For the week of October 7, 2004
Disaster relief efforts
President George Bush made reference last week to ongoing Southern Baptist
relief efforts to help Florida residents impacted by the recent string of hurricanes.
“Despite week after week of strain, faith-based groups, like Southern Baptists
and the Salvation Army, are setting up kitchens to feed the hungry,” Bush
noted in a visit to one area of the hard-hit state. The president repeated the
reference in a follow-up visit to another Florida town the next day. In the
wake of Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Ivan, nearly 6,000 Southern Baptist
disaster relief volunteers have helped prepare more than 1.6 million meals and
completed nearly 5,000 cleanup and recovery projects. On Sept. 27 about 600
volunteers from 10 states were already in various stages of deployment to Floridas
east coast in the wake of Hurricane Jeanne, and mobile kitchen units were en
route from seven states. Louisiana Baptists have been an active part of the
effort. Units from the state have been at work since August.
LBC youth conference
The annual Louisiana Baptist Youth Evangelism Conference has been set for Nov.
21-23 in the Rapides Parish Coliseum in Alexandria, state convention leaders
recently announced. Each year, the conference attracts hundreds of young people
from across Louisiana for three days of high-energy speakers, music and multi-media
presentations. The conference is designed as an evangelistic and equipping event
to lead unbelievers to faith in Christ and challenge believers to deeper commitment.
In addition to general gathering, nine large-group breakout sessions on a variety
of relevant topics are scheduled. Cost is $30 per person, with a registration
deadline of Nov. 12. Persons may send registration information to: YEC 04,
Louisiana Baptist Convention, P.O. Box 311, Alexandria, LA, 71309 or visit www.lbc.org/YEC.
(Telephone registrations cannot be accepted.) The cost includes admissions to
concerts by Christian artists Kutless and Jeremy Camp. Persons also may register
for individual sessions. The first conference session is set for Nov. 21 at
6 p.m. The gathering is set to end Nov. 23 at 11 a.m. For information, persons
may call (800) 622-6549 or (318) 448-3402.
The Louisiana Baptist Convention has partnered with Serendipity House to schedule
three training seminars on “How to be a Great Small-Group Leader”
this month. Sessions are set for Oct. 25 at Brookwood Baptist Church in Shreveport,
Oct. 26 at Donahue Family Church in Pineville and Oct. 28 at First Baptist Church
of New Orleans. All seminars are set for 6-9 p.m. Cost is $35 per person, with
persons who register at least seven days in advance receiving a free Serendipity
Interactive Study Bible. Sessions are designed to teach persons how to lead
small groups, resolve conflict constructively and multiply groups as well. For
additional information on the sessions, visit www.SerendipityHouse.com.
To register, call (877) 728-4799.
Baylor University regents recently voted to postpone indefinitely a call for
President Robert Sloans resignation. They also unanimously rejected a
request by the universitys faculty senate to hold a faculty-wide referendum
on Sloans administration. A motion calling for Sloans resignation
was introduced at the recent regents meeting – but it quickly was followed
by a second motion that the matter be postponed indefinitely. With that action,
the issue still can be considered at another time. Regent leaders declined to
reveal the vote margin, but one participant termed it as “very close.”
The motion to postpone was the latest in a series of votes by regents on Sloans
leadership. The board voted 31-4 in 2003 to affirm Sloan. But this spring, a
motion to ask for Sloans resignation failed by an 18-17 secret ballot.
Meanwhile, twice in a little more than a year, the universitys faculty
senate has passed votes of no confidence in Sloans leadership. Sloan has
drawn fire from some for his Baylor 2012 plan, a 10-year vision for making the
school a top-tier university. He has been faulted for increasing debt, raising
tuition, failing to foster relationships with alumni and faculty and imposing
more narrow religious restrictions on faculty.
Nova Scotia recently became the sixth Canadian province or territory to legalize
same-sex marriage when the provincial Supreme Court ruled that such relationships
cannot be banned. The ruling is the latest victory for homosexual activists
in Canada. Half of Canadas 10 provinces now allow same-sex marriage –
all stemming from rulings by various courts. In America, advocates of traditional
families voice fears that actions in Canada will expedite the push to legalize
same-sex marriage in this nation. Already, lawsuits have been filed by homosexual
couples who have received marriage licenses in Canada and are seeking recognition
in the United States.
Protecting the Pledge
The U.S. House of Representatives recently approved legislation that would
prevent federal courts from considering challenges to the Pledge of Allegiance.
The House voted 247-173 for the Pledge Protection Act (H.R. 2028). The measure
would remove legal challenges to the pledges content from the jurisdiction
of all federal courts, including the Supreme Court. Instead, state courts would
determine the constitutionality of the pledge within their jurisdictions. The
House action came three months after the Supreme Court protected the phrase
“under God” in the pledge – but without ruling on its constitutionality.
The justices unanimously agreed to overrule an appeals court decision that a
California school districts policy requiring recitation of the pledge
is unconstitutional. But the decision was based on a technical – rather
than a constitutional – matter. Despite the House action, the U.S. Senate
appears unlikely to pass the court-stripping legislation before it adjourns
A New York Times article this year that said teenage virginity pledges rarely
are kept – but a new study by the Heritage Foundation begs to differ. Indeed,
the study indicates that young people who make such pledges have substantially
lower levels of sexual activity and better life outcomes than those who do not
make such commitments. The study found that youth who make a pledge to remain
sexually abstinent until marriage are less likely to experience teenage pregnancy,
are less likely to be sexually active while in high school and as young adults,
are less likely to give birth as teenagers or young adults, are less likely
to give birth out of wedlock, are less likely to engage in risky unprotected
sex and will have fewer sexual partners. “Overall, making a virginity pledge
is strongly associated with a wide array of positive behaviors and outcomes
while having no negative effects,” a Heritage Foundation news release said.
“The findings presented in this study strongly suggest that virginity pledges
and similar abstinence education programs have the potential to substantially
reduce teen sexual activity, teen pregnancy and out-of-wedlock childbearing.”
For a full report on the study, visit www.heritage.org/Research/Family/wm570.cfm.
Evangelist Billy Graham has confirmed that his health has improved enough for
him to continue with plans to preach in Kansas City, Mo., and Los Angeles this
fall. “I feel better than I expected to at this point and I am thankful
that God has strengthened me for continued ministry,” Graham said in a
late September statement. “I appreciate everyones prayers on my behalf,
and I look forward once again to bringing a message of Gods love and forgiveness
to the people of Kansas City and Los Angeles.” The evangelist suffered
two serious falls that resulted in surgeries earlier this year for partial hip
replacement and the repair of a pelvic fracture. The Southern Baptist evangelists
next crusade is scheduled for Oct. 7-10 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City,
which is to be followed by the Los Angeles crusade, set for Nov. 18-21 at the