Public Policy Forum Covers NRB’s Advocacy Actions in DC

NRB | March 21, 2024 | Advocacy, NRB News

On Friday, Feb. 23, at the 2024 NRB International Christian Media Convention, NRB leaders participated in a panel discussion about NRB public policy engagement and legal action on behalf of Christian communicators.

The forum featured NRB President and CEO Troy A. Miller and General Counsel Michael P. Farris. Noelle Huizenga, Director of Public Policy and Communications, moderated the discussion.

As the cultural and political environment becomes increasingly hostile toward Christians, strong public policy engagement is essential to help defend religious liberty and free speech on behalf of Christian communicators. NRB’s Public Policy division works to advocate for a favorable business environment for broadcasters, address threats to religious free speech, defend the rights of religious nonprofits, and fight for First Amendment freedoms in the courts.

“I think that the society at large has lost its way in so many ways,” Farris said, “but not the least of which is that there’s a growing segment of America that does not believe in the principles of freedom of speech. There is an old saying, ‘I may not believe anything you say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.’ That was what America really was about for such a long time.”

The group discussed legislative approaches, regulatory policy, and other strategies to protect Christian television, radio, and other forms of communications.

“We met with members of the House Commerce and Energy Committee,” Miller said, “and we met with Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chairperson of that committee, to talk to them about the changing landscape that’s going on in television. Because if you look at the Communications Act, there’s actually a provision in there where Congress directs that noncommercial public programing [and] religious programing is something that is beneficial to the country. And so we asked them, how are you going to carry that forward?”

The panel also talked about NRB’s plans to develop a challenge to the Johnson Amendment. Farris said what pushed him to being prepared to pursue legal action was his observation that a liberal-leaning media organization continued to publish endorsements for candidates despite having nonprofit status.

“There is no constitutional difference between them and our members,” Farris said. “And it struck me that NRB really was in a great position to make the parallel to the Court to recognize that this is not being enforced in a proper, evenhanded, neutral manner.”

“[The Johnson Amendment] has been one of the biggest tools used to create fear amongst the church and amongst nonprofit organizations to speak up and be involved in the political process of this country,” Miller said. “Christians are somehow the only group across this country that seem not to be able to be involved in the political process. It is right and proper for Christians to be involved in the political sector.”

The Public Policy office at NRB leads direct lawmaker engagement, maintains the association’s presence and profile on Capitol Hill, submits public filings in the agency rulemaking process, produces articles and analysis, issues statements on public policy matters, strategizes with industry colleagues on shared priorities, recommends issues for board resolutions, and more.

To stream recordings of the 2025 NRB Convention, please visit NRB’s digital storefront. The next NRB Convention will be held February 24-27, 2025, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center, Grapevine, Texas. For more information, go to www.nrbconvention.org.

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