February 2019

Greenway: SWBTS to ‘reinvigorate’ its legacy

February 28 2019 by David Roach, Baptist Press

Adam Greenway says he wants to continue Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SWBTS) legacy as the “big-tent seminary of the SBC,” where Southern Baptists who differ on secondary theological issues can unite behind rigorous scholarship, missions and evangelism.
 

Photo by Neil Williams
Newly elected Southwestern Seminary President Adam Greenway, center, appeared at a Feb. 27 press conference with trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert, right, and presidential search committee chairman Danny Roberts, left.

Greenway laid out his vision at a Feb. 27 press conference following his election as Southwestern’s ninth president. He also spoke of continuing the seminary’s heritage of strong faculty and producing Southern Baptist Convention leaders. Greenway said he has “no intention” of “trying to create a miniaturized version of [The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary],” where he served as a dean the past six years.
 
“Southwestern has had a distinct heritage ... of being the big-tent seminary of the SBC,” Greenway said, “the seminary that’s been able to bring people together who may have differences of opinion on secondary or tertiary matters, but are committed to the main things of the Great Commission, the local church, missions, evangelism, preaching [and] pastoral ministry.”
 
Southwestern is unique for its “scholarship on fire” focus, Greenway said, quoting a phrase Southwestern founder B.H. Carroll used to describe academic rigor combined with passion for Christ. The seminary established the first professorship of evangelism at any seminary in North America, has been known for its soul winning emphasis and is poised to “touch the world and impact eternity right here from Seminary Hill.”
 
Another part of Southwestern’s heritage Greenway said he hopes to continue is its production of denominational leaders for churches and SBC entities. He noted Southwestern President L.R. Scarborough’s leadership in the SBC’s 75 Million Campaign nearly a century ago as well as Southwestern alumni who have influenced the SBC more recently, including Jimmy Draper, Morris Chapman, Jerry Rankin, Jack Graham and O.S. Hawkins.
 
Southwestern should “continue to provide a pipeline for leadership in every aspect of convention life,” Greenway said.
 
Maintaining a “faculty of generals” who attract the next generation of ministers will be another hallmark of Greenway’s tenure, he said.
 
In response to a media question, Greenway said he will not attempt to make Southwestern like Southern. The two institutions are distinct in Southern Baptist life and have a relationship analogous to Harvard and Yale, Greenway said.
 
“I have no intention of trying to come and trying to create a miniaturized version of Southern or a caricature of Southern here,” Greenway said. “I do not believe that Southwestern needs to import another institution’s legacy. We simply need to reinvigorate and retell the great legacy and history of this seminary for a new generation.”
 
Appearing alongside Greenway, Southwestern trustee chairman Kevin Ueckert and Southwestern presidential search committee chairman Danny Roberts said they believe Greenway is God’s man to lead Southwestern forward.
 
“God has provided us all a unique blessing to be part of a moment like this,” said Ueckert, pastor of First Baptist Church in Georgetown, Texas. “And it’s our belief that this is the beginning of many more moments of sensing the Lord’s work, His presence and His purpose.”
 
Roberts, executive pastor of North Richland Hills (Texas) Baptist Church, said “God opened the paths that we needed to go down” during the search process. “It was absolutely incredibly amazing how the Holy Spirit worked in and through each of the different times we met together.”

2/28/2019 10:54:30 AM by David Roach, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



By slim vote, Methodists maintain biblical marriage

February 28 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

United Methodist bishops are promoting unity in the global church after delegates narrowly retained biblical marriage and a ban on LGBT ordination at a contentious 2019 General Conference in St. Louis.
 
Delegates approved Feb. 26 the so-called Traditional Plan by a margin of 53.3 percent to 46.7 percent, going against the One Church Plan backed by the United Methodist Church (UMC) Council of Bishops in advance of the conference. The One Church Plan would have largely left LGBT marriage and ordination in the hands of local church pastors, while the Traditional Plan strengthens church policy prohibiting same-sex unions and the ordination of practicing homosexuals.
 

Photo by Paul Jeffrey, United Methodist News Service
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey chaired the conference as the United Methodist Church narrowly upheld traditional marriage and a ban on LGBT ordination.

The Southern Baptist Convention has long upheld biblical marriage between one man and one woman, teaching the union in its 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, and passing resolutions to that effect at annual meetings.
 
