On Expression of Appreciation WHEREAS, many individuals and groups have had a part in planning, preparing and conducting the 163rd annual meeting of our Louisiana Baptist Convention; and WHEREAS, the messengers of this convention desire to warmly recognize and express appreciation to the following: Mark Jones, Facilities Director, Julie Bayone, Sales Manager, and the staff of the Riverfront Convention Center, Alexandria, for their assistance with details and for providing the use of the facilities for this annual meeting; and Rod Masteller, Convention President, for his warm, gracious spirit in leading, speaking and listening to Louisiana Baptists during the year, and his gentle firmness in moderating this annual meeting; and; Jeremy Christ, Music Director for this annual meeting, for planning and coordinating the music, and the musicians for their dedicated service at the instruments; and Mike Miller and members of the Order of Business Committee for planning this informative and inspirational annual meeting; and Crossover Alexandria/Pineville, and its volunteers for their provision of pre-evangelistic outreach and we pray for those who made decisions for Christ during the Crossover events. THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the messengers of this 163rd session of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, November 15-16, 2010, express to each of the above our deepest heartfelt gratitude. On Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation WHEREAS, in the 2010 session of the Louisiana Legislature, both the Louisiana House of Representatives and the Louisiana Senate, passed resolutions commending the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation as a role model for organizations that seek to aid citizens and members of the legislature in their common goal of helping to make Louisiana a better place in which to live; andWHEREAS, in resolutions adopted during previous legislative sessions, members of the legislature recognized LMCF as an organization without peer in assisting its members by providing morality-based and principled constructive analysis of public policy issues that have impacted the people of Louisiana; andWHEREAS, the 2010 Legislature in their actions noted the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation’s Executive Director, Dr. Ken Ward, for his more than three decades of service to LMCF, and recognized Ward as one of Louisiana’s foremost and respected ethicists and master of legislative advocacy; andWHEREAS, funding the work of the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation, is dependent on financial support of churches who designate monies for LMCF in their annual budgets; andWHEREAS, passage of a resolution of support, is not only an affirmation of LMCF, but serves as a source of encouragement for the persons who make up this ministry of morality, and as a platform upon which to raise necessary funding to support the persons and programs of the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation.THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the messengers of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, meeting in the 163rd session, November 15-16, 2010, in Alexandria, Louisiana, express our continuing confidence in and appreciation for the Louisiana Moral and Civic Foundation; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the messengers encourage Louisiana Baptist churches to support LMCF in their annual church budgets and call upon those pastors and congregations who can, to become Underwriting Churches by placing LMCF in their budget for the year 2011, at an amount equal to at least $1,000; andBE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that churches of the Louisiana Baptist Convention, their members and pastors continue to work closely with LMCF in seeking to provide, protect and promote a positive moral climate for our state.On Standing with Christian Brothers and Sisters in Persecuted ContextsWHEREAS, apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ there is no salvation (Acts 4:12); andWHEREAS, Jesus Christ has commissioned His followers to take the gospel to all nations, making disciples (Matthew 28:18-20); andWHEREAS, the principle of religious liberty is rooted in Scripture, demonstrated in the gospel, and foundational to the nature of the human spirit as created by God; andWHEREAS, obedience to Christ’s Great Commission necessitates preaching the gospel even in places where people are hostile to its central message of salvation based on faith in Jesus Christ alone; andWHEREAS, obedience to Christ’s Great Commission necessitates preaching the gospel even in places where human governments do not recognize religious liberty and therefore condone, officially and unofficially, religious persecution; andWHEREAS, in many of those same places Christian believers are persecuted through means of family, societal, and political pressures and ostracization; andWHEREAS, in many of those same places Christian believers are imprisoned or martyred for believing in or publicly declaring the saving gospel of Jesus Christ; andWHEREAS, Christian missionaries and national believers who endure persecution on account of their belief in and proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ are our brothers and sisters in Christ and co-members with us of His body (Ephesians 2:19-20, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13); andWHEREAS, when one member of