By Staff, Baptist Message
WEST MONROE – Messengers to the 2012 annual meeting of the Louisiana Baptist Convention affirmed six resolutions, the majority of which dealt with social issues. One addressed the theological significance of a “sinner’s prayer” and another expressed appreciation for the host church, First Baptist Church of West Monroe.
The four resolutions that focused on social issues dealt with the protection of religious liberty, the University of Louisiana-Lafayette’s (ULL) recent offering of a Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender academic minor, addressed the effort to equate homosexual marriage with the Civil Rights Movement and called for individuals, churches and the government to exercise financial responsibility.
Of the four resolutions that address social issues, perhaps the one hitting closest to home was titled “On University of Louisiana at Lafayette Offering a LGBT Minor” and called on officials of both ULL and the University of Louisiana System as well as members of the Louisiana Legislature to “dissolve immediately” the LGBT Minor the school began offering recently.
ULL introduced the new curricula during the Spring semester. A delegation of pastors and leaders met with ULL President E. Joseph Savoie shortly after news of the LGBT minor become known. Though few students have yet to pursue the new course of study, Savoie indicated at the meeting only five in the spring had declared the new minor. The ULL president made it clear the minor had been developed via proper academic protocols and would remain.
“The passing of the resolution calling for the dissolution of the LGBT Minor at ULL is significant,” said Kelly Boggs, editor of the Baptist Message and public affairs officer for the LBC. “I feel certain this issue will come up during the 2013 legislative session in Baton Rouge and this will enable us to communicate a strong message concerning the values of not only Louisiana Baptists but of the vast majority of citizens and taxpayers in our state.”
The resolution “On Protecting Religious Liberty” addressed the threat to the free exercise of religion being posed by the United States government in a variety of ways. One encroachment is connected to the implementation of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which will require religiously-affiliated institutions to provide contraception and abortifacient drugs at no cost via their insurance carriers.
Other threats to religious liberty, the resolution states, are efforts to normalize homosexual behavior in the military and the Obama Justice Department’s position that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
The resolution “On ‘Same-Sex Marriage’ and Civil Rights Rhetoric” rejected the attempt by homosexual activists to define the effort to legalize homosexual marriage in terms of civil rights. The resolution states, “… homosexuality does not qualify as a class meriting special protections like race and gender .…”
The resolution “On Debt And Fiscal Responsibility” called attention to the danger of debt and “strongly encouraged our church members, families, churches and governments to practice financial responsibility according to biblical principles.” Additionally, the resolution urged “churches and pastors to preach and teach biblical financial principles.”
Only one of the proposed resolutions garnered any debate. Fred Malone, messenger and pastor from First Baptist Clinton, made a motion that sought to have messengers address the resolution “On The ‘Sinner’s Prayer’” as a single item, separate from the other resolutions.
Malone stated that his motive was to have messengers reject the motion on the sinner’s prayer brought to the floor by the LBC Resolutions Committee and, instead, affirm and pass the resolution on the sinner’s that was adopted at the 2012 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting at New Orleans.
Malone said by adopting the motion being put forth by the LBC Resolutions Committee Louisiana Baptists would be at odds with the broader SBC. He added that he believed the resolution passed at the SBC was closer to the content found in the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.
Clark Stewart, pastor of New Zion Baptist in Covington and chairman of the Resolutions Committee, spoke against Malone’s motion stating the committee wished it to be left unchanged and to be considered along with the other resolutions.
Mitch Axsom, messenger from First Baptist Clinton, spoke in favor of Malone’s motion to affirm the resolution passed at the SBC Annual Meeting. He stated his belief that a vote in favor of the resolution proposed by the LBC Resolutions Committee would be an act of disunity.
Steve Horn, messenger and pastor of First Baptist Lafayette, indicated that he appreciated the concern over unity but believed expressing one’s opinion or feelings on a given issue should not be considered disunity.
“The truth,” Horn said, “is we were never allowed to vote on the resolution we are now considering because the committee [SBC Resolutions Committee] changed the wording.”
“The first ‘whereas’ in the SBC resolution,” Horn pointed out, “is different [from the LBC resolution] and is the crux of the matter.”