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, termed the conference “not only surprising,” but “stunning.”
 
“It should give hope to all biblically-minded Christians, and it should remind all of us of what we must always clearly see,” Mohler said in his Briefing podcast today, “and that is that there is no way for any church or congregation to move ahead in two contradictory directions at once.
 
“Eventually the choice comes down to faithfulness to the scriptures or the abandonment of the scriptures.” Mohler said. “When it comes to the clear teachings of scripture, there really is no middle ground, and that’s not just true for the Methodists.”
 
Opponents of the Traditional Plan used such tactics as points of order, proposed amendments, impassioned pleas and challenges to decisions of the chair to delay a final vote for hours, and at times erupted in vocal protests during the proceedings that were livestreamed.
 
John Lomperis, the United Methodist director of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), said the conference showcased “deep divides” in the UMC.
 
“It was particularly odd to see liberal leaders call evangelical United Methodists hateful, ‘a bunch of evil folks,’ and all kinds of names, and then at the same time see these same liberal leaders promote their primary liberal plan as reflecting their desire for ‘we’re better together’ unity with us,” Lomperis wrote Feb. 27 on the IRD’s Juicy Ecumenism blog. “There was plenty of loud, angry protesting. So much hurt all around. It was a rather stressful day.”
 
Council of Bishops President Kenneth Carter has pledged to reach out especially to progressives who lost, the UMC news service reported. Carter, who presides as a bishop in Florida, lamented the vote in a National Public Radio (NPR) interview broadcast this morning.
 
“It is deeply disappointing, and it’s our struggle,” Carter said on NPR. “In the U.S., we mirror the fragmentation of our culture and the polarization of our culture.” About 43 percent of delegates were from outside the U.S., the Associated Press reported.
 
Bishops in Africa, where the UMC is growing as it declines in the U.S., overwhelmingly support biblical marriage but also promote UMC unity, Maidstone Mulenga, director of communications for the UMC Council of Bishops, told Baptist Press (BP) today.
 
“While the bishops in Africa reaffirmed their position as traditionalists and view marriage as (the) union between man and woman, they do not support any plans for schism in The United Methodist Church,” Mulenga emailed BP. “As for the (bishops’) vote in support of the One Church Plan, the result was overwhelming. But since it was in executive session, the numbers were not disclosed.”
 
The Traditional Plan clarifies the definition of a practicing homosexual as described in the UMC Book of Discipline, limiting the term to anyone “living in a same-sex marriage, domestic partnership or civil union,” or “who publicly states that she or he is a practicing homosexual,” Lomperis said. Among other stipulations, the plan establishes mandatory penalties for clergy who violate LGBT marriage and ordination policies, Lomperis said, and gives churches the right to appeal when church leaders violate policy.
 
Susan Henry-Crowe, general secretary of the UMC General Board of Church and Society, pledged to work for LGBT rights within the church.
 
“The United Methodist Church’s special General Conference failed Tuesday to love LGBTQIA people, recognize their gifts in the church, maintain our unity in the midst of diversity, and to live out our gospel mandate to seek justice and pursue peace,” she said in a Feb. 26 press release. “We worship a fully-inclusive, justice-seeking God.”
 
The conference has created a wound with lasting ramifications, she said.
 
“The wound may one day be healed by the grace of God,” Henry-Crowe said, “but the scar left behind will [be] visible forever ... Church and society will never cease to work with God to build the fully-inclusive realm of God on earth.”
 
Carter affirmed the pain caused by the church’s stance on homosexuality.
 
“The pain and the disappointment is very real, and I have always said that LGBT persons are a sacred work. They are not the problem,” Carter said on NPR. “Really the problem is how the church can rediscover the grace of God through Jesus and hear His command to love one another, and it happens in the local communities and in families.”
 
The SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission offers a detailed explanation of the UMC vote at erlc.com.
 
“By voting to uphold the biblical view of sexuality, the LGBTQ faction in the denomination will almost assuredly split from the General Conference and thus disassociate from the other conferences and other local churches within the UMC,” ERLC communications specialist Joe Carter wrote. “Local churches and clergy have until the end of April 2020 to decide whether they will remain in the denomination or leave and join a self-governing body.”
 
