Charles Foster Johnson, one of our best allies in the fight against vouchers and for adequate funding for public schools, was named “Baptist of the Year.”

Congratulations,Charlie!

Charles organized Pastors for Texas Kids to advocate for children in public schools and for separation of church and state. He has helped to organize similar groups in other states because he has a deep commitment to the common good.

EthicsDaily.com’s board of directors is pleased to announce that Charles Foster Johnson is the 2018 Baptist of the Year.

Johnson, a pastor who has become a tireless advocate for public education, is the executive director of Pastors for Texas Children.

The organization, founded by Johnson in 2013, is a statewide ecumenical group mobilizing the faith community for public education support and advocacy.

In Texas, Kentucky, Arizona, West Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma and other states, adequately funding public education has become a significant political – and campaigning – issue.

Johnson and his supporters deserve much credit for mobilizing Christians to support and advocate for public education.

Their efforts paid off with both Democratic and Republican officeholders recommitting themselves to making public education funding a top priority in upcoming legislative sessions.

“With his deep, infectious voice and his black cowboy boots, he never meets a stranger and never backs down from a challenge,” said Sharon Felton, minister to youth and students at Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, Kentucky, and the head of Pastors for Kentucky Children. “But what makes Charlie one of my favorite Baptists is his gentle and kind heart.”

Felton says Johnson’s personality is “larger than life,” and anyone who knows him will agree.

In an interview with EthicsDaily early this year, Johnson reminded Baptists about the importance of educating all children for the common good.

“People of faith embrace public education as a provision of God’s common good,” he said, “as a basic, core, fundamental, social justice expression in society.”

“When Oklahoma pastors noticed their local public schools falling apart due to a severe lack of funding, we turned to our neighbors to the south in Texas for guidance and help,” said Pastors for Oklahoma Kids Executive Director Clark Frailey. “Charles Johnson answered the call and spoke at what would ultimately become our first organizing meeting.”

Johnson worked with the leaders of Pastors for Oklahoma Kids when thousands of Oklahoma teachers walked out of the classroom to protest a decade-long trend of defunding public education.

Their efforts gave great support to teachers and helped frame the conversation for people of faith.

Johnson, also the founder and co-pastor of Bread, a faith community in Fort Worth, Texas, knows a thing or two about organizing.

He brought a stellar career of pastoring churches in Texas, Mississippi and Kentucky with him to his current advocacy work.