April 23, 2014
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2013: Marriage Marred
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Sergeant dismissed for saying ... nothing
SAN ANTONIO (BP) -- Due to a perceived slight against homosexuality, Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk is in a fight for his career. The point of contention reportedly is not about anything Monk said, but what he refused to say.
Military chaplains weathering 'front wave' of culture shift
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- "We are proud of you. You are heroes to Southern Baptists."
Religious freedom issues are on the rise in light of changes in military policy and key court rulings.
Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board, spoke those words to about 55 Southern Baptist senior military chaplains from across the armed services during a conference call that included Russell D. Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and Doug Carver, the retired Army major general who leads NAMB's chaplaincy efforts. "We wanted to hear from them about the challenges they are facing in their ministry and ways we can better help and support them in the important work they are doing," Ezell said after the session on Thursday, Aug. 8. Recent months have brought challenges on many fronts as chaplains face navigating their ministry in light of the military's repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the U.S. Supreme Court's abolishment of the Defense of Marriage Act and other religious freedom issues facing chaplains and members of the military. The decisions and changes mean chaplains might be asked to perform marriages for same-sex couples as well as counseling, marriage retreats and funerals. There are also concerns about whether military chaplains will be able to quote certain Scripture passages without facing disciplinary action for offending homosexuals. "Those of you serving in the military are at the front wave of what we are eventually going to be facing all over this country," Moore told the chaplains. "You are going to be dealing with some things that every community in the United States will be dealing with in a few short years." The NAMB chaplaincy team that Carver leads regularly communicates with the 1,434 Southern Baptist chaplains who serve the U.S. military around the globe. "For the last few months we have dealt with numerous issues regarding religious liberty," Carver said. "To date and to the best of my knowledge in all three components of the services, we have had no chaplains who have left as a result of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell or the Defense of Marriage Act and we have none who have been charged or punished as a result of their beliefs."
Gay marriage debate 'very much alive'
NASHVILLE (BP) -- The battle over gay marriage in the United States continues unabated, with activists on both sides engaging in the courts, media and government.
Gay marriage now legal in Minn., R.I.
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Gay marriage became legal in Minnesota and Rhode Island after both legislatures approved the unions, extending gay marriage to 13 states and the District of Columbia.
FIRST-PERSON: What the Supremes can never change
Despite disappointing rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court, Missouri Baptist leader John Yeats identifies eight things the justices will never have the authority to change.
Prop. 8 case: Calif. high court refuses stay
SAN FRANCISCO (BP) -- A California Supreme Court case regarding Proposition 8 will continue into August after the court refused to grant a stay Monday (July 15) as it considers whether the state's county clerks are legally issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Calif. high court asked to enforce Prop. 8
SAN FRANCISCO (BP) -- Proponents of Proposition 8 asked the California Supreme Court Friday (July 12) to order the state's county clerks to enforce the state's marriage amendment by ceasing the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Churches' marriage policies being tightened
ALEXANDRIA, La. (BP) -- Churches are beginning to add a stipulation in their bylaws that their ministers perform only traditional marriages on their premises, in response to the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decisions in late June.
Gay marriage: Does it harm anyone?
NASHVILLE (BP) -- In a discussion that moderator J.D. Greear said needs to happen in local churches, ethicist Russell D. Moore and pastor Voddie Baucham addressed how homosexuality can be wrong if it "doesn't harm anyone."
Post-DOMA, gay marriage backers target states
NASHVILLE (BP) -- At least five states are facing legal battles over marriage definitions that could determine whether the tone set by the Defense of Marriage Act's demise will resonate in individual states.
"Marriage, after gay marriage, is an under-defined commitment to love and caretaking, whose public character and status is newly uncertain."
-- Maggie Gallagher
An Arkansas lesbian couple filed a lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court that alleges the unconstitutionality of an Arkansas amendment that defines marriage as between one man and one woman, the Arkansas Baptist News said.
Request to halt Calif. gay marriages denied
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy on Sunday (June 30) denied an emergency request by Proposition 8 supporters to halt the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses in California.
Can the church flourish in a culture that embraces sexual immorality?
NASHVILLE (BP) -- In recent days Christians have rightly decried the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in favor of gay marriage, calling them unjust, unwise and ungodly. The decisions will have adverse effects on society, and followers of Jesus should work tirelessly to see them overturned. At the same time, however, the Bible reminds us not to be discouraged or imagine that a culture awash in sexual immorality will rob the church of its power.
FIRST-PERSON: Explaining the marriage debate to children
Southern Baptist ethicist Russell D. Moore suggests ways parents can talk to their small children about the same-sex marriage debate that has grabbed the nation's attention.
Gay marriage rulings: 'new ministry situations on horizon,' seminary scholars project
NASHVILLE (BP) -- Though the Supreme Court's ruling against traditional marriage was a "dark day in American history," it's time to accept the reality and move on to discussing how to minister in a new context, Jeff Iorg and other seminary leaders are saying. "Challenging new ministry situations are on the horizon," Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary near the epicenter of the gay marriage movement, wrote in a blog post June 27.
ERLC fact sheet addresses gay marriage rulings
NASHVILLE (BP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention's ethics entity has produced a fact sheet in both English and Spanish to assist churches in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decisions.       The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission posted the fact sheet on its website June 26 ...

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