Presidential position

Although I concur with your views on homosexuality (“The late, great United States of America” ABN, May 31), please consider:

The president took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” He did not swear to preserve, protect and defend the Bible.

The president did not “endorse same-sex marriage as a way of life” as you stated. He endorsed “marriage equality” under the Constitution. He supported the right of same-sex couples to marry and be treated as equal citizens under the law.

The Constitution of the United States is to be applied equally to all citizens. There is no provision to carve out a group on the basis of skin color, religious beliefs or sexual orientation or practice and deny them its equal rights and protections. Even in our Pledge of Allegiance to the flag “and to the republic for which it stands,” we pledge “liberty and justice for all.”

There are many behaviors I don’t like and I think are contrary to the teachings of God’s Word, but they are not outlawed under the Constitution of this republic. The citizens who practice those things have as much right to practice them as I have to read my Bible, attend my church, worship God the way I believe He should be worshipped and practice the behaviors I believe are in harmony with my Bible.

You and I don’t consider same-sex marriage to be in harmony with biblical teachings, but that is not the president’s concern; the provisions of the Constitution are! And if any president – or candidate – were to oppose upholding the provisions of the Constitution of the United States, I would certainly consider that sufficient reason to oppose his/her candidacy.

Bob Hartsell
Hot Springs


Our hope is in God

In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus says to pray thusly: “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. … But deliver us from evil” (KJV).

Many forces of evil, both seen and unseen, threaten to destroy us, our families and our country. We are afraid. We have prayed for revival, but national revival seems remote. We have looked for a man on a white horse to save us, but he has not appeared. Our economy is broke. We need wisdom this election year, but so many depend on government. God’s Word says His people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

We must acknowledge our dependence on God and not be afraid to pray in the name of Jesus – even publicly. Our hope is in God – not government.

Gwen Carpenter



Churches give back

It is the world that is always asking for money. When did you go to the supermarket and the checker fail to ask you for money? Your mortgage company asks for money with unfailing regularity. Each month brings bills. Are any of them from the church? Uncle Sam withholds a percentage of every dollar you earn; your Father does not.

Attend worship every week and there is no admission charge. The church is there when you need it, with nursery provided. You can make full use of it and never have to pay one cent.

If you are sick, the pastor will visit you in the hospital. Where else can you get free counseling when you need it? Bulletins and newsletters are published weekly. No one receives a subscription notice “asking for money” as with other publications. What do you do when your loved one dies? What will it cost? The undertaker will certainly charge for his services. Your church will not.

You pay taxes to provide your children “free” public education; your church operates a Sunday school that gives quality Christian education at no cost.

There’s no membership fee, no annual dues. Is there any other organization that functions that way?

Consider this paradox. Compared to the government and the bill collectors, the church almost never asks for money. Yet of all the things your money could be used for, none are more important than ministry.

The church shares the love of Jesus Christ. Our money goes to serve Him and help our fellow man. The church provides ministry in Jesus’ name to everyone whether they can afford to contribute or not. Isn’t that something you would like to be a part of? Think about it!

Steven G. Tiner
North Little Rock


Baptist building should close on Good Friday

I have always been a Southern Baptist. If there is one thing that I have learned from my parents it is that respect for our heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ should be automatic. I believe that if we truly love Him and want to lead by example, we must always show respect to Him.

As we live our daily lives, it becomes increasingly hard to be the example. As people turn further and further away from Christ, our job becomes harder. As we try to witness to unchurched people, we get to hear how hypocritical the church can be. We also tend to let self take over instead of God.

Several of the companies that I have worked for have surprised me. They were run by people who did not claim to be Christian but honored employees by closing their doors on Good Friday. Without knowing it, they are giving tribute to a King they don’t really believe in or don’t know.

However, it is with a sad heart that I found out that our own Arkansas Baptist building does not close for Good Friday. Why? There is no amount of earthly gain that is worth telling people in this state that Good Friday is not worth closing for. How do you explain to someone that we should have ultimate respect for our Lord and Savior when our own people don’t show it? In my opinion this should be changed immediately. To continually be witnesses for Christ, we must always put Him first.

You have to ask the question, “Are we exalting Christ in all we do?” I believe in what our Arkansas Baptists do and support them fully. Please help me understand why our Baptist building does not close on Good Friday.

John Johnston
Hot Springs


Reached by California Southern Baptists

I was raised in California by Southern parents. What a strange combination, I know!

My parents, Victor and Fluella Koone, were from Arkansas and went to California in the 1950s with plans to “make a fortune” and return to Arkansas. My mother was a Christian, a Southern Baptist, but my father didn’t find the Lord until a Southern Baptist missionary in northern California invited him to a revival. He let the fact that my mother was Southern Baptist slip out, and Bro. Kendall was at their house that evening. On the third day of the revival, my father accepted Jesus as his Savior!

Within two years, my father felt the call to the ministry. He spent the next 30 years spreading the gospel in northern California, planting churches and pastoring until the church could afford to hire a pastor, while making his living in the timber industry. I say all this to tell you that the name “Southern” in the Baptist is less of a problem than many people try to make it. I think that this subject is just one more way that Satan is using to get us away from the focus of winning souls to the Lord. By the way, my parents did finally get to retire to Arkansas, where he was active in many small churches around the Conway and Clinton areas.

Vicki Koone Coons