The Council of Bishops, comprising all UMC active and retired bishops, is charged with the spiritual leadership of the church with nearly 12 million members spanning four continents. In the U.S., United Methodists have declined from 10.7 million in 1969 to an estimated 6.9 million in 2016, according to UMC figures. Conversely in Africa, where United Methodists numbered 5.3 million in 2016, the church grew by 7.5 percent between 2012 and 2015, according to the IRD.

2/28/2019 10:33:42 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



Stinson elected provost at SWBTS

February 28 2019 by Alex Sibley, SWBTS

Randy L. Stinson has been elected provost and vice president for academic administration at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS).
 
Stinson was recommended to the seminary’s board of trustees by the seminary’s Academic Administration Committee, and the board voted to approve the recommendation during a special called meeting on Feb. 27.
 

Photo by Kathleen Murray
Newly elected Southwestern Seminary Provost Randy Stinson talks with Jack Terry, interim dean of the Jack Terry School of Church and Family Ministries.

“I could not be more excited to have Randy Stinson with me to serve as provost at Southwestern Seminary,” said Adam W. Greenway, the seminary’s newly elected president. “Having worked for him for the previous six years, I’ve seen firsthand his leadership, humility and desire to serve faculty and students in his previous position. I have every confidence that with Randy Stinson as Southwestern Seminary’s provost, this institution will be known for academic excellence within a deeply Christian culture where servant leadership is not only taught but modeled.”
 
Stinson previously served as senior vice president for academic administration and provost at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., as well as Basil Manly Jr. Professor of Leadership and Family Ministry. He is a recognized authority on the subject of biblical manhood and womanhood, and regularly speaks at conferences on the subjects of parenting, marriage and men’s leadership.
 
Stinson completed his bachelor’s degree at the University of South Florida, his master of divinity at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., and his master of theology and Ph.D. at Southern Seminary.
 
Before becoming the provost at Southern, Stinson served in other administrative roles for the seminary, including dean of the School of Church Ministries. He is also a senior fellow for the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, research fellow for the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and active member of the Evangelical Theological Society.
 
Stinson co-authored the book Stand Up! A Guide to Biblical Manhood and co-edited Trained in the Fear of God and has contributed to various other titles as well. He was ordained for ministry at Idlewild Baptist Church in Lutz, Fla., in 1990 and served in multiple churches in youth and pastoral ministry throughout the 1990s.
 
“Randy Stinson is a man of integrity, industry and ingenuity,” says Ken Whitten, pastor of Idlewild Baptist Church. “He has deep convictions about raising godly families and models the balance of parenting and preaching extremely well.
 
“It has been my joy to have been his pastor and friend for years,” Whitten said. “He is a recognized authority on the subject of biblical manhood and womanhood and speaks about parenting, marriage and men’s leadership. It has been my experience to observe Randy as a strong, organized leader who loves the local church and lives the gospel out in the everyday arenas of his life. He will be a gifted asset and a great provost to a wonderful seminary. Southwestern will be blessed to have Randy Stinson and his family join the Southwestern family.”
 
Stinson has been married to his wife Danna since 1991. The couple has eight children, including four adopted children – Gunnar, Georgia, Fisher, Eden, Payton, Spencer, Willa and Brewer.
 
“Randy and Danna Stinson are two of the most unpretentious, sincere, godly leaders that Nicole and I know,” says Nathan Lino, senior pastor of Northeast Houston Baptist Church and a long-time friend of Stinson. “They are full of grace and truth. They are kind and compassionate. They are Kingdom-focused. We are very excited that the Lord is calling them to Southwestern.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Alex Sibley is associate director of news and information for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.)

2/28/2019 10:28:43 AM by Alex Sibley, SWBTS | with 0 comments



Military draft ruling a ‘blow’ to gender equality

February 28 2019 by Grace Thornton, Baptist Press

A federal judge in Texas has ruled the all-male military draft unconstitutional, a move that some Baptist leaders say is a blow to gender equality, not a win for it.
 
Judge Gray H. Miller of Federal District Court in the Southern District of Texas said earlier this week that the “time has passed” for debate on whether women belong in the military.
 
In 2015 the Pentagon lifted all restrictions for women in service, making them eligible for combat. It follows that if women are as eligible for combat as men, then legally they are also just as eligible for a draft, Miller ruled.
 
