Southern Baptists expressed their “opposition to and disappointment in” the membership policy of the Boy Scouts of America but affirmed the freedom of local churches to determine what to do, Baptist Press reports. The action came in a resolution drafted by the convention’s Resolutions Committee and approved by messengers June 12 during the SBC’s annual meeting in Houston. Southern Baptists have tracked the BSA membership controversy closely in recent months, as many churches either sponsor or are affiliated with local Scouting troops. The lengthy resolution detailed the sequence of events that led to the BSA’s May 23 vote to approve new membership guidelines stating that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The resolution says the Boy Scouts’ decision is “viewed by many homosexual activists as merely the first step in a process that will fundamentally change the BSA,” putting “the Scouts at odds with a consistent biblical worldview on matters of human sexuality.” It further says the decision “has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts.” The Southern Baptist Convention’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith, and Message 2000 states that “Christians should oppose . . . all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography,” the resolution noted, adding that Southern Baptists “consistently have expressed their opposition to the normalization of homosexual behavior in American culture through more than a dozen resolutions over the past thirty years.” In their resolution, Southern Baptists expressed continued opposition to the policy change and gratitude for the thousands within the Scouting family and the broader culture who voiced opposition to the BSA executive leadership’s intent to change its membership and leadership policies. Churches that decide to sever ties with the Boy Scouts should not abandon their ministry to boys, the resolution states, but should consider expanding their Royal Ambassadors ministry, “a distinctively Southern Baptist missions organization to develop godly young men.”
- Rep. John Fleming (R.-La.) passed an amendment in the House Armed Services Committee protecting religious speech of service members in the military, reports Breitbart News. President Obama has now threatened to veto the bill if it passes the full house and Senate. “In other words,” according to the report, “Obama says he will veto any bill that forbids his appointees or officers from telling a soldier that he cannot mention Jesus during prayer or have a Bible on his desk, or that keeps those appointees from telling a chaplain (who is an ordained clergyman) what religious teachings he is allowed to give in worship services, or what spiritual counseling he can give to another soldier.” Ambassador Ken Blackwell, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, told Breitbart News, “President Obama is waging a war on religion. He and Chuck Hagel are denying the most basic rights to those who put their lives on the line to protect all of our rights. It is shameful and appalling. I am confident that congressional leadership will show courage to stand up for our troops against this radical assault on religious liberty in the military.” The report stated, “This is the most compelling expression yet of the aggressive approach of the Obama-Hagel Defense Department to soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines who are observant Christians or devout members of other peaceful faiths, as seen in Breitbart News’ previous reports regarding the unconstitutional infringements of one of America’s most treasured, fundamental rights. All eyes are on House and Senate leadership to see if they stand firm on the bill for those in the military who are facing this new form of pressure.”
- Wisconsin Right to Life is hailing State Assembly passage of three major pieces of legislation that will protect pregnant women and unborn children and taxpayers from having to pay for abortions, lifenews.com reports. Senate Bill 206 (Sonya’s Law): Under the leadership of Representative Pat Strachota (R-West Bend), SB 206 received Assembly approval. Sonya’s Law would give every baby the opportunity for his mother to see him through ultrasound and experience his heartbeat before she makes a decision about her pregnancy. In addition, this legislation will require that an abortionist have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the abortion clinic. The legislation was named after a young Milwaukee mother of two children who became pregnant with her third child. Sonya considered having an abortion. After seeing an advertisement for a free ultrasound, Sonya was able to see her baby and immediately made an emotional connection with him. Sonya’s son will be born in July. Sonya’s Law now heads to the desk of Gov. Scott Walker, who plans to sign the legislation into law. Under the leadership of Assembly author Representative Andre Jacque (R-Green Bay), the Assembly passed AB 216 (The Health Care Conscience Act). This important legislation prohibits the use of public funds to pay for abortion coverage for public employees and exempts certain religious organizations, religious employers and religious institutions of higher learning from the current state mandate to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs. Assembly Bill 216 now goes to the State Senate for approval at a later date. Led by Assembly author Steve Kestell (R-Elkhart Lake), AB 217 (The Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act) received Assembly approval. The legislation reads, “No person shall intentionally perform or attempt to perform an abortion with knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking the abortion on account of the sex of the unborn child.” Sex-selection abortion is used to prevent the birth of a child solely based on the gender of the unborn child. The victims of these abortions are overwhelmingly female who face the ultimate form of discrimination—they cannot be allowed to live simply because they are girls. The United States is the only industrialized country that has not banned abortions based solely on the sex of a child. Assembly Bill 217 will be voted on by the State Senate at a later date. “Wisconsin Right to Life is deeply appreciative to Representatives Pat Strachota, Andre Jacque and Steve Kestell for their outstanding leadership on these important bills,” said Susan Armacost, legislative director of Wisconsin Right to Life. “We also thank those Assembly Representatives who understood the importance of these bills and voted for their passage. The big winners yesterday were Wisconsin’s women, babies, and taxpayers.”
- “The White House assures that tracking our every phone call and keystroke is to stop terrorists, and yet it won’t snoop in mosques, where the terrorists are,” news.investors.com reports. “That’s right, the government’s sweeping surveillance of our most private communications excludes the jihad factories where homegrown terrorists are radicalized. Since October 2011, mosques have been off-limits to FBI agents. No more surveillance or undercover string operations without high-level approval from a special oversight body at the Justice Department dubbed the Sensitive Operations Review Committee. Who makes up this body, and how do they decide requests? Nobody knows; the names of the chairman, members and staff are kept secret. We do know the panel was set up under pressure from Islamist groups who complained about FBI stings at mosques. Just months before the panel’s formation, the Council on American-Islamic Relations teamed up with the ACLU to sue the FBI for allegedly violating the civil rights of Muslims in Los Angeles by hiring an undercover agent to infiltrate and monitor mosques there. Before mosques were excluded from the otherwise wide domestic spy net the administration has cast, the FBI launched dozens of successful sting operations against homegrown jihadists—inside mosques—and disrupted dozens of plots against the homeland.”
- President Obama will travel to sub-Saharan Africa and the price tag for the trip clocks in between $60 million to $100 million. The Washington Post’s Carol Leonnig got access to classified documents outlining the trip. When President Obama makes his first extended trip to sub-Saharan Africa this month, the federal agencies charged with keeping him safe won’t be taking any chances. Hundreds of U.S. Secret Service agents will be dispatched to secure facilities in Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania. A Navy aircraft carrier or amphibious ship, with a fully staffed medical trauma center, will be stationed offshore in case of an emergency. Military cargo planes will airlift in 56 support vehicles, including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bulletproof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay. Fighter jets will fly in shifts, giving 24-hour coverage over the president’s airspace, so they can intervene quickly if an errant plane gets too close. The elaborate security provisions—which will cost the government tens of millions of dollars—are outlined in a confidential internal planning document obtained by The Washington Post.
- Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a coauthor and key proponent of the Senate immigration bill, said he will revoke his support if an amendment is added that allows gay Americans to petition for same-sex spouses living abroad to secure a green card, reports minutemennews.com. “If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I’m done,” Rubio said Thursday during an interview on the Andrea Tantaros Show. “I’m off it, and I’ve said that repeatedly. I don’t think that’s going to happen and it shouldn’t happen. This is already a difficult enough issue as it is.” The amendment, introduced by Vermont Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, would grant green cards to foreign partners of gay Americans. Leahy originally introduced the measure during the Senate Judiciary Committee markup of the bill, but he withdrew it under pressure from Republican lawmakers who said it would reduce the chance of the bill passing. The effort underway in Congress to overhaul the nation’s immigration system is a bipartisan one, and its success hinges on a fragile coalition of political, business, and religious groups that span the ideological spectrum. Opponents of Leahy’s amendment have said repeatedly that his proposal would cause some key groups to withdraw their support and kill the bill. Rubio’s exit would be especially devastating to its survival.
- Momentum is growing for the formation of a new organization for boys based on Biblical principles, onenewsnow.com reports. One of the members invited to help accomplish it has had experience in founding a similar scouting group for girls. American Heritage Girls was formed 17 years ago after it became apparent the Girl Scouts had moved to the left and away from Biblical principles. AHG cofounder Patti Garibay has accepted an invitation to meet in Kentucky with other Christian leaders later this month to help form the new organization. Garibay learned the hard way how to create a Christian alternative to established scouting groups and will have some advice for the panel. “Who knows? This boys’ program may end up with a large population of boys in it right away so we need to learn quick and use the best practices that have already been tried and true,” she says. Garibay adds that the public can trust the new organization will have strong Biblical standards for the organization and for the boys. “This new organization will be using the charter/partner concept where Christ-centered churches and private schools will be the charter partners and own and operate that program, and they will be the voting members of that organization to prevent this type of mission creep from coming in,” she tells OneNewsNow. “And also all of the adults will have to agree to a statement of faith that is Christ-centered.” The private meeting will be held in Kentucky later this month and the results made public shortly after. All of this effort is being made in response to the Boy Scouts voting to accept homosexuals as members.