Veritas Lecture Series Hosts Brent Leatherwood

Brent Leatherwood speaking in Dallas at DBU in the Great Hall

On the evening of February 6, Dallas Baptist University was honored to host Brent Leatherwood as the keynote speaker in the latest Veritas Lecture Series event as a part of the Institute for Global Engagement.

After a brief introduction from Jonathan Fechner, the Executive Director for the Institute of Global Engagement, Brent Leatherwood began his lecture by recounting the recent terrorist attack in Israel in October 2023. He was appalled to see people on social media rushing to provide justifications for Palestine and the Hamas terrorist group for the attacks against Israel. During the beginning of the conflict, he remembered seeing people quote the phrase, "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter." People should be able to differentiate between these two things, but the world has clouded people's judgment. Leatherwood refuted the famous quote and asserted that we must return to the proper principles and categories to understand the world correctly.

Leatherwood explained that online algorithms are designed to get a rise out of the reader. The world tries to make the user fearful because "When people are afraid, they look for anything that will make them secure. They look for power." Fear-based power is not what Christians are called to pursue. Leatherwood explained that Christian's moral convictions should dictate political affiliation because of their faith in Christ, but many Christians seem to ignore this. Believers should desire political officials who strive to honor God in everything they do every day in office. Christian voters should be gunning for what is right, true, and good, according to Scripture, not the world.

Leatherwood highlighted two main principles that should encompass our understanding as Christian citizens: Our identity is shaped as exiles, and a proper understanding of the state shapes us. As Christians, we are citizens of heaven first and foremost, but that does not mean we should ignore the world around us. In the Bible, God gave exiles tasks to establish themselves in their surroundings. He did not command them to ignore what was happening around them. In the grand scheme of things, voting is a tiny part of our duty to the world that God has given us. "If the total sum of our political participation is one vote a year or a string of tweets and TikToks, then we have failed mightily in our obligation to care for the cities where God has placed us."

As for a Christian's understanding of the state, Leatherwood explains that we should recognize that a free church within a free state is the Christian ideal. He continued, "A Baptist understanding of the state must begin with local churches and baptism." He explains that baptism is a political proclamation because it declares that nobody but Christ is Lord over everything. He stated that a Christian should love our country so much that we can call it out when it inevitably falls short. "When we have a proper understanding of Christian citizenship, it will radically change the way we think about politics. It will cause us to deemphasize the importance of politics in our daily lives. It will act as a guardrail to keep us from equating politics with religion because, for many, that is exactly what politics has become."

Leatherwood closed his lecture by challenging the audience to engage their local community. The local government impacts our daily lives far more than the federal government. He recognized that most citizens are unaware of who their local representatives are. "How can we pray for our local officials if we do not even know their names?" Having a proper understanding of what Christian citizenship looks like will revolutionize how we engage in politics. We should stand ready to give a defense for the hope within us with respect and gentleness. "Fear not because He has overcome this world."

The Veritas event concluded with closing remarks from DBU President Dr. Adam C. Wright. He thanked Brent Leatherwood for his insightful lecture, highlighted the necessity of this transformation of thinking in our current world, and said, "We do not have to look very far to see the fear and anger that grips the world in which we live."

Dr. Brent Leatherwood speaking to Dallas college studetns during chapel

Brent Leatherwood also addressed the DBU student body in chapel the following day, February 7. He encouraged the students to stray from the temptation of idolizing politics and prioritizing them over a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. "You should not first turn to the media for information on how to think about politics. We should look to Christ, the Scripture, church leaders, and Christians who are so grounded in Scripture that they cannot help but see God's Word in every context."

Brent Leatherwood was elected as President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission in 2022 after a year of leading the organization as acting President. Previously, he served as Chief of Staff at the ERLC and the entity's Director of Strategic Partnerships. Brent brings expertise in public policy to his work, having been the Executive Director of the Tennessee Republican Party, the Director of Communications and Policy Strategy in the Tennessee General Assembly, and working for several years on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Brent is a dedicated member of his church, where he has served as a deacon since 2014. He is married to Meredith, and together they have three children.

About Dallas Baptist University

Dallas Baptist University is a comprehensive Christ-centered university dedicated to producing servant leaders through the integration of faith and learning. With an enrollment of over 4,200 students, DBU's main campus is located in the foothills of southwest Dallas. DBU offers 79 undergraduate programs and 37 graduate degree programs in various fields, online college degree programs, and two doctoral programs. Get more information about Dallas Baptist University ( by browsing our website, emailing, or by calling (214) 333-5172.

Written by Cameron Billings

Cameron Billings is the Assistant Director of Written Content in University Communications at Dallas Baptist University.