Baptist Press Archive

Friday, September 13, 2013

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  • Pledge's 'under God' phrase faces Mass. court scrutiny

    by Gregory Tomlin, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    BOSTON (BP) -- A case challenging the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance is being weighed by the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts where state law requires schoolchildren to recite the pledge daily as a patriotic exercise.

    The case before the court stems from a lawsuit filed in 2010 by the American Humanist Association on behalf of atheist parents of schoolchildren in the Acton-Boxborough School District.

    Attorneys for the humanist plaintiffs avoided claiming that the pledge represents a state establishment of religion, as most of the pledge cases have in the past. Instead, attorneys argued in Doe v. Acton-Boxborough Regional School District that reciting the pledge, which requires atheists to say the words "under God," is discriminatory and violates the state's equal protection laws.

    A state Superior Court judge ruled in 2012 that the words "under God" did not violate the law, but reflected a political philosophy evident in the history of the pledge and state law itself. The judge also stated reciting the pledge is not a religious exercise.

    But David Niose, attorney for the atheist families, argued before the Supreme Judicial Court Sept. 4 that the case "presents a classic equal protection situation where an unpopular and wrongly vilified minority faces obvious official discrimination."

    "The trial court failed to apply strict scrutiny despite constitutional and statutory enumeration requiring it," Niose told the court. "[The pledge] affirms very unambiguously that the nation is 'one nation, under God.' Had the 'under God' words not been in there, it would have been 'one nation, indivisible.' But by inserting 'under God' language into the pledge, we have a pledge where children every morning are pledging their national unity and loyalty in an indoctrination format which validates religious, God-belief as truly patriotic."

    The phrase "under God" creates two classifications of citizens, Niose argued, because it "actually invalidates atheism, as second-class citizenry at best and downright unpatriotic at worst." Therefore, Niose said, the practice violates the state's equal protection and anti-discrimination laws.

    Niose's equal protection and discrimination claims make the pledge case one of the first of its kind in the nation. But it is a strategy familiar to many activists in the state.

    The use of equal protection as a legal strategy for social change is the same strategy attorneys used in the 2003 landmark same-sex marriage case before the Supreme Judicial Court. In its ruling in that case, issued in 2004, the court said laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are "incompatible with the constitutional principles of respect for individual autonomy and equality under law."

    The prospect that the court may follow a similar pattern with this case is not lost on groups like the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Eric Rassback, deputy general counsel for the group, told Religion News Service a ruling striking the words "under God" would result in similar challenges in other courts.

    "You would then see a rash of state court lawsuits challenging the pledge all over the country ... a win for us would completely avoid that unnecessary harm. And it would affirm that it is not discriminatory to have the words 'under God' in the pledge," Rassback told RNS. Read More

  • 'In God We Trust' suit dismissed by court

    by Gregory Tomlin, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    NEW YORK (BP) -- A case filed by atheists who want the national motto, "In God We Trust," removed from U.S. currency has been dismissed by a federal district judge in New York. Read More

  • Fastest-growing & largest churches tallied

    by Diana Chandler, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- Southern Baptist churches hold 24 spots among the 100 fastest-growing and 100 largest churches in the U.S., according to Outreach magazine lists drawn from LifeWay Research data. Read More

  • Engage 24 stirs college hearts for lost

    by Adam Miller, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Photo courtesy of Caroline Hale
    NEWARK, Del. (BP) -- University of Delaware senior Allie Murray had never shared the Gospel, but during an Engage 24 evangelism outreach, she discovered it can be a positive experience. Read More

  • TRUSTEES: ERLC budget set at $3.19M

    by Tom Strode, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Trustees of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission approved new staff and a new budget that reflects new strategies in their first annual meeting with Russell D. Moore as president. Read More

  • U.S. Syrian attack sign of end times?

    by Bob Smietana, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    NASHVILLE (BP) -- Almost one in three Americans see the threat of airstrikes against Syria as part of the Bible's plan for the end times, according to a LifeWay Research poll. Read More

