Southern Baptists “Stand With the Bishops” Against the White House

WHEREAS, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects United States citizens from any interference by the Federal Government in their “free exercise” of religion; and

WHEREAS, The Department of Health and Human Services has determined that all health care plans under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) must provide free of charge contraceptives and abortion causing drugs and devices, even if such provisions violate the faith convictions of religious employers, health plan providers, and participants; and

WHEREAS, The Obama administration will require health plans under PPACA to maintain a separate abortion fund supported by a premium surcharge on health plan participants regardless of their religiously-informed convictions about abortion; and

WHEREAS, The Justice Department (Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, 2012) has asserted that government has the authority to determine which ministries of a church qualify for First Amendment staffing protections, in clear violation of the biblical teaching that churches are unique institutions by virtue of their divine origin (Matthew 16:18); and

WHEREAS, The United States military is currently engaged in efforts to normalize homosexual behavior in the armed services, threatening the ability of chaplains to perform ministry according to the dictates of their consciences and the teachings of their faith; and

WHEREAS, The Justice Department has argued that the federal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman is unconstitutional, threatening the ability of religious business owners and religious organizations to offer their services to those only who share their faith convictions about marriage; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 19–20, 2012, steadfastly object to the administration’s efforts to undermine the religious liberty of American citizens; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on President Obama to instruct the Department of Health and Human Services to withdraw its insistence that health care plans provide contraceptives and abortion causing drugs and devices and instead exempt from this requirement all religious organizations and people of faith, whether in their private capacity or as employers, who declare a religious objection to such coverage; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we deplore the provision in the PPACA that sets up a separate abortion fund in health care plans as well as the administration’s efforts to require United States citizens to pay for abortion through their health care premiums contrary to the dictates of their faith; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we declare our support for the Constitution’s recognition of the unique nature of the church and insist that the Justice Department retract its offensive, unconstitutional attitude toward the church; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we wholeheartedly support the ministry of chaplains in the United States military and call on the Obama administration to instruct our military leaders to ensure the freedom of chaplains to minister to members of the armed services according to the dictates of the chaplains’ consciences without fear or coercion; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our deepest appreciation for every person who serves in the armed services of our nation and call on the Obama administration to guarantee the right of those who have volunteered to serve to express their religious convictions about homosexual behavior without fear of reprisal; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the Justice Department to cease its efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act and instead engage in a vigorous effort to defend this law of the land from every challenge; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we pledge to defend the God-given and constitutionally guaranteed right of every American citizen to worship God freely in thought, word, and action, according to the dictates of his or her conscience.

(Cover image credit: Morris Abernathy)

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Gail D. Finke is an author and mother living in Cincinnati, where she writes for The Catholic Beat at Sacred Heart Radio.

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