Florida’s religious liberties ‘watchman’ plans updates via website, social media
Bill Bunkley highlights information & influence on FERLC site
Mar 4, 2014
By JONI B. HANNIGAN
Managing Editor

TALLAHASSEE (FBW)—For more than 18 years Florida Baptists have relied on the quiet, but forceful influence of Bill Bunkley, the former legislative consultant for the Florida Baptist Convention, to stay in touch with the critical issues and powerbrokers in Tallahassee to learn about legislation that could impact religious liberty. 

Bunkley is still going about that task—but has reorganized efforts in an attempt to more effectively utilize the limited resources he now receives from the Florida Baptist Convention for a new, separate ministry he began two years ago—the Florida Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

March 4, at the start of the 2014 legislative session in Tallahassee, the Florida Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (FERLC) will launch the organization’s website that Bunkley describes as a “dashboard for what’s going on in Florida.”

The website showcases much of what Bunkley has always done in Tallahassee during Florida’s legislative session—and throughout the year in key cities throughout the state—but is available to Florida Baptists and the general public. 

In a special sneak preview, Florida Baptist Witness took a tour of the www.ferlc.org website, and noted a sharp, clear presentation of FERLC’s Tallahassee presence conveyed to the online community through a highly functional, interactive website.

The FERLC website includes:

A welcoming video by Bunkley, which will alternate between audio and video interviews of Bunkley with important social conservatives.

This feature is geared toward interviews with social conservatives who serve in key political spots and in Florida’s legislature. Bunkley has unique access to these individuals because of his media presence as a talk show host for Salem Radio Network. “The Bill Bunkley Show” airs live 4-6 p.m. weekdays on WTBN AM radio 570 & 910  in Tampa and is live-streamed at www.bayword.com. The show can be accessed from the FERLC website.

During the two-month legislative session in Tallahassee, Bunkley will broadcast from inside the state’s Supreme Court building, he told Florida Baptist Witness.

“The new website helps Florida Baptists see how I am making sure our Christian worldview is part of the public square,” Bunkley said.

A link, “Bills We Are Monitoring,” displays and offers more complete   information for all legislative bills that have “some sort of concern” for Florida Baptists, evangelical Christians, and for social conservatives. Bunkley has tagged those he suggests be opposed or promoted.

A “Tallahassee Update” link that collects information about where to send a brief newsletter giving concise updates about legislative and social concerns.

A “Call To Action” letting the online community know seven ways people can be involved in FERLC at the grassroots level—from contacting elected officials (a simple address and ZIP code feature gives people names and contact information for their own officials), to learning more about how to support FERLC is explained here.

Other features of the website are a Twitter fountain of the @FloridaFERLC social media Twitter feed with updates and retweets; information about volunteers and internship opportunities in Tampa and Tallahassee; links to FERLC’s Facebook, Google, LinkedIn and Twitter sites, and more.

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