  • CALL TO PRAYER: 'The nations need You'

    by David Platt, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Pastor David Platt led a Prayer for the Nations during the inauguration of Russell D. Moore as president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission on Sept. 10. Read More

  • FIRST-PERSON: The 4th stanza

    by Kelly Boggs, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Columnist Kelly Boggs recounts the writing of "The Star-Spangled Banner" and how it points to the nation's founding on biblical principles with an obvious awareness of God's providence. Read More

  • EDITORIAL: Ayúdense

    by Fermín Whittaker, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Ayúdense unos a otros a llevar sus cargas, y así cumplirán la ley de Cristo. ... Read More

  • Aumentan las clausuras de clínicas de abortos en los EE UU, van 44 hasta la fecha

    Por Tom Strode, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    WASHINGTON (BP) -- Para Abby Johnson, el cierre de un solo centro de Planned Parenthood bastó para su dramático cambio de ser la directora de una clínica de abortos a ser una partidaria a favor de la vida.

    Pero para los partidarios a favor de la vida en los Estados Unidos, esto marcó una exhibición más de una tendencia prometedora: los centros para abortos están siendo cerrados a una velocidad sin precedentes. El total hasta la fecha es de 44, según una organización antiabortista que sigue de cerca las operaciones de estas clínicas.

    Nada fue más revelador para Johnson que la clausura del centro de Planned Parenthood en Bryan, Texas, a mediados de julio. Sucedió menos de cuatro años después que Johnson se sentía mal por estar involucrada con el aborto, renunció a su puesto de directora de la clínica y se unió a las oficinas de Coalition for Life.

    "Sabiendo que la ex clínica de aborto alguna vez abierta ahora estaba cerrada, es la mayor victoria personal de mi vida," dijo Johnson en una declaración escrita luego de haberse anunciado la clausura. "De dirigir esa clínica a ser partidaria de su cierre, y ahora celebrando ese sueño ... demuestra que mi vida ha dado un giro de 360 grados."

    Desde su celebrada renuncia a ser la directora de un centro de Planned Parenthood, Johnson ha comenzado un ministerio para ayudar a los empleados a abandonar la industria del aborto. Ha prometido, como dijo el julio, "pelear hasta que haya cerrado sus puertas cada clínica de abortos en este país." Read More

  • Pureza personal exhortada a estudiantes de seminario

    Por RuthAnne Irvin, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) -- La salud espiritual de los estudiantes de seminario y sus familias debe preceder lo académico, dijo el orador en una conferencia de énfasis espiritual realizada en el Seminario Teológico Bautista Southern. Read More

  • Russell Moore, en investidura, enraíza la misión de ERLC de proclamar el evangelio

    Por Tom Strode, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Foto de Tom Strode
    WASHINGTON (BP) -- La misión de la Comisión de Libertad Religiosa y Ética (ERLC por sus siglas en inglés) de los bautistas del sur no es principalmente declarar la moralidad bíblica sino proclamar el evangelio de Jesús, dijo Russell D. Moore luego de su investidura como nuevo presidente de la entidad. Read More

  • Pornografía comparada con templo de prostitución

    Por Keith Collier, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) -- Russell D. Moore evaluó la "epidemia de la pornografía como arma letal" durante un sermón de capilla en el Seminario Teológico Bautista Southwestern el 5 de septiembre. Read More

  • EDITORIAL: Ayúdense

    Por Fermín Whittaker, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Ayúdense unos a otros a llevar sus cargas, y así cumplirán la ley de Cristo. ... Read More

  • Declaración del Comité de la Convención Bautista del Sur formado para tratar el asunto del Calvinismo

    Staff, posted Friday, September 13, 2013 (4 years ago)

    Mayo 31, 2013

    El Comité del Consejo de la Convención Bautista del Sur para tratar el asunto del Calvinismo es un comité formado por 19 miembros de nuestra Convención cuyos nombres aparecen en la última página de este documento. Los miembros provienen tanto de la posición calvinista como la no calvinista. Este Comité fue formado por el Presidente del Comité Ejecutivo de nuestra Convención Frank Page en Agosto del 2012. El Comité se reunió durante este año pasado para elaborar este documento.... Read More