Protecting our first freedoms:
Faith, conscience and speech

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Southern Baptist Convention


Needed pro-life protections in potential healthcare legislation

Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission

July 10, 2017

We believe any healthcare legislation considered by the Congress must do three things: redirect government funds from Planned Parenthood, ensure that no taxpayer funding is used for abortion services, and protect the consciences of medical professionals who may be otherwise required to act against their moral convictions in the course of their jobs. Pro-life healthcare professionals should have the right to administer care in accordance with their consciences. No healthcare worker should be forced to participate in abortions or other medical procedures that conflict with their religiously informed conscience. To protect this right, the Conscience Protection Act would give healthcare professionals the ability to defend themselves in court when states infringe their conscience rights, as is already happening in California and New York.

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What is Neil Gorsuch's religion? It's complicated


March 20, 2017

He was raised Catholic but now worships with his wife and two daughters at St. John's Episcopal Church in Boulder, Colorado. Like the city, the congregation is politically liberal. It bars guns from its campus and installed solar panels; it condemns harsh rhetoric about Muslims and welcomes gays and lesbians. Richard Land, president of Southern Evangelical Seminary, said, "Would I be happier if he were going to a more traditional Episcopal Church? Yeah, I'd be happier for him. But I'm more concerned with his views on the Constitution than where he goes to church." Gorsuch himself drew on natural law while writing his 2006 book "The Future of Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia." In it, he argued that "all human beings are intrinsically valuable and the intentional taking of human life by private persons is always wrong." "It is impossible to come away from this rather remarkable book with any conclusion other than that this is a man who has a very high regard for the sanctity and the dignity of human life," said Timothy Goeglein, vice president for external relations for the evangelical ministry Focus on the Family. 

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"Fairness for All": Evangelicals Explore Truce on LGBT and Religious Rights

Christianity Today

March 6, 2017

In recent months, the CCCU and the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) have discreetly led the charge to get evangelical institutions to think through potential legal options to safeguard their Christian distinctives as they look ahead to 2017. They met with more than 200 leaders in 9 cities to discuss Fairness for All, an approach that would bring together religious liberty defenders and LGBT activists to lay out federal legislation to secure rights for both. Still, several prominent religious liberty advocates-including the Alliance Defending Freedom and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention-that opposed the Utah compromise model aren't on board with Fairness for All either. Spokeswoman Elizabeth Bristow noted the ERLC's "longstanding policy that we do not support elevating sexual orientation and gender identity to a protected class." Wilson warned against comparing potential Fairness for All legislation to existing policies that have led to high-profile "bakers and bathrooms" cases, most of which were enacted prior to the legalization of same-sex marriage and without input from both sides. "To look at these older data points and rules only shows us that legislation did not take into account religious freedom," she said. "They weren't Fairness for All. They were sexual orientation and gender identity antidiscrimination statutes that did not answer the hardest questions." (orig. pub. 12/8/16)

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Citing Religious Liberty, Evangelical Leaders Blast Trump's Muslim Ban


December 9, 2015

Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, criticized Trump's proposal on Monday, warning his "reckless, demagogic rhetoric" was an affront to religious freedom. "As an evangelical Christian, I could not disagree more strongly with Islam. I believe that salvation comes only through union with Jesus Christ, received through faith," he wrote in an op-ed. "As part of the church's mission, we believe we should seek to persuade our Muslim neighbors of the goodness and truth of the Gospel. It is not in spite of our Gospel conviction, but precisely because of it, that we should stand for religious liberty for everyone."

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The Eclipse of Religious Liberty and the Threat of a New Dark Age commentary by Al Mohler

May 18, 2015

These are days that will require courage, conviction, and clarity of vision. We are in a fight for the most basic liberties God has given humanity, every single one of us, made in his image. Religious liberty is being redefined as mere freedom of worship, but it will not long survive if it is reduced to a private sphere with no public voice. The very freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake, and thus so is the liberty of every American. Human rights and human dignity are temporary abstractions if they are severed from their reality as gifts of the Creator. The eclipse of Christian truth will lead inevitably to a tragic loss of human dignity.

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Why not just hand the sermons over?

Moore to the Point

October 16, 2014

In our system of government, the ultimate "king" is the people. As citizens, we bear responsibility for electing officials, for speaking to laws that are made in our name, and for setting precedents by our actions. Shrugging this off is not the equivalent of Jesus standing silently before Pilate. It's the equivalent of Pilate washing his hands, so as not to bear accountability for our own decisions and precedents set. When the government acts, legal precedents are set. By complying with this unjust decree, Christians would be binding future people and institutions, including those who are the most powerless to stand against such things. If the government can scrutinize the preaching of Christian churches on sexual matters in Houston, the same government could do the reverse in, say, Amarillo.

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Who gets to define marriage? Utah's marriage amendment and the Supreme Court

ERLC commentary by Andrew Walker

August 6, 2014

What's at stake in this debate-and what needs to be answered-is whether marriage is malleable or fixed; whether marriage is something subject to electoral opinion, or whether-like water-marriage has a definite composition. Or, to use Anderson, Gergis and George's terminology, whether marriage is conjugal or subject to revision. For if marriage is something; that is, whether it is intelligible and has a definite shape to it, then the question of whether same-sex attracted persons can enter into something that they're not apt to enter, becomes irrelevant.

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I'm Praying for David Saperstein

Canon and Culture commentary by Barrett Duke

July 30, 2014

David has been advocating forcefully and effectively for religious freedom around the world longer than I have by decades. By the time I got to DC, the International Religious Freedom Act had been law for about 5 years. David is a recognized champion of the successful effort to pass this bill. In doing so, he helped create the office he has been nominated to fill and the commission that advises the State Department and the president on international religious freedom, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

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Southern Baptists cite threats to religious freedom in world

Washington Times

June 11, 2014

Speaking on the second and final day of the SBC's national meeting at the Baltimore Convention Center, Russell Moore said members shouldn't "call it a comeback" because the history of the Baptist faith is rooted in persecution. "We're living in a time right now in which religious liberty is imperiled at home and around the world," said Mr. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission.

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Religious freedom panel transcript

ERLC: Russell Moore, Rick Warren, David Platt, Sam Rodriguez

June 9, 2014

Rick Warren: "The Constitution doesn't guarantee freedom of worship; it guarantees freedom of religion, which is the freedom to practice. If I only have the freedom of worship, then that means the only freedom I have is inside a building one hour a week, I don't have the chance to build my business on my convictions, raise my family on my convictions, train and educate my children, all of these issues. The first amendment, religious freedom is called America's first freedom for intentional reasons."

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