September 2, 2014
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2013: Marriage Marred
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FIRST-PERSON: An evangelical war on marriage?
Evangelicals have undercut marriage by an overemphasis on education and career, seminary professor David Prince writes. "Christian marriage and the glorious Gospel it represents liberates them from the ball and chain of trying to live the American dream," he contends.
N.J. is #14 in same-sex marriage column
TRENTON, N.J. (BP) -- New Jersey has become the latest state to recognize the union of two people of the same sex as marriage.
State judges, legislators weigh gay marriage
"At the end of all of this, though, will be a basic human longing to know whether marriage is rooted in something more permanent than court decrees or culture shifts."
-- Russell D. Moore
WASHINGTON (BP) -- Judges and legislators are preparing to determine the definition of legal marriage in a variety of states.       Whether same-sex unions should be recognized as marriages soon will be weighed by government officials in New Jersey, New Mexico, Hawaii and Michigan. ...
Air Force, sergeant dispute his reassignment
SAN ANTONIO (BP) -- Attorneys for a senior enlisted airman at Lackland Air Force Base say a military investigation that closed on Wednesday (Oct. 9) made false assertions, leaving questions about the veracity of the investigation.
Craig James taking Fox Sports to court
PLANO, Texas (BP) -- Former Fox Sports broadcaster Craig James is pursuing legal action against the network, contending that his Sept. 2 termination stems from his religious beliefs.
N.J. ruling is latest stab at marriage
WASHINGTON (BP) -- A New Jersey judge has legalized same-sex marriage in the state, providing another victory in the growing movement to expand the legal definition of an institution previously limited to a man and a woman.
Baptist chaplaincy rules called consistent with military policy
NASHVILLE (BP) -- New guidelines from the North American Mission Board prohibiting Southern Baptist military chaplains from officiating same-sex marriage ceremonies and counseling same-sex couples reflect the Southern Baptist Convention's most basic understanding of separation of church and state, Russell D. Moore, president of the SBC Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said in an online video dialogue Sept. 19. Moore's dialogue with Andrew Walker, the ERLC's director of policy studies, came after several former military chaplains and a group of atheists criticized the new guidelines. Some said SBC chaplains should resign because they would be unable to fulfill their duties among all service members. Moore, however, noted, "We have liberal Baptist groups who for many, many years have talked about religious liberty and separation of church and state now saying we need an established religion that says the sexual revolution is now codified and the government ought to enforce it. "What essentially is happening is we're calling for the separation of church and state, to be able to say chaplaincy isn't a subset of the military," Moore said in the dialogue posted at the ERLC website. "Instead, what the military is doing -- having chaplains -- is to enable people in the military to freely exercise their religion. It is not just a post of some kind of American civil religion. That is why we don't just have a vague, generic, least-common-denominator chaplain." It is also why Mormons, Buddhists, Catholics, Jews and Muslims have military chaplains, Moore said. In addition to prohibiting participation in same-sex marriage ceremonies and counseling same-sex couples, NAMB guidelines now include explicit statements that Southern Baptist chaplains will practice ministry in light of the biblical definition of marriage as "the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime," as described in the SBC Baptist Faith and Message. The guidelines also state that Southern Baptists view all sexual immorality as sin that violates God's biblical standards for purity and that "responsible pastoral care will seek to offer repentance and forgiveness, help and healing, and restoration through the mercy and grace of Jesus Christ's sacrificial gift of love on the cross." Finally, Southern Baptist military chaplains are prohibited from participating in jointly-led worship services "with a chaplain, contractor or volunteer who personally practices a homosexual lifestyle or affirms a homosexual lifestyle or such conduct." NAMB guidelines acknowledge that Southern Baptist chaplains serve in a pluralistic setting but expect, under U.S. Department of Defense guidelines, that the rights and freedoms of chaplains will be protected so they may "preach, teach and counsel in accordance with the tenets of their denominational faith group and their own religious conscience" while treating all others with dignity, respect and Christ-like love. (For the Baptist Press story Aug. 30, "NAMB guidelines for military chaplains updated to address same-sex unions," click here.) Walker said in the video dialog that NAMB found it necessary to offer a more precise statement of its chaplaincy guidelines in a "post-DOMA" world created by the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act in June. "We're very concerned about our chaplains offering a proper witness -- a Christ-like witness -- that respects all individuals in the military but also holds firm to Southern Baptist doctrine," Walker said. Walker also said there is "nothing condemning about the regulations." But not everyone agrees.
Marriage bill would guard religious liberty
"As Americans, we may disagree about sexual morality or even about the definition of marriage, but we have a First Amendment that guarantees freedom of conscience and the free exercise of religion to everyone."
- Russell D. Moore
WASHINGTON (BP) -- New legislation designed to protect freedom of conscience regarding the definition of marriage should receive support even from legislators who favor same-sex unions, says Southern Baptist ethicist Russell D. Moore.
FIRST-PERSON: Our endangered foundations
Evangelist and pastor Don Walton predicts that legalization of same-sex marriage threatens to destroy America's "three God-ordained foundations."
Same-sex marriage stances percolate in Ala.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP) -- Vastly different stands on same-sex marriage and marriage-like commitment ceremonies have placed two Alabama churches in the news this summer.
Walmart extends benefits to same-sex partners
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (BP) -- Walmart will offer health benefits for married and unmarried same-sex partners of all full-time employees in the United States starting in January, the nation's largest private employer has announced.
NAMB guidelines for military chaplains updated to address same-sex unions
ALPHARETTA, Ga. (BP) -- The North American Mission Board has
For podcast about the new chaplain guidelines click here.
issued new guidelines for Southern Baptist military chaplains in light of the U.S. military's recognition of same-sex marriage. The guidelines reiterate Southern Baptist doctrine and the expectation that SBC chaplains will not participate in or attend wedding ceremonies for gay members of the military.
Feds grant marriage benefits to gay couples
WASHINGTON (BP) -- The Obama administration has begun making certain legally married same-sex couples will reap benefits from a historic ruling earlier this summer by the U.S. Supreme Court.
N.M. court reflects culture's 'seismic shift' to sexuality-based 'state-established religion'
ALBUQUERQUE (BP) -- An attack on religious liberty is evident in the New Mexico Supreme Court's ruling that two Christian photographers violated the state's Human Rights Act by refusing to photograph a same-sex "commitment ceremony," according to several Southern Baptist commentators.
Christian photogs must compromise beliefs
SANTA FE, N.M. (BP) -- The New Mexico Supreme Court ruled Thursday (Aug. 22) that two Christian photographers who declined to photograph a same-sex union violated the state's Human Rights Act.

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