No one has been conscripted into military service since the draft was discontinued in 1973 – in the time since, military service has been completely voluntary. But draft registration was reinstated in 1981 through Selective Service and, since then, men have been required to register on their 18th birthday or face the possibility of being denied benefits like government jobs or student loans. Once they register, they can be drafted up to age 25.
 
In Miller’s official opinion, women should be asked to do the same, then called up to fight in the event of a draft.
 
His ruling in the case – brought by the National Coalition For Men, a men’s rights group, and two men who argued against the fairness of an all-male draft – is declaratory, not an injunction that Selective Service has to follow.
 
Mike Whitehead, a former captain of the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps who serves as general counsel for the Missouri Baptist Convention, said Congress still has time to address the issue and eventually the Supreme Court may have to weigh in.
 
The American culture has long “valued women for their special roles in society but has not historically compelled them to fight our wars,” Whitehead said. “Treating women differently in ways they are different is not invidious discrimination. Myopic views of sexual equality above all else lose sight of other cultural values we should fight to preserve.”
 
R. Albert Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., said on his podcast “The Briefing” the Christian worldview is that the genders are equal – equally made in the image of God.
 
“But equal does not mean same, and when it comes to male and female, it also means different,” he said. “That is why a biblical understanding of the relationship between men and women and the proper roles of men and women is described as complementarianism – complementary roles when you look at men and at women, not sameness.”
 
Mohler noted that the 2015 decision to allow women to fight voluntarily was “a great blow to human dignity in seeking to erase any distinction between men and women.”
 
“If equality means sameness, then we will have the absolute meltdown of all moral meaning,” he said.
 
At the time of Miller’s ruling, an advisory panel – the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service – was in the process of weighing whether or not women should be included in any future drafts.
 
“Personally, I don’t think we will remain with the status quo,” Joe Heck, the chairman of the commission, told USA Today in January. “But where we end up on the spectrum is yet to be determined.”
 
Mohler said in any event, “we are about to determine whether the American people are ready, not only for their sons to be registered for the draft, but for their daughters to be equally registered, and if equally registered, then equally ready to be called up for involuntary combat duty.”
 
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Grace Thornton is a writer based in Birmingham, Ala.)

2/28/2019 10:24:04 AM by Grace Thornton, Baptist Press | with 1 comments



Greenway to lead SWBTS, Stinson named provost

February 27 2019 by Biblical Recorder Staff

The trustees of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS) voted today (Feb. 27) to elect Adam Greenway as the next president. Greenway, 41, is an alumnus of SWBTS and currently serves as dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions, Evangelism and Ministry at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, Ky.

Adam Greenway, left, and Randy Stinson, right.

 
Trustees also confirmed Greenway’s nomination of Randy Stinson to serve as provost and vice president of academic administration at SWBTS. Stinson, 51, has been provost and senior vice president for academic administration at SBTS since 2013. He also previously served as president of The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood.
 
An earlier press release said the SBTS Billy Graham School, under Greenway’s leadership, became the largest graduate school at any Southern Baptist seminary with over 2,100 students currently enrolled.
 
“We came to know Adam Greenway as a man of impeccable character who demonstrates kindness and humility in his dealings with others, a leader who surrounds himself with talented people and allows them to work within their giftedness, a bridge builder in the Southern Baptist Convention, and a true scholar with a heart for missions and evangelism,” said SWBTS search committee chair Danny Roberts.
 
This story is developing.

2/27/2019 11:24:08 AM by Biblical Recorder Staff | with 0 comments



Mark Harris bows out of new N.C. election

February 27 2019 by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press

Former Southern Baptist pastor Mark Harris has pulled out of the running for Congress, just days after agreeing to a new congressional election amid concerns of fraud.
 

Mark Harris

Harris cited health concerns including sepsis and two strokes in an email Feb. 26 to state election officials saying he would not remain in the new race for North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District. Harris led by 905 votes in the last count of November 2018 ballots but state officials refused to certify the results.
 
Harris said he “owed it to the citizens of the 9th District to have someone at full strength during the new campaign,” Reuters quoted him as saying today.
 
State officials last week ordered a new election after Harris acknowledged Feb. 21 an absence of integrity in the vote, which had placed him slightly above Democrat Dan McCready.
 
