James M. Dunn, religious liberty advocate, dies at 83: People

James M. Dunn, who led the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty for nearly two decades, died of a heart attack July 4 at age 83. He was known for his stalwart defense of religious liberty, colorful turns of phrase, and bow ties.

“The 20th century had no greater champion of religious freedom—of conscience—than James Dunn,” said Oliver “Buzz” Thomas, who was general counsel of the organization under Dunn. “James understood the dangers of civil religion.”

In his career Dunn also served as a pastor and professor of Christianity and public policy at the School of Divinity at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.