.

For taking steps to protect themselves, Berkeley urged religious organizations to think about two categories: consistency and transparency. He argued that the goal is for them to achieve full alignment with their religious mission across all areas of the organization – including HR policies, recruiting and hiring practices, health insurance, and the way they offer goods and services. They should also aim to be transparent in the way they present themselves externally. “It’s important you are transparent about who you are publicly, and being consistent in how you apply your religious convictions across your organization. If you get those two big areas right, you’ll be in a much better place,” he said. “It’s also a way to fulfill your mission perhaps even more fully,” he added.

Berkeley also pointed to a resource that RFI has created to provide a roadmap for organizations on these issues, the RFI Crisis Toolkit for Religious Institutions. He urged organizations to take action before a crisis comes and to think intentionally about putting these recommendations into practice.

“The more intentional you are, the more faithful you’ll be, but you’ll also have the backend effects of being more resilient if a crisis does come,” said Berkeley.

Listen to the full interview: “Taking Steps to Protect Religious Institutions” or watch the video: