BP Ledger, July 21, 2014

EDITOR'S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today's BP Ledger contains items from:

Home School Legal Defense Association

Hope Through Healing Hands

Carson-Newman University

Cedarville University

Mississippi College

WORLD News Service

Senate Foreign Relations Committee to vote on controversial UN treaty

By Staff

PURCELLVILLE, Va. (Home School Legal Defense Association) -- The United States Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday (July 22) on a treaty that would severely limit the freedoms of Americans if ratified. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has previously failed to garner enough support for ratification, most notably when the treaty fell six votes short in December 2012. Supporters of the treaty, however, feel that this time they have enough votes to ratify the treaty.

The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) opposes the CRPD because if it is ratified by the Senate, government officials can override parents' decisions for their child with a disability using the "best interests of the child" clause within the treaty as their leverage.

"We all want to show our support for people with disabilities," said Michael Farris, founder and chairman of HSLDA. "This treaty, however, is not the way to do it. This treaty will give United Nations and government agents, not parents who know their children better than any government agency could, the authority to decide all educational and treatment issues for disabled children. All of the rights that parents have under traditional American law, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act will be undermined by this treaty."

Proponents of the treaty claim it poses no danger because it can be amended with reservations, understandings and declarations (RUDs). But Farris believes this argument is flawed. "The RUDs cannot change two central problems with the treaty," he said. "First, it will still violate the premise that America should make the law for Americans. We may modify the technical aspects of the treaty with RUDs, but we are still agreeing to be bound by the standards of the UN.

"Second, the promises made by proponents that U.S. ratification will help disabled Americans when they travel internationally is still an empty lie. The idea that U.S. ratification will change the legal duty of any other country to comply with this treaty is legally preposterous. Did the ratification by France change Canada's duties under the treaty? Did the ratification by Uganda secure rights for disabled Ugandans when they travel to Spain? Of course not. U.S. ratification only changes American law. No one has proven why American law needs to be changed to match UN standards." Farris also pointed out that if the CRPD is ratified, a case arguing the validity of RUDS could make its way before the U.S. Supreme Court , or the RUDS could be withdrawn by a future Senate.

Will Estrada, HSLDA's federal relations director, believes the CRPD can be defeated by grassroots lobbying as it was in December 2012 and is urging those who oppose the treaty to call their senator if he or she is on the Foreign Relations Committee.

"Americans are wising up to the truth of how dangerous this treaty is and how it puts their rights as parents in jeopardy," Estrada said. "And major organizations that once supported the treaty are pulling their support, like AMVETS did last summer. If ratified, the CRPD will further empower unelected bureaucrats at the United Nations. I believe no American wants to see their freedoms taken away, especially by the UN."


Home School Legal Defense Association is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Visit us online at www.HSLDA.org

**********

Bill Frist & Melinda Gates lead ‘Mother & Child’ project

By Staff

NASHVILLE (Hope Through Healing Hands) -- Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D., founder of Hope Through Healing Hands, and Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, led a community conversation July 14 on "The Mother & Child Project: Simple Steps to Saving Lives in the Developing World" on the campus of Belmont University.

This was the first public event held by the Faith-Based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide, a joint partnership of Hope Through Healing Hands (HTHH), a Nashville-based global health organization, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

More than 250 individuals representing the faith community, global health NGO and higher-education sectors throughout greater Nashville attended the discussion, hosted by Belmont. U.S. Olympic figure skating champion Scott Hamilton, who with his wife Tracie is an active global health advocate, moderated the event.

"As I began to talk with women around the world, it became very clear to me the spacing and timing of pregnancies we take for granted in the U.S. is a matter of life and death for them," Gates said. "So I got very involved in contraceptives, because it truly starts the cycle of life, where they can feed their children, get their children in school, and honestly, not die themselves."

Sen. Frist agreed, saying, "Contraception is a pro-life cause." He went on to explain that, "... if you delay first pregnancy to 18 years old, you can increase survival in countries where 1 in 39 women die in childbirth, and cut the chance of children dying by 30 percent, enabling them to stay in school and become productive members of families."

"Second, if you can push out the interval between pregnancies to a three-year period, the child is twice as likely to survive the newborn stage."

Today, more than 200 million women in developing countries want the ability to plan if and when they become pregnant but lack access to information about planning their families. Increasing access to a range of contraceptive options and providing women with the ability to time and space their births is critical to improving the health of mothers and children.

At the event, Gates reflected on her upbringing in Dallas, where she attended Catholic parochial school from grades K-12 and confirmed she remains a practicing member of the Catholic Church. While Gates recognizes the tension between her work and the church's position on contraceptives, she has found common ground on healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, even though organizations embrace different tools to achieve it.

Frist expressed his support for Gates’, explaining that the Faith-based Coalition for Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide has a critical role to play in engaging members of the faith community to help disseminate this simple message.

He likened this initiative to a similar movement of Americans in 2002 that shared a vision with houses of worship across all faiths, which lead to the support and eventual funding of PEPFAR, the largest health initiative in history that turned the tide on the HIV/AIDS.

"The millions of people dying of HIV/AIDS worldwide led to a major U.S. taxpayer led movement to save lives, resulting in more than what is now 12.9 million individuals currently on anti-retroviral medicine," he said, noting we can do it again on what is becoming another global pandemic, saving over 287,000 women's lives each year.

The Faith Based Coalition on Healthy Mothers and Children Worldwide's mission is to galvanize support among faith leaders across the U.S. on the issues of maternal, newborn and child health in developing countries. The coalition will place a particular emphasis on the benefits of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies, including access to a range of contraceptive options, in alignment with its members' unifying values and religious beliefs.

Several faith leaders already involved in this issue also participated in the program by echoing their support of the new initiative.

Mike Glenn, pastor of Brentwood Baptist Church, added, "The evangelical church is often accused of loving the child and not the mother, but in doing so, we lose God's mosaic. We believe in 'Imago Dei,' the dignity of every human being."

Jena Lee Nardella, co-founder with Jars of Clay of Blood:Water Mission, shared their experience in the global fight against HIV/AIDS. "We were inspired not by the statistics, but by the compelling stories. As a church, let's not forget to tell the story, but make it personal."

"The best way to see change in Africa is to change the lives of African mothers," said Steve Taylor, recording artist and filmmaker.

"It all comes down to the mother and child nexus and the healthy timing and spacing of births," Sen. Frist concluded.

Information about members of who have joined the coalition to date, as well as how others can help, is available at http://www.hopethroughhealinghands.org/faith-based-coalition. Endorsements for the coalition are available at http://www.hopethroughhealinghands.org/endorsements.


**********

Baptist Builders tackle Carson-Newman summer projects

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. (Carson-Newman University) -- Over 70 Baptist Builders volunteers have spent time this summer taking part in campus projects at Carson-Newman University. This summer marked the sixth year in a row for volunteers from East Tennessee Baptist churches to help with projects on Carson-Newman's campus, and the fifth year for Baptist Builders.

"We love it," said Greeneville's Margaret Bradley, who with her husband George volunteer and help coordinate the summer efforts year after year. "Each time we pull on campus it's like ‘Oh yea, we're home. We're back.’”

Members of First Baptist Church of Greeneville, the Bradleys look forward to the projects each summer. Margaret said helping to take part in beautifying the historic campus is a calling the couple embraces. "With us being Baptist and with Carson-Newman being a Christian University, we feel like the Lord wants us there."

This year the Bradleys helped to direct and plan logistics for visitors from 17 churches across East Tennessee. Volunteers rolled up their sleeves and joined in such work as pressure washing, repairing, painting and caulking in areas across campus and around several buildings. The groups rotated in over the course of 28 work days and spent a combined 2,534 volunteer hours at the University.

"We are incredibly grateful for the work and dedication of Baptist Builders," Carson-Newman University President J. Randall O'Brien said. "Each summer we are reminded of how many people throughout East Tennessee share a deep love for Carson-Newman and are willing to demonstrate such love through travel, time, energy and hard work. Because of such friendships, Carson-Newman is better able to carry out its mission of preparing the next generation of servant leaders," he said. "How grateful we are for our Baptist family!"

Baptist Builders are volunteers from Baptist churches who use construction to minister and provide disaster relief. The Tennessee Baptist Builders are organized through the Tennessee Baptist Convention and often work in conjunction with the convention's Disaster Relief teams, with many volunteers serving on both teams.


**********

Cedarville Roboboat team earned award in international competition

By Staff

CEDARVILLE, Ohio (Cedarville University) -- For the fourth consecutive year, Cedarville University's robotics team competed in the International Roboboat Competition in Virginia Beach and came away with an award. The June 8-13 competition featured boats that performed various water maneuvers. Cedarville's team was awarded the "Biggest Bang for the Buck" honor for its accomplishments as a smaller team on a limited budget.

Cedarville competed against Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Villanova University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and many other nationally recognized engineering schools.

"This award, once again, speaks to the caliber of our students and their skill," says Tim Tuinstra, associate professor of electrical engineering at Cedarville. "The judges were impressed with our consistency and performance in our qualifying run. The students represented themselves, the engineering program and the university well." The "Biggest Bang for the Buck" award was a $1,000 cash prize.

The challenge of the International Roboboat Competition is to build an autonomous boat that is able to drive itself under the control of a computer system. Such obstacles as channel flowing and autonomous docking challenged the engineering of the boat and the students’ minds were tested as they navigated through the maritime environment. The team spent Tuesday through Friday testing its boat and working out the technical issues to be ready for the qualifying runs on Saturday and Sunday.


**********

Super Summer camps at Mississippi College transform lives

By Staff

CLINTON, Miss (Mississippi College) -- Soon after a powerful tornado slammed into Tupelo and left a path of destruction in the Northeast Mississippi city, WCBI-TV reporter Allie Martin began to tell the tragic story with his video camera.

"I was at Vanelli's restaurant ten minutes after the tornado hit doing the first live interviews," Martin said of his news coverage of the twister. The April 28th storm smashed more than 100 businesses and damaged over 2,000 homes. One person was killed and others were injured in the city of 35,000 residents. Lives were turned upside down in an instant that afternoon in Lee County.

Working up to 80 hours a week was pretty typical in the aftermath of the storm for WCBI's Tupelo bureau reporter. Away from his job in mid-July, Martin invested long hours as a team leader at Mississippi College's Super Summer camp. He's part of the delegation of adults helping more than 1,000 teens from state's Baptist churches draw closer to God and enhance their leadership skills.

Teaching Biblical truths, serving as a mentor and supervising 80 high school seniors with the camp's Purple School bears similarities to his non-stop storm reporting in Tupelo.

"I'm very busy and you don't get a lot of sleep," says the 49-year-old newsman who's seen lives of teens transformed day and night on the Clinton campus. "It's encouraging to me as an adult leader to see young people on fire for the Lord."

Whether they're singing praise music at Swor Auditorium, playing sports, or gathering for quiet Bible study, teens visiting Mississippi College say the five-day experience was truly amazing. The Mississippi Baptist Convention has sponsored Super Summer camps for more than two decades.

Some campers like Jonathan Hancock, 18, of Baldwyn, traveled to Mississippi College for a fifth consecutive Super Summer. He hopes to return next year as a camp staffer.

"I've really been able to see God at work in my life," Jonathan says. "God likes to use Super Summer to equip warriors." Finishing his week with the camp's Purple School, he will be back in August as a Mississippi College freshman. The Baldwyn High grad plans to major in Christian Studies and pursue the ministry.

Another Purple School student here for her 5th year, Mackenzie Smith, 18, of Tupelo believes Super Summer taught her invaluable lessons. "I know God does immeasurably more things than I could imagine."

A Tupelo High graduate and Calvary Baptist Church member, Mackenzie will bring her MC camp experience to Starkville as a Mississippi State freshman. She, like many others, learned to be "more bold in my worship and tell people about Jesus."

Super Summer campers went beyond Mississippi College's front gates. The oldest students traveled to the We Will Go Ministries in Jackson to share their love of Christ with needy families.

Super Summer added to her wonderful experience at Mission Fuge camp a few years earlier at the Baptist-affiliated university. "It feels like home - I've had so many good memories," says Leah Bowlin, 18, a graduate of McLaurin High School near Florence. "This is a special place to me."

Spiritually uplifting camp life plus the university's new gross anatomy lab convinced Leah to enroll as a pre-med freshman at Mississippi College next month. The daughter of McLaurin teacher Stephanie Bowlin and Baptist pastor Ted Bowlin, Leah wants to share what she absorbed at camp with friends at Poplar Springs Baptist Church in Mendenhall.

Super Summer, says Michael Pace, 18, of Madison helped him develop a deeper relationship with God and build his confidence. The Madison Central High graduate will use his Christian leadership skills as a University of Alabama freshman this fall.

After an usually cool summer week in the Magnolia State, scores of church vans began leaving the Clinton campus on July 18th. Allie Martin headed home to Tupelo to see his wife, Robin, after wrapping up his 8th season as a Super Summer team leader. While away from WCBI-TV, his daughter, Alyssa, 22, filled in for her dad at the station. She's also proud to be a Super Summer grad at Mississippi College.


**********

Institute calls Gothard was inappropriate, not criminal

By Warren Cole Smith

CHICAGO (WORLD News Service -- Former ministry leader Bill Gothard acted inappropriately, showing a "lack of discretion and failure to follow Christ's example of being blameless and above reproach." Those are the findings of an internal investigation conducted by the board of directors of the Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP), the ministry Gothard founded.

The investigation followed accusations that Gothard, over several decades, made inappropriate sexual advances toward young women involved in the ministry. Watchdog group Recovering Grace has been gathering and publishing accounts of Gothard's alleged behavior on its website for the past three years. The board placed Gothard on administrative leave in February. He resigned his position from the ministry in March, which coincided with the launch of the board’s investigation.

A statement released in mid-June by the IBLP board said "no criminal activity has been discovered. If it had been, it would have been reported to the proper authorities immediately, as it will be in the future if any such activity is revealed."

The board, despite its findings of indiscretion, did leave open the possibility that Gothard could return to the ministry: "We believe God still desires to use Bill Gothard for His work in the Kingdom of God, but we also believe it is important that he be held to the high standards clearly taught in the Scriptures and upheld by this ministry. At this time the Board unanimously agrees that Mr. Gothard is not permitted to serve in any counseling, leadership, or Board role within the IBLP ministry."

The IBLP board also said it was working toward reconciliation with the women toward whom Gothard acted inappropriately and their families: "We want to encourage reconciliation within families and are very supportive of efforts toward reconciliation with Mr. Gothard or with IBLP. The Board is asking that Mr. Gothard submit to and cooperate with a team of Christian leaders who will direct his reconciliation process."

Recovering Grace, the group that brought the allegations against Gothard to light, expressed its concern with the board's findings. In a 3,000-word statement, the group said the board report was a "severe disappointment" that minimized the "exploitation of innocent young women” for the sake of “saving the organization above all else." Recovering Grace called the board statement an exercise in "choosing self-preservation, ignoring the abuse and broken lives left by a predatory leader."

Recovering Grace also questioned whether the investigation was truly independent, noting that David Gibbs Jr., who led the inquiry, has had a "long-term relationship with Bill Gothard and the IBLP organization since the 1980s."

Gothard has been a prominent Christian leader since the 1970s when he often led arena-sized events with thousands in attendance. The ministry claims to have trained more than 2.5 million people since the late 1960s. In the 1980s, Gothard's organization -- then known as the Institute for Basic Youth Conflicts -- had another major scandal. At that time, Gothard’s brother Steve, then administrative director for the ministry, stepped down following accusations he had sexual relationships with several of the organization’s staff. Bill Gothard faced accusations then that he had tolerated an environment where such abuses could take place, and he stepped down for three weeks, but later returned to leadership in the ministry.