Contraceptive mandate

Baptist Briefs: Group protests mandate

Southern Baptist leader joins coalition protesting contraception mandate. Just days after the Obama administration issued final rules to religious groups for its contraception mandate, a broad-based religious coalition issued an open letter titled “Standing Together for Religious Freedom.” The group—which includes dozens of leaders from evangelical, Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Mormon and Hare Krishna groups—says the final rules from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violate their freedom of conscience. The Affordable Care Act requires most employers to provide contraception coverage to staffers at no cost. Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and Archbishop William E. Lori of Baltimore announced the coalition at a news conference at the National Press Club.

Church musician Hustad dies. Don Hustad, 94, a leader in evangelical church music who taught for decades at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, died June 22. Hustad, once full-time organist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, served on the faculty of Southern Seminary’s School of Church Music from 1966 until his retirement in 1986. He continued to teach courses and lecture at the seminary in Louisville, Ky., the next 20 years. He published five books, including Jubilate!— a book that analyzes evangelical church music and sets forth his own philosophy of church music—and True Worship: Reclaiming the Wonder & Majesty.

Carter says religion used against women. Abuse of women is “the most pervasive and unaddressed human-rights violation on jimmy carter300Former President Jimmy CarterEarth” and too often justified in the name of religion, former President Jimmy Carter told a recent conference at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Subordination of women is contrary to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights and against “the basic premises of every great religion,” said Carter, a Sunday school teacher at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Ga. However, he added, male religious leaders often have used isolated passages from sacred texts to oppress women. Carter criticized religious leaders who “try to convince their own fellow worshippers that women are inferior in the eyes of God.” Conference participants from more than 35 faith-based organizations, universities and religious bodies adopted a declaration urgently calling “on all believers to work individually and within their communities to take action toward full equality, justice and human dignity for all.”


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