Thursday
Jun282012

The real issue

The writer of “Presidential position” (ABN, June 14, 2012) is correct in stating that the Constitution of the United States is to be applied equally to all citizens, but is wrong in his application of that meaning. The protections provided under our Constitution apply to persons, not behaviors, and there is a difference between the two. A “person” is either male or female. Their “race” is a physical feature that further defines their personhood; they are still either male or female. “Behavior” refers to one’s actions, not to one’s personhood. Behaviors are driven by our desires, and homosexuality is a behavior driven by a same-sex desire; desires can be controlled and behaviors can change, but race cannot.

All of our laws, including our Constitution, do discriminate, but they discriminate against behaviors, not persons. For example, the First Amendment’s freedom of religion protection discriminates against those who, through their behavior, would try to force their form of worship on to others. It discriminates against their behavior, not them as persons. Laws must discriminate against certain behaviors for the betterment of society.

The issue of same-sex marriage is not an issue of equal rights. Homosexuals already have equal rights under the Constitution. There is nothing stopping same-sex couples from having a private marriage ceremony where they can pledge lifelong fidelity to one another; it just won’t be government sanctioned/endorsed, and that’s the real issue in this debate.

Why is government endorsement so important? This is the only way for those dealing with same-sex attraction to quell their conscience. If they can get society’s acceptance and approval of their behavior, then they will feel validated and their consciences cleared. The only venue available for making this happen is the institution of marriage. By redefining marriage, their immoral behavior now becomes natural and acceptable.

Joe Manning
Jacksonville

Thursday
Jun142012

Great Commission Baptists?

This new name would only describe us as what we should hope to attain to. Why not call ourselves “Good, and Faithful Servant Baptists” or “Humble Baptists?” Or even “Sinners Saved By Grace Baptists” (the SSBGB convention)? But “Great Commission Baptists?” Only God can know if we’re fulfilling the Great Commission. At least “Southern Baptist” accurately described something about us – our origin. Claiming anything as grandiose as Great Commission Baptists may be presumptuous, if not arrogant. Yes, we have worked fairly hard at sending Baptists to the uttermost parts of the earth, but how good of a job have we really done at “teaching them to observe everything” Christ taught His disciples, which is the often unmentioned, second portion of the Great Commission Christ issued in Mathew 28:19-20.

I’ve spent the vast part of my 54 years in various Southern Baptist churches, and I’ve seen very few individuals who evidence having been taught even most things that Christ taught – much less everything. I’ve personally heard thousands of messages pleading for the handful of unbelievers in the congregation to “come to Christ,” with very few messages aimed at teaching the vast majority of congregational believers the deep meat of the Word. This may very well be why we have so many weak churches, full of weak believers, still feeding off milk and unable to consume the “pure meat of the Word,” with the same levels of divorce and all other forms of immorality as the world. If we’re so petrified of identifying ourselves with anything “Southern,” let’s at least identify ourselves with something we can claim to be true, like just “Baptists,” plain and simple, as we all still experience full water immersion (I think?).

Jim Curlin
Ozark

Thursday
Jun142012

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

Thursday
May312012

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
Magnolia

 

Thursday
May032012

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