For the edition published June 12, 2003
Susan Sutton, 54, died early June 6, following an eight-year
battle with cancer. She was the wife of Mark Sutton, pastor at Brookwood Baptist
Church and former Louisiana Baptist Convention president. Suttons struggle
against cancer was well-known because of publicity she received in gaining approval
from the Southern Baptist Annuity Board for particular treatment procedures
a number of years ago. She is survived by her husband and three daughters.
Gifts through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program totaled
$16.8 million last month, a drop of $1.15 million (6.4 percent) from the previous
May. For the year, gifts total almost $124 million, an increase of $259,570
(0.2 percent) from the same time last year. The total is about $6 million (5.1
percent) ahead of budget as well. Meanwhile, designated gifts totaled $17.7
million last month, a drop of about $7.9 million (30.9 percent) from the previous
May. For the year, designated gifts total $129.5 million, a decrease of $13.5
million (9.5 percent) from the same time last year.
The House of Representatives voted in convincing fashion last
week to outlaw the late-term partial-birth abortion procedure. The 282-139 vote
in favor of the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act moved the legislation one step
closer to enactment. The Senate passed a similar ban in March with a 64-33 vote.
Because of a difference in the two versions, a conference committee of both
Senate and House members will negotiate a final bill for passage before sending
it to the White House, where President George Bush has signaled support for
such a measure. Last week, he urged Congress to resolve differences as quickly
as possible and send him a bill he can sign into law as soon as possible. When
enacted, the ban will become federal law after eight years of effort. Congress
twice adopted partial-birth abortion bans in the 1990s, only to have then-President
Bill Clinton veto them both times. Enactment also will mark the first time Congress
has restricted a particular method of abortion since the practice was legalized
by the Supreme Court in 1973. However, even when signed, the fight likely will
continue. Pro-abortion advocates have vowed to fight any partial-birth abortion
ban in court – and observers say the issue likely will go all the way to
the U.S. Supreme Court.
A 28-year-old, mentally-impaired south Florida rape victim
underwent a court-authorized abortion last month after intervention efforts
by pro-life advocates failed. Doctors performed the abortion on a woman almost
six months pregnant after a two-week legal battle. A Florida judge considered
ordering a live Cesarean section at the request of a pro-life group but decided
to permit the abortion instead. A released statement from the court noted: “The
mother of the ward did not want her daughter to be subjected to any more of
an invasive procedure than was absolutely necessary to terminate the pregnancy
and for a tubal ligation. She objected strongly to a C-section, which would
have been required to attempt a live birth. This, taken together with the greater
weight of medical opinion that the fetus was subject to an extremely high risk
of morbidity, foreclosed brief reconsideration of alternatives.” The case
is similar to another Florida case, in which a mentally-disabled rape victim,
22, is more than five months pregnant. In that case, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has
called for the appointment of a guardian for the unborn child. The women in
both cases reportedly were raped while living in group homes for the disabled.
First Baptist Church of Collierville, Tenn., is working to
meet medical needs in Iraq by assembling kits that will help improve the health
of thousands of Iraqi families. The church has a goal of shipping 14,400 kits
to Kuwait City in late June. The kits will include everyday items – from
childrens vitamins to Band-Aids, toothbrushes to shampoo to dishtowels.
Organizers say they hope to establish and build ties between healthcare professionals
in America and Iraq and to open doors for more extensive relief work. Leaders
of the 2,100-member Tennessee church say they were not sure at first if the
congregation could handle a project that called for more than 14,000 kits at
a cost of $40 each. “This is a God-sized project,” senior pastor Chuck
Herring said. Despite the costs, the church took responsibility for the need
and is seeking to enlist the help of other churches in the area to help. For
details, call (901) 853-2668 or (901) 850-5048.
Boy Scouts policy
One of the countrys largest Boy Scouts councils is openly
defying the national organizations policy on homosexual troop leaders
and apparently could be booted if its policy remains unchanged. The board of
the Philadelphia-based Cradle of Liberty Council is the third-largest scouting
council in America with 87,000 members. Members of the council recently voted
to add the phrase “sexual orientation” to its policy of nondiscrimination.
Knowingly enlisting homosexual troop leaders would violate the policy of the
Boy Scouts of America, which won a Supreme Court case in 2000 that allows it
to bar homosexuals from becoming troop leaders. A national scouting spokesperson
said discussions already had begun with Philadelphia leaders. However, he also
said the Boy Scouts policy on homosexual troop leaders will not change.
He noted polls have shown that parents of scouts overwhelmingly agree with the
policy, the spokesperson said. Nationally, Scouts have about 5 million members.
In the June 5 issue of the Louisiana Baptist Message, a Page Six article incorrectly
said Louisiana Baptists had surpassed the $500 billion mark in Cooperative Program
giving since 1925. Actually, they surpassed the $500 million mark in giving
earlier this year.