Words Of Welcome

The open-minded congregation of the First Baptist Church in America has given passersby something to think about this Pride Week. The Rev. Jamie Washam has exercised wit and wisdom on the message board in the past. The Providence Journal wrote about Washam’s “audition” when she first applied for the position of pastor back in 2015. Having a good feel for the room, she chose as her topic the legacy of Roger Williams.

Her purpose was to signal to the congregation that separation of church and state “was a profound value for me as a pastor … something that I think is crucial, and I honor that it got its inception here. I wanted to, in delivering that message, make it clear to them that it was a banner I intended to carry.”

She gave it a lighthearted but perhaps deeper meaning when she carried the message outside. One of her duties as pastor is to pick the saying for the sign visible from the busy corner of North Main and Washington. For part of October, the message under the church’s name read: “We’re for separation of church and hate.”

I heard the Rev. Washam myself for the first time last month when she spoke before the House Judiciary Committee in favor of ending marijuana prohibition. (I also testified as a speaker for Law Enforcement Action Partnership, LEAP.) Her sincere passion concerning the social injustices occurring under the current system was moving, well-articulated, and persuasive.

I may be an atheist, but I know a good Christian when I see one.




1 thought on “Words Of Welcome”

  1. On that subject, I gleefully remember another noteworthy posting on that First Baptist signboard a few years ago at Super Bowl time… a non-sectarian, but highly partisan:
    “God has no favorites. But the Sign Guy does: Go Broncs!”

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