Christ’s body suffers, the others suffer with it (1 Corinthians 12:26); now,THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Louisiana Baptist Convention meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, November 15-16, 2010, do stand with our Christian brothers and sisters in persecuted contexts, wherever they may be in the world; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we express our opposition to religious persecution in all its forms and encourage the President of the United States, the United States Department of State, and both houses of the United States Congress to elevate religious liberty concerns to the highest possible priority in foreign policy; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we respectfully encourage the United States media to more consistently bring these issues to the attention of the American public; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commend those missionaries who continue to obey Christ’s commission by taking the gospel into persecuted contexts in spite of the obvious and inherent risks; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commend national believers in persecuted contexts who daily risk their livelihoods and lives by believing and proclaiming the Christian gospel; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we pray that government officials will take the necessary steps to eliminate such practices, official or unofficial, in those countries where religious persecution exists; andBE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we pledge our fervent prayer support for the protection of persecuted Christians worldwide, and that they may persevere so that their faith, though tested, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:7). On the Centrality of the Gospel WHEREAS, we are, every one of us, sinners against God and, apart from the gospel ofJesus Christ, deserving of only condemnation (Romans 3:23; 6:23); and WHEREAS, the gospel is the good news of salvation that reveals who Jesus is, what He has done, and why it matters (Mark 16:15; Romans 1:16; 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4); andWHEREAS, repentance and faith in the finished work of Christ brings believers into right standing with God through the blood and righteousness of Jesus (Mark 1:15; Romans 4:5); and WHEREAS, the power of the gospel transforms believers (Romans 1:16) so that we are able to put sin to death and to pursue holiness (Romans 6:8-22); and WHEREAS, the hope of the gospel assures us of life beyond death through the promise of resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14); and WHEREAS, the value of the gospel shows us the relative poverty of the love of money and the pursuit of worldly success (Acts 8:20-22); and WHEREAS, the stewardship of the gospel has been entrusted to us by our Lord Jesus Christ in His Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20; 1 Corinthians 9:16-17); and WHEREAS, the grace of God in the gospel grants salvation to anyone and everyone who believes, regardless of who the person is or what the person has done (Ephesians 2:8-9); and WHEREAS, apart from the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is no salvation (Acts 4:12); andWHEREAS, recent national conversation has prompted Louisiana Baptists to think in terms of the vast scope of lostness in our communities, across our nation, and around the world; andWHEREAS, any claim to personal self-righteousness or racial supremacy stands in contradiction to the gospel of free grace in Christ alone (Galatians 2:21; 3:27-28); now,THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Louisiana Baptist Convention meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, November 15-16, 2010, call on Louisiana Baptists to reaffirm our commitment to the supremacy and centrality of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our churches; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage pastors to keep the gospel foremost in every sermon they preach, so that the whole of Scripture and every aspect of life can be seen in the context of how every promise of God finds its “Yes” (2 Corinthians 1:20) in the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage churches in preaching, teaching, and discipleship to proclaim the gospel to unbelievers, showing them how to find peace with God, and to proclaim the gospel to believers, that through the renewing of our minds we might continually be transformed by the gospel; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge churches to display the gospel by transcending ethnic, racial, economic, and social barriers due to our unity in Christ; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage our churches to celebrate the gospel through the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, teaching our congregations the joy of the gospel therein; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we recommit ourselves to the glory of the gospel by greater faithfulness to the Great Commission both in personal witness and in calling out more gospel workers to the unreached peoples of the world, increasing our financial support for cooperative ministries that reach generations with the gospel truths; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge churches and individual believers to study, identify, and act upon the lostness of their communities, the nation, and the world; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage each church