“The public’s confidence in the 9th District seat general election has been undermined to an extent that a new election is warranted,” Harris told the North Carolina Board of Elections, reversing his adamant stance against a new election.
 
Harris pastored First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., until 2017 and was president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina from 2011-2013.

2/27/2019 10:51:45 AM by Diana Chandler, Baptist Press | with 1 comments



‘Who’s Your One?’ emphasis officially launched

February 27 2019 by Brandon Elrod, NAMB

The North American Mission Board (NAMB) officially launched the “Who’s Your One?” evangelism initiative Feb. 26 as part of an effort to encourage Southern Baptists to engage people with gospel conversations throughout the year. This evangelism emphasis asks believers to pray for and focus on one individual in the hope that that person may come to Christ.
 

Southern Baptist Convention president J.D. Greear has worked in coordination with NAMB to develop a special resource for pastors that will help them personally embrace the effort and also lead their congregations to engage in sharing their faith.
 
“As a pastor, it’s easy to live as a ‘professional Christian’ who urges others to bring people to faith in Christ without actually doing it myself,” Greear said. “There’s a saying, ‘Evangelism is caught as much as it is taught.’ When our people see us praying for lost friends, inviting them to church and sharing the gospel, they’ll join us! These Who’s Your One resources give us pastors simple tools to call our people to join us in personal evangelism.”
 
As part of the emphasis, pastors can order a free kit from NAMB that includes several items to help their church practice evangelism. The package includes an implementation guide, a 30-day prayer guide, a prayer journal, prayer bookmarks and a poster. A USB drive includes digital resources including promotional graphics, slides, sermon outlines and transcripts, sample sermons and a bulletin insert.
 
NAMB has already shipped kits to thousands of churches and pastors. Churches can order resources at NAMB’s online store, nambstore.com, or through whosyourone.com. Pastors can also receive assistance by calling 800-634-2462.
 
“My favorite thing about the Who’s Your One kit is that it provides pastors with resources to help kick start a wave of personal evangelism in their churches,” said Johnny Hunt, NAMB’s senior vice president of evangelism and leadership. “I pray that the Who’s Your One movement encourages Southern Baptists to get back to our roots as a gospel-focused people.”
 
Who’s Your One? is one part of Greear’s “Gospel Above All” theme for his presidency, which is designed to help Southern Baptists focus on the unifying mission of sharing the gospel.
 
Other areas Greear is emphasizing include: Go2, which is a challenge for college students to strategically spend their first two years after graduation on the mission field; multiplying churches, which emphasizes church planting in North America and around the globe; and undivided churches, which helps congregations reflect the unity of God’s kingdom to a divided world. More information can be found at gospelaboveall.com.
 
Who’s Your One? is one of several ways NAMB is elevating the importance of evangelism among Southern Baptists. Hunt officially joined the team at NAMB at the start of 2019 because of his passion to see Southern Baptists heighten their efforts to reach the lost in their communities.
 
As a part of that effort, NAMB launched a podcast – Evangelism with Johnny Hunt – that provides tips and interviews with pastors, began producing weekly evangelism videos and continues hosting evangelism conferences such as Engage 24 across the nation.
 
“At NAMB, it’s all about the gospel,” NAMB president Kevin Ezell said. “We want to do everything we possibly can to equip pastors and churches to reach their communities with the saving message of Jesus Christ.”
 
Learn more about NAMB’s evangelism resources at namb.net/evangelism.

2/27/2019 10:45:32 AM by Brandon Elrod, NAMB | with 0 comments



Workshop highlights Southeastern’s heart for pastors

February 27 2019 by Lauren Pratt, Southeastern Seminary

The second annual Christ-Centered Exposition Workshop, focused on the Book of Acts, is one of the many ways that Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary’s (SEBTS) Pastor’s Center is seeking to equip pastors and students to effectively lead in the local church. 
 

“Teaching others the truth of God’s word is an essential element of the Great Commission,” said Scott Pace, director for the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership and the Johnny Hunt chair of biblical preaching at SEBTS. “The Christ-Centered Exposition workshop is specifically designed to equip preachers and teachers to faithfully expound the scriptures in order to make disciples and fulfill Jesus’s marching orders for the Church.”  
 
