Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Fox News pundit speaks at Ga. church

MARTINEZ, Ga. – American Christians are on the verge of having their faith criminalized, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes warned a Southern Baptist church in Georgia in a July 5 Faith, Family & Freedom Celebration aired on local television.

“There is a war on religious liberty in the United States of America, and this war is not targeting people of the Muslim faith or the Jewish faith or the Hindu faith,” Starnes said in a Sunday morning sermon at Abilene Baptist Church in Martinez, Ga. “This war on religious liberty is targeting people of the Christian faith.”

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10th Circuit Court of Appeals rules against GuideStone in HHS mandate litigation

Roy Hayhurst

DALLAS — The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled today that GuideStone Financial Resources and the ministries it serves in its health plans must comply with the government’s HHS mandate, which forces religious ministries to violate their faith or pay crippling Internal Revenue Service penalties. Churches and their integrated auxiliaries are exempt from the mandate as religious employers.

GuideStone, its co-plaintiffs Reaching Souls International and Truett-McConnell College, and attorneys from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and Locke Lord LLP are studying the opinion to determine next steps, including possible appeals to the full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals or to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Presidential hopefuls react to same-sex marriage ruling

NASHVILLE (BP) – Reaction among 2016 presidential candidates to the Supreme Court's nationwide legalization of gay marriage is divided largely along party lines, with all five Democrats in the race lauding the decision and at least 13 of 14 Republicans opposing it.

As marriage and religious liberty moved to center stage of the campaign, one pastor and former U.S. Senate candidate urged Christians to consider supporting a candidate financially.

"There are enough believers in this country that if everyone just did something, it would make a massive, massive difference," said Mark Harris, pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., and a 2014 Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate.

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Baylor removes homosexuality from conduct policy

WACO, Texas (BP) – Baylor University has deleted an affirmation of heterosexual marriage from its policy on sexual conduct as well as a specific prohibition of "homosexual acts."

A university spokeswoman told Baptist Press the revised policy will be interpreted in a manner consistent with the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message, including the 1998 amendment defining marriage as "the uniting of one man and one woman in covenant commitment for a lifetime."

Baylor is the world's largest Baptist university and cooperates with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. The BGCT elects 25 percent of the university's board of regents and planned to send Baylor $353,125 this year, according to the convention's 2015 Missions and Ministries Budget.

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Baptist leaders react to SCOTUS ruling

SOUTHERN BAPTIST leaders agree the legalization of same-sex marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court is a seismic shift in the cultural, social and religious fabric of the nation.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled June 26 that state laws banning same-sex marriage are unconstitutional, therefore legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the United States, even in states like Arkansas where voters by an overwhelming margin had defined that marriage is between a man and a woman.

While evangelicals widely denounced the decision, the lead Southern Baptist ethicist said the move also presents opportunities for Christians residing in a fallen world.

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