to support its pastor as he leads personally in ongoing mission involvement at every level of Acts 1:8 engagement including local, state, national and global missions; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commit to speak to the outside world as those who are forgiven sinners, who have received mercy as a free gift, and not as those who are morally or ethically superior to anyone (1 Corinthians 1:27-31; 4:2-7); and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we seek to live as those who have been rescued by the gospel, evidenced by forgiving our enemies, setting aside personal offenses, crucifying selfish pride, breaking down carnal divisions, and loving one another joyously, counting others as more important than ourselves; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we pray that God would pour out His Spirit to make us truly gospel-centered, gospel-saturated people whose lives and words point the world to our Lord Jesus Christ. Resolution on Faith United Against Tobacco in Louisiana WHEREAS, Scripture reveals that a major tenet of every faith is spiritual well-being and the promotion of good physical and mental health, (1 Corinthians 6: 19-20), and tobacco use undermines both; andWHEREAS, every year, more than 7,000 Louisiana citizens die horrible but preventable deaths caused by tobacco addiction, due to both smoking and secondhand smoke exposure and thousands more suffer from tobacco-caused disability and disease; andWHEREAS, 49,400 (18.8%) high-school aged youth in Louisiana are current smokers; and another 5,800 Louisiana children become addicted smokers every year; in addition nearly 15.9% of high school students use spit or smokeless tobacco; andWHEREAS, exposure to secondhand smoke in workplaces and homes kills and harms thousands of Louisiana citizens every year; andWHEREAS, Louisiana’s health care expenditures caused by tobacco use total over $1.47 billion each year, including more than $663 million in annual tobacco-caused expenditures by the State Medicaid program; andWHEREAS, only $8.5 million dollars or (2.8%) of the $308 million Louisiana receives annually from the tobacco settlement and tobacco taxes is used for tobacco prevention and treatment; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends an annual investment of $53.5 million dollars (or 5.76% of current revenues) for tobacco reduction and prevention; andWHEREAS, Louisianans who are poor, disadvantaged, under-educated, under-insured and ethnic minorities are disproportionately targeted by the tobacco industry, and suffer disproportionately from the health risks of tobacco, requiring that the tobacco dependence issue be addressed not only as a rightful public health priority but also as an important social justice priority; now,THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers of the Louisiana Baptist Convention meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, November 15-16, 2010, encourages comprehensive and effective public policy measures recommended by the Louisiana Baptist Moral and Social Committee, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other experts to prevent and reduce smoking and other tobacco use in our state particularly among children and pregnant women, andBE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we encourage public policy that includes: increasing Louisiana’s cigarette tax by at least $1.00 and tax other tobacco products to parity with cigarettes to reduce teen tobacco use, and help fund Louisiana’s tobacco prevention and control programs and health care needs; prohibiting smoking in all workplaces; and full funding of Louisiana’s tobacco prevention and cessation programs.On a Response to the Deepwater Horizon Oil Platform Accident WHEREAS, on April 20, 2010, the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil platform resulted in the deaths of eleven workers and touched off an underwater gusher of oil that spewed millions of gallons of crude petroleum into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico; and WHEREAS, we acknowledge that similar incidents have occurred in the past and may well occur in the future; and WHEREAS, this incident reminds us of other offshore workers who have died or been injured in the course of doing their jobs; and WHEREAS, this accident has affected the state of Louisiana both economically and environmentally; and WHEREAS, due to the symbiotic relationship between the Gulf of Mexico and the State of Louisiana, this accident has affected the way of life for many communities, businesses, and families, with vast economic, social, cultural, familial, and spiritual consequences; and WHEREAS, the Bible tells us, “the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof” (Psalm 24:1, KJV), and that God’s wisdom and glory is seen in the teeming of life in the seas (Psalm 104:25); and WHEREAS, God has designed us with a dependence on the natural resources around us and has assigned us a dominion of stewardship and protection of those resources for future generations (Genesis 2:7-15); and WHEREAS, our God-given dominion over the creation is not unlimited, as though we were gods, so therefore, all persons, industries, and entities are to be good stewards of the earth; and WHEREAS, the Bible teaches both love of neighbor for those who are suffering (Mark 12:31; Luke 10:25-37; Romans 13:8-10; Galatians 5:14) and accountability for those whose actions harm the vulnerable (Exodus 21:33-22:15; Luke 19:8; Romans 