- July 22, 2013
- By Staff / Baptist Standard
Why has the SBC flip-flopped on abortion?
When my wife and I married, our Southern Baptist pastor, E.S. James (later editor of the Baptist Standard), advised us should she become pregnant not to go to a Catholic doctor or hospital because they would let her die to save a fetus. Baptist married couples that we knew received the same advice.
During the 1971 and 1974 Southern Baptist Conventions, Southern Baptists were called upon “to work for legislation that will allow the possibility of abortion under such conditions as rape, incest, clear evidence of severe fetal deformity and carefully ascertained evidence of the likelihood of damage to the emotional, mental and physical health of the mother.”
Prominent Southern Baptist W.A. Criswell declared his satisfaction with Roe v. Wade: “I have always felt that it was only after a child was born and had life separate from the mother that it became an individual person, and it always has, therefore, seemed to me that what is best for the mother and for the future should be allowed.”
W. Barry Garrett of Baptist Press wrote, “Religious liberty, human equality and justice are advanced by the Supreme Court abortion decision.”
Those who believe the Genesis creation story know Adam was not a living soul until God gave him the breath of life. Why did the Bible begin saying something different?
Support open adoptions
The only difference is a small one—I strongly believe in only fully open adoption. I went out of the business of doing adoptions in 1999 but have strongly supported such alternatives in fully open adoptions constantly. See the American Association of Open Adoption Agencies. The secrecy forced on birth mothers and adoptees by Texas adoption laws should be eliminated and become a true choice.
Care for babies and children
An excellent editorial on our responsibility on caring for babies and children. I have been espousing such ideas with people of our Catholic faith.
Adoption costs are exorbitant. Let’s make them more affordable for parents who want to adopt but don’t have the funds.
Jesus never said government must stay out of helping the poor and disadvantaged. Federal and state governments can provide programs for these children. Our communities can provide support for education and distribution of assistance. Catholic Charities does an excellent job helping people. Not all our communities can provide programs to support children and families, so that is where the government can be of assistance.
From inception to death, we need to support our brothers and sisters who are in need. In this cycle, I believe we can make our society better—less crime, productive, contributing, compassionate. Thank you for writing this article. It has been way too long coming. Now, where do we start?
I have witnessed some of my family members who have been impacted by abortion, adoption and curtailment of helpful government programs. I also have lost an unborn daughter at seven months from toxemia. We were devastated as young parents-to-be. I am currently retired. I value human life and have enough trust in individual free will, which our Lord has bestowed upon us. God bless all of us to do his will!
Another view on abortion
Regarding “Senator cites Hardage in letter arguing for abortion restrictions,” David Hardage may be expressing the position of Southern Baptists, but he is not expressing the position of all Baptists.
A resolution from the American Baptist Churches General Board states “We acknowledge the diversity of deeply held convictions within our fellowship, even as we seek to interpret the Scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Many American Baptists believe that, biblically, human life begins at conception, that abortion is immoral and a destruction of a human being created in God's image (Job 31:15; Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:44; Proverbs 31:8-9; Galatians 1:15). Many others believe that while abortion is a regrettable reality, it can be a morally acceptable action, and they choose to act on the biblical principles of compassion and justice (John 8:1-11; Exodus 21:22-25; Matthew 7:1-5; James 2:2-13) and freedom of will (John 16:13; Roman 14:4-5, 10-13).
“Many gradations of opinion between these basic positions have been expressed within our fellowship.
“We also recognize that we are divided as to the proper witness of the church to the state regarding abortion. Many of our membership seek legal safeguards to protect unborn life. Many others advocate for and support family planning legislation, including legalized abortion as in the best interest of women in particular and society in general. Again, we have many points of view between these two positions. Consequently, we acknowledge the freedom of each individual to advocate for a public policy on abortion that reflects his or her beliefs.”
Sally J. Lewis
Annual meeting: ‘Excellent step’
Thanks for the truthful, powerful expression of the spirit of the Family Gathering. As one who had longed for the annual meeting to become more engaging and exciting, I believe we made an excellent step last week. Even reporting to my church I didn’t need to use the “preacher voice” to express the enthusiasm I honestly felt.
We owe much to the work of a group who saw this need a few years ago and presented a report that has begun to be implemented to increase the energy of our annual meeting. That committee deserves our gratitude for their vision, and our efforts to accurately implement their recommendations as adopted by the convention.
Military still enjoys religious freedom
The U.S. Army chief of chaplains recently put out a memo that relates to the topic of “Conservatives say religious freedom is under attack in the military.”
There are no changes since I entered the Army in 1956. The policy was good then and now. We were taught in basic school not to push our religion on others.
A Church of Christ chaplain would tell soldiers they were going to hell unless they were a member of his church. He was reprimanded and ultimately released from active duty.
The biggest violation I ever witnessed was the chief of staff of a division. He was responsible for supervising chaplains and was a devout Southern Baptist. He told the 17 chaplains what they should be preaching. Wow! The division chaplain had the courage to tell the colonel that he was out of line.
Last month, someone said to me, “Isn’t it awful that chaplains can’t talk about Jesus any more.” I explained that is a lie, because I don’t know what else to call it.
Last summer, I attended the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and had lunch with chaplains. They were a wonderful group and made us feel so proud.
Ask yourself: Do you want a 19-year-old Muslim starting a fight in the barracks promoting his religion? In my basic course in 1956, we had a fight in the barracks between two chaplains who could not stand each other’s religious beliefs. I don’t think they ever got active duty.
Jack R. Milligan, chaplain, Lt. Col. Retired
Glorieta 2.0 should pay fair value
If Glorieta 2.0 cannot afford to be fair and equitable to the leaseholders of Glorieta and buy their homes for fair market value as well as make improvements to Glorieta for their ministry, then I strongly encourage them to not enter into this sales agreement with LifeWay. Their ministry will not be blessed by God, as he is most assuredly disappointed with their treatment of fellow believers.
No one is forcing them to enter into this business opportunity for their corporation, but the homeowners are being forced to donate their lifelong investments to a less-than-worthy charity. That should be illegal in the US of A.
The media is being misled into believing many homeowners are for this. I believe there are far more homeowners unwilling to go down without a fight.
I have just read an article by Molly Livingstone about the teenagers of First Baptist Church in Duncanville. Thank God for teenagers who give up their time to help others in need. They could have been doing what other teenagers do on their own time, like hanging out at a favorite restaurant or other places, just visiting with each other. The teenagers at First Baptist in Duncanville chose to have fun helping others. I thank God for them. And I thank God for my young granddaughter, Molly Livingstone, who wrote and took photos for this informative article.