The one-day workshop, hosted on the SEBTS campus April 4, will feature a chapel message by Tony Merida, who will be preaching out of Acts. Merida, pastor of Imago Dei Church in Raleigh, N.C., will also be speaking on a panel later that afternoon with Scott Kellum, professor of New Testament and Greek; Jim Shaddix, W.A. Criswell chair of expository preaching and professor of preaching at SEBTS; and Pace. Preceding chapel, Kellum will be speaking to attendees on exegetical issues that can come to light when preparing to preach through Acts. 
 
“This conference is a concerted effort to provide a unique training opportunity for local church leaders by offering sound teaching and practical tools to encourage and equip them to fulfill their calling in their specific contexts,” said Pace.   
 
The Pastor’s Center seeks to equip pastors and students who are currently serving or hope to serve in leadership roles within the local church. This is done in a number of capacities, most notably through degree programs at SEBTS, ranging from undergraduate to doctoral studies. Two of these degrees include the master of divinity in preaching and pastoral ministry and the Hunt Scholars Program. 
 
The M.Div. in preaching and pastoral ministry has the second-highest number of enrollees of the degree programs at SEBTS, which prepares students for pastoral ministry and expositional preaching. The Hunt Scholars Program is a five-year degree plan that allows students to receive a bachelor of arts and a master of divinity in pastoral ministry. Throughout these academically rigorous degrees, students have the opportunity to sit under the teaching of professors who have served in pastoral roles for a number of years. 
 
The Pastor’s Center also seeks to connect students with churches and associations. Likewise, it desires to help students train within a local church setting through the EQUIP Network by partnering with churches to provide mentored internships while receiving course credit. 
 
This fall, the Pastor’s Center will be hosting the Evangelical Homiletics Society (EHS) meeting on the SEBTS campus Oct. 17-19. Started in 1997, EHS is an academic society that meets annually to discuss various ideas related to biblical preaching. 

The Center for Preaching and Pastoral Ministry exists to equip and encourage pastors to lead healthy, disciple-making churches for the glory of God around the world. It represents an intentional bridge between the seminary and the local church. 
 
Registration for the conference is $10 and includes lunch and a copy of Christ-Centered Exposition: Exalting Jesus in Acts, written by Merida. To register for the workshop, click here
 
For more information on the Center for Preaching and Pastoral Leadership, visit pastorscenter.sebts.edu/.

2/27/2019 10:32:29 AM by Lauren Pratt, Southeastern Seminary | with 0 comments



Bill to protect abortion survivors dies in Senate

February 27 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

The Senate again has rejected legislation to require health care for a child born alive during an abortion, leaving most Democratic members vulnerable to charges of supporting infanticide.
 

Screen capture from YouTube
Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., urges support Feb. 25 for his Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, asking his colleagues in the speech "whether or not we're okay with infanticide."

In a roll call Feb. 25, senators voted 53-44 to bring the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act to the floor for a vote on final passage. But the effort failed to reach the 60 votes needed to succeed in the procedural move known as invoking cloture. All but three of the chamber’s 47 Democrats voted in opposition.
 
The vote came three weeks after a Democratic senator blocked an effort by Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., to gain unanimous consent from the Senate for his bill.
 
The Senate’s Feb. 25 action came the same day a new public opinion poll was released that showed a dramatic shift in just a month’s time for Democrats and others toward the pro-life position. The survey by The Marist Poll also found strong opposition to late-term abortions across political identifications.
 
The reported change in public opinion came in the wake of enactment of a New York law that legalizes abortion until birth and, according to pro-life analysis, removes protections for babies who survive abortion. It also followed comments by Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam that expressed support for allowing abortion-surviving infants to die.
 
The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act not only says a child who survives an abortion or attempted abortion is a “legal person” deserving protection. But it also mandates that a health-care provider give the same degree of care offered “any other baby born alive at the same gestational age.” Under the proposal, an infant who survives an abortion must be admitted to a hospital after the initial treatment. A violation of the measure could result in a fine and/or a prison sentence of as many as five years.
 
Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore urged senators to support the bill hours before the vote.
 
“That somehow there would even be a question among elected officials whether it should be legal to leave a crying child to die on the table is shameful,” said Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, in a written release. “Protecting the lives of living babies must not be a partisan issue. Children have intrinsic value that is defined not by their power, nor by the whim of doctors, but by the image of God each one of them bears.
 
“Americans deserve to know where their elected officials stand on infanticide,” he noted. “We should not be complicit in rendering imperiled children non-persons based simply on the circumstances of their birth.”
 
Kristen Day, executive director of Democrats for Life of America, said all other Democrats in the Senate should have joined Sens. Robert Casey of Pennsylvania, Doug Jones of Alabama and Joe Manchin of West Virginia in voting for the legislation.
 
“This should be a no-brainer, and every Democrat should be supporting this,” Day told Baptist Press before the Senate vote.
 
“This is a critical moment for Democrats in saying where they stand, because as the Democratic Party, we’re saying health care is a right, not a privilege,” she said. “And if we’re saying a baby born alive doesn’t deserve that right, when does he or she, when does it start?
 
“[T]here really is no reason to vote against it,” Day said. “It has nothing to do with abortion, the legality of abortion, doesn’t touch Roe v. Wade,” the Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling that legalized abortion.
 
Sasse made the same point in a floor speech before the Senate’s vote on his bill.
 
“I want to ask each and every one of my colleagues whether or not we’re OK with infanticide,” he said. “Infanticide is what the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act is actually about.
 
“Nothing in this bill changes the slightest letter of Roe v. Wade,” Sasse said. “Nothing touches abortion access in this bill. This bill is about living and breathing babies that are alive outside the womb.”
 
While the vote on his bill should be easy, what it would do “is actually threatening to one of the most powerful interest groups in America,” the abortion industry, he said. “Unlike this legislation, [abortion rights organizations and their allies] refuse to draw any line between abortion and infanticide.”
 
Democrats and abortion rights leaders charged that Sasse’s proposal was an attack on women’s and doctors’ rights, as well as a political ploy.
 
Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who blocked Sasse’s unanimous consent request Feb. 4, said on the floor after the vote the bill was “anti-doctor, anti-woman and anti-family.”
 
NARAL Pro-Choice America, a leading abortion rights group, said the proposal demonstrates Sasse is “an extremist.
 
“This bill is a brazen attempt by Senator Sasse, [Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell and the anti-choice GOP to score political points with their fringe, extremist base,” said NARAL President Ilyse Hogue in a written statement.
 
Republicans in the House of Representatives have repeatedly attempted to gain approval of a similar bill but have been turned back by Democrats. Seven times from Feb. 6 to 25, a GOP member has sought unanimous consent for consideration of such a proposal, but the presiding officer has declined the request each time.
 

A shift

 
The Marist survey released Feb. 25 showed Democrats who identify as pro-life jumped from 20 percent to 34 percent in just a month. State proposals that support late-term procedures “have reset the landscape and language on abortion in a pronounced – and very measurable – way,” said Barbara Carvalho, Marist’s director, in a written release.
 
A similar shift occurred in Americans generally, according to the poll. In January, Americans identifying as pro-choice surpassed those saying they are pro-life by 55-38 percent. In the survey taken Feb. 12-17, pro-life and pro-choice Americans were equally divided with 47 percent each. In people under 45 years of age, the pro-choice advantage changed from 65-28 percent to 48-47 percent.
 
The survey also showed Americans believe abortion should be generally illegal during the third trimester by 71-25 percent. Those opposing third-trimester abortions include 60 percent of Democrats, 72 percent of independents and 85 percent of Republicans.
 
The Knights of Columbus – a Catholic men’s organization – sponsored and funded the survey in partnership with Marist.
 
Northam’s controversial remarks came in a Jan. 30 radio interview in which he was asked about a fellow Democrat’s bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would have legalized abortion until birth. Northam said of the proposal, “If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”
 
The Virginia-ignited uproar came a week after New York enacted a law that legalizes abortion until birth for the mother’s “health” – which is not defined and has been interpreted by the U.S. Supreme Court to include essentially any reason – and as other states seek to wipe out limitations on the procedure. At least in part, the effort is based on the concern expressed by abortion rights advocates that two Supreme Court justices nominated by President Trump will help overturn the Roe v. Wade opinion.
 
Unlike with Sasse’s bill, Democrats did not block similar legislation that gained approval in 2002. The Senate passed the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act by unanimous consent, and the House of Representatives approved it by voice vote.
 