13:1-7); now, THEREFORE LET IT BE RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Louisiana Baptist Convention meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, November 15-16, 2010, lament not only the deaths of the eleven workers on the Deepwater Horizon oil platform, but all who have died or suffered injury while working offshore and pray for their families; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on Louisiana Baptist churches and other Christians to pray for the individuals, families, lives, cultures, and livelihoods of those in our state and elsewhere who have been impacted by this accident; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on the governing authorities to act determinatively and with undeterred resolve to fortify our coastal defenses; to ensure full accountability for damages, clean-up, and restoration; to ensure that government and private industry work together to develop a response plan should a similar catastrophe occur in the future; and to promote future energy policies based on prudence, good stewardship, accountability, and safety; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage persons, communities, industries, and governments to work together to find ways to lessen the potentiality of such catastrophes and of such devastating pollution in order that we may protect what God loves and safeguard the lives, livelihoods, health, and well-being of our neighbors and of future generations; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we extend our gratitude to Louisiana citizens who are employed in the offshore oil industry and acknowledge the important contribution they make to our state; andBE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on Louisiana Baptists to assist our sister churches with the relief process with the same generosity of spirit that Louisiana Baptists have exhibited after other disasters; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we acknowledge that this incident should remind us to testify to the love of God in His creation and to the hope, through the blood of Christ, of a fully restored creation in which the reign of God is seen, “on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).On Family Worship WHEREAS, the Bible teaches the spiritual discipline of family worship for the glory of God, the strengthening of the church, and the spiritual nourishment of the family (Deuteronomy 6:1-18; Psalm 78:1-8; Ephesians 4-6); andWHEREAS, Scripture pictures the Christian home as a place in which parents are instructed to teach and disciple their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:1-18; Ephesians 6:1-4); andWHEREAS, family worship has been a cherished Biblical principle reflected in church covenants that have called believers “to maintain family and secret devotions” and “to religiously educate” their children; andWHEREAS, family worship is integral to laying a foundation for multi-generational faithfulness to the gospel (Psalm 145:4) and a necessary complement for the strengthening of the local church to fulfill its commission (Matthew 28:18-20); and WHEREAS, family worship serves as an important preparation for the corporate worship of the local church on the Lord’s Day (Ephesians 4:11-16; Hebrews 10:25); andWHEREAS, in recent generations, the act of family worship has been neglected, evidenced by the breakdown of the family in our time; and WHEREAS, the embracing of the spiritual discipline of family worship in the Christian home has the capacity to nurture stronger families, a stronger church, and a stronger nation; now,THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Louisiana Baptist Convention meeting in Alexandria, November 15-16, 2010, encourage churches and families to rekindle the spiritual discipline of family worship; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we define family worship as the regular meeting together of a family for a time of prayer and Bible reading, which may include other activities such as Scripture memorization, singing spiritual songs and hymns, and discussing biblical truth and Christian mission; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage families to cultivate not only structured times of worship together, but also ongoing intentional and informal conversations about the things of the Lord; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that as we call families and churches to embrace family worship, we urge fathers particularly to fulfill their divinely mandated responsibility to lead their families toward spiritual maturity (Ephesians 5:22-6:4; Colossians 3:19-21); and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage all parents to consider times of family worship to be an opportunity to introduce their children to the gospel, to train their children to seek the salvation of their friends and neighbors, and to pray for the nations; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage churches and families to make use of the many resources produced to aid in family worship; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we urge the churches of the Louisiana Baptist Convention and their pastors to promote family worship and encourage the families of their congregations to place the highest priority on embracing this foundational spiritual discipline for the well-being of families, the spread of the gospel, the making of disciples, and the glory of God. On a Response to Divorce WHEREAS, the Bible teaches that marriage was established by God “in the beginning” to be a permanent one-flesh union (Genesis 2:18-25; Matthew 19:1-9); andWHEREAS, our Lord Jesus commands us that what “God has joined together, let not man separate” (Mark 10:9); andWHEREAS, the biblical story shows us that one of the lamentable aspects of sin is the destruction of marriages and families, a destruction seen from the Fall until this present darkness; andWHEREAS, the rampant divorce rate in our culture has come with great social and economic cost, with women and children suffering disproportionately in ways that are incalculable; andWHEREAS, we have affirmed in our confession of faith our belief in the sanctity and permanence of marriage; andWHEREAS, even the most expansive view of the biblical exceptions allowing for divorce and remarriage would rule out many of the divorces in our churches; andWHEREAS, we do not serve those who are hurting from divorce by speaking to them only in therapeutic terms rather than in terms of both repentance and forgiveness; now,THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Louisiana Baptist Convention meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, November 15-16, 2010 express our conviction that a convention of churches defined theologically by our belief in the authority and inerrancy of Holy Scripture ought to proclaim the whole counsel of God; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we express our further conviction that a convention of cooperating churches defined missiologically ought to recognize how damaging accommodation to divorce can be to our local, state, national and global witness for Christ; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on our churches to proclaim the Word of God on the permanence of marriage, and to provide ongoing marriage enrichment opportunities, in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ and God’s abhorrence of divorce; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on our ministers to unite in marriage only those who are biblically qualified to be married to one another and who demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of lifelong love and fidelity; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on our ministers and churches that perform wedding services to maintain the gravity of the vows being undertaken, not simply as a token of a couple’s romance but as a covenant before God, until death do them part; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on our churches to minister to couples and families in crisis through counseling, mentorship, and, where necessary, through biblical church discipline; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on our churches to proclaim God’s mercy and grace to all people—including those who have been divorced without biblical grounds—due to the truth that the blood of Jesus can atone for any sin and can cleanse any conscience; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on our churches to have special compassion for and energetic ministry to those who have been left in the wake of family brokenness; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge Louisiana Baptists in troubled or faltering marriages to seek godly assistance and, where possible, reconciliation; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we pray that the true peace of our Lord Jesus Christ will reign in us such that the next generation will see the gospel not only in the counter-cultural nature of our verbal witness but also in the counter-cultural love and fidelity of our marriages.On Homosexuality and the United States MilitaryWHEREAS, President Obama has promised repeatedly to repeal current law (10USC654) and to change policies that prevent normalizing the open presence of homosexuals in the armed forces; andWHEREAS, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff has told Congress that he favors normalizing the open presence of homosexuals in the military because he thinks it is morally “the right thing to do”; andWHEREAS, the secretary of defense has told Congress that he will carry out orders to implement normalizing the open presence of homosexuals in the armed forces and has appointed a high level working group to prepare plans for doing so should Congress repeal current law; andWHEREAS, the House of Representatives voted recently to normalize the open practice of homosexuality in the military by authorizing the repeal of current law, and the Senate Armed Services Committee has also passed the repeal language; andWHEREAS, the Defense Department working group tasked with preparing a plan to normalize the open presence of homosexuals in the military must accept input from various sources including advice offered by religious groups such as the Southern Baptist Convention; andWHEREAS, homosexual behavior cannot be normalized without rejecting God’s moral standards (Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-10) and is contrary to moral standards held by nearly every civilized order in human history, including most societies in the world today; andWHEREAS, the Bible describes homosexual behavior as both a contributing cause (Genesis 18:20-21; Leviticus 18:24-28; Jude 7) and a consequence of God’s judgment on nations and individuals (Romans 1:18-32); andWHEREAS, findings in the law passed in 1993 remain true and relevant today including: (1) that “There is no constitutional right” for anyone “to serve in the armed forces,” (2) that “The prohibