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Southern Religion

Civil marriage debate is owed balance and empirical evidence: Updated

The Charlotte Observer tells us that the Rev. Mark Harris, head of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, says he wants the a “civil” debate over same-sex marriage.

Yet they seem unsure about why he is leading a campaign to pass the proposed state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Although he and the BSCNC made that clear to them back in November. When the BSCNC took its official stand in favor the amendment (.pdf).

The North Carolina Family Policy Council understands that the BSCNC intends to create a church-by-church political machine to get the “preservation of marriage” amendment approved and to promote the decidedly unscientific Southern Baptist view of homosexuality:

The resolution on the Marriage Protection Amendment was introduced at the meeting by Jim Jacumin, president of the BSCNC Board of Directors. It expresses the BSCNC’s official endorsement of the proposed State Constitutional amendment, which would define marriage in North Carolina as only between one man and one woman, and will be on the ballot before voters at the May 8, 2012 primary election. The resolution (.pdf) also encourages “the churches of the Baptist State Convention to vigorously organize a strong effort among their members to support passage of the Marriage Amendment in the first primary election of 2012.” In addition to encouraging its member churches to engage in “loving, redemptive ministry to homosexuals,” it also states that the “North Carolina Baptists commit ourselves to… preach and teach the truth concerning what the Bible says about the creation of and divine nature of the institution of marriage, and against any government action to accept, sanction, approve, protect or promote same-sex marriage or legal recognition of same-sex relationships.”

The CO manages to get through the entire call for “civil” debate, by the leader of one side of that debate, without mentioning the North Carolina Psychological Association. Its position on the matter (.pdf) is a model of civility. The NCPA deals with the empirical evidence, and without the least hint of a raised voice or harsh word, explain that the best empirical evidence offers no support for banning gay marriage or any other such discrimination.

That’s as civil as debate can get, and proponents of it should have found a place in the otherwise thin, lopsided CO story.

Update:

The Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families has responded:

We agree with Mark Harris’ assertion that we should keep the Amendment conversation factual – and do it in a civil way. Nevertheless, this type of discourse is something not seen in other states, especially from an industry willing to pit people’s religion – as well as gross misinformation – against families. We must be willing to honor the very real emotions, including pain and fear, that these types of discriminatory measures naturally evoke, especially when North Carolina’s particular Amendment is not only a permanent ban on marriage equality and civil unions – relationship recognitions that a majority of North Carolinians support – but also strips basic benefits and protections from loving couples, women, and children, and causes substantial economic harms to families, business and the perception of the state as a whole. No one of faith – or otherwise – will sit back while families lose their health insurance, domestic violence victims lose their protections, and loving couples lose their ability to see each other in the hospital. We can’t and we won’t let that happen. We will make sure that the families of NC are protected from this harmful, extreme amendment.

-Jeremy Kennedy, Campaign Manager, The Coalition to Protect North Carolina Families.

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Politics, SBC | , | 1 Comment

Calling Franklin Graham to Romney repentance

Franklin Graham (son of Billy), who got in a bit of a tangle over the “blessing” of Sarah Palin past presidential time around, has pronounced Republican hopeful Mitt Romney’s Mormonism a nonproblem. Graham said:

Yes, the fact that Mitt Romney is a Mormon doesn’t bother me. I think when we are voting for president we need to get the person who is absolutely the most qualified. You can have the nicest guy and he can be a Christian and just wonderful but have absolutely no clue as to how to run a country, you don’t want that.

With that view, Graham put himself opposite the head of the South Carolina Southern Baptist convention and strayed from the more commonplace Southern Baptist view.

Predictably, Graham was called to repent. The call came immediately from Pastor Steven Andrew of USA Christian Ministries. In brief, Andrew said:

“Graham is misleading Christians to vote against Scripture for Mormon Mitt Romney. God cannot bless us for betraying Jesus and voting for a non-Christian. No one comes to God except through Jesus-this includes the USA,” said Pastor Steven.

Pastors are concerned. Scripture forbids hosting false teachers in our homes and Graham wants one in the White House?

For Romney as for Palin, Graham may have had little political effect. Except on himself. as Charles W. Dunn, a professor of government at Regent University’s Robertson School of Government suggested to Chad Groening:

“We can understand the political nature of the statement; we can understand the constitutional nature of the statement,” he states. “But from a practical standpoint of his being a religious leader, that statement I think was unwise because he didn’t have to make it.”

With a Mormon and a twice-divorced Catholic leading the Republican field, this debate among conservative Christian activists seems destined to become more strenuous.

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Politics, Religion | , | Comments Off

Isolation and death alone in the connected society

There is something worse than being invited to spend Christmas with difficult relatives. Being forgotten:

Two hundred thousand people disappear every year in the UK; of those, 2,000 will remain missing. Some, of course, are murdered; some just wish to disappear, which is easy if you really want it – move home, move job, toss your telephone into the river. The US has 40,000 sets of what are called “unclaimed remains”. Many more are simply forgotten by their friends or family – according to a Help the Aged report of 2007, hundreds of thousands of elderly people in Britain go without visitors from month to month; more than a million said they were often or always lonely

December 27, 2011 Posted by | Cultural | , , | Comments Off

   

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