The measure, signed into law by President George W. Bush, clarified a newborn child – “at any stage of development” and fully outside the womb – is a person to be protected under federal law. The legislation especially targeted what was known at the time as live-birth abortion. The method, practiced in at least one hospital in Chicago, resulted in surviving babies being left unattended to die.
 
The 2002 law does not adequately protect children who survive an abortion, Sasse said in reintroducing his bill in January. His proposal makes specific requirements of health-care providers and calls for penalties not in the 2002 measure.

2/27/2019 10:16:57 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



New HHS pro-life rule applauded

February 26 2019 by Tom Strode, Baptist Press

Donald Trump’s administration’s new rule to eradicate family planning funds for Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform or promote abortions received high marks from pro-life leaders.
 
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a final regulation Feb. 24 that bars the use of Title X money “to perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning.” The rule, published as a proposal in June, requires “clear financial and physical separation” between Title X programs and non-Title X programs in which abortion is promoted as a method of family planning.
 
As the federal government’s family planning program, Title X serves about four million Americans – those of low income in particular.
 
The Protect Life Rule, as it is being labeled, would cut about 10 percent of the government money that goes annually to Planned Parenthood, which reportedly receives $50-$60 million yearly through Title X. The Planned Parenthood Federation of American (PPFA) and its affiliates collected $563.8 million in government grants and reimbursements and performed more than 332,757 abortions in the most recent year for which statistics are available.
 
PPFA, the country’s No. 1 abortion provider, showed net assets of $1.88 billion at the end of the latest fiscal year.
 
Southern Baptist ethicist Russell Moore expressed gratitude for the administration’s action “that states unequivocally that family planning does not include abortion.”
 
Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), called the HHS rule “a responsible step toward our goal of totally separating taxpayer funds from Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry. Without abortion, there would be no Planned Parenthood because, according to their own president, it is their ‘core mission.’”
 
“We know this profit-driven industry, which devalues human life and exploits families, will do everything in its power to maneuver around this rule as they seek to use taxpayer dollars for abortion,” he said in written comments for Baptist Press. “That being the case, we are thankful for these regulations from HHS and continue to call upon Congress to take legislative action. We will not stop until abortion is no longer supported with even a penny of taxpayer funds.”
 
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the Susan B. Anthony List, thanked President Trump and HHS Secretary Alex Azar for guaranteeing Title X “is truly about funding family planning, not abortion.”
 
Title X “was not intended to be a slush fund” for Planned Parenthood and other abortion businesses, she said in a written statement.
 
Catherine Glenn Foster, president of Americans United for Life (AUL), commended the new rule. “It is AUL’s long-time policy position that funds appropriated or controlled by the federal and state governments should be allocated away from the subsidization of elective abortion providers and toward comprehensive and preventive women’s health care,” she said in a written release.
 
Planned Parenthood officers and other abortion rights advocates decried the regulation.
 
PPFA President Leana Wen described the rule as “unconscionable and unethical.”
 
“Reproductive health care is health care and health care is a basic human right,” she said in a written statement.
 
In the last Congress, pro-life organizations urged Republicans to keep their promise to defund Planned Parenthood, but they were unable to do so though they had a majority in both houses and a president who supported the effort. Democrats, who back funding for abortion and Planned Parenthood, now control the House of Representatives.
 
In order for Planned Parenthood and other abortion performers to receive Title X funds, they must comply with the financial separation requirements within 120 days and with the physical separation mandates within a year.
 
The new HHS regulation also:

  • Ends the requirement that Title X recipients must provide abortion counseling and referral, but it does not prohibit nondirective counseling regarding abortion.

  • Provides protection to victims of abuse, trafficking and other forms of forced sex.

 Moore and more than 80 other pro-life leaders urged Azar in a May letter to issue a Title X rule like the one just announced by HHS.
 
Messengers to the 2017 SBC meeting adopted a resolution calling for defunding of Planned Parenthood at all levels of government and denouncing the organization’s “immoral agenda and practices.” One of the ERLC’s priorities in its 2019 legislative agenda is the defunding of Planned Parenthood.

2/26/2019 9:53:28 AM by Tom Strode, Baptist Press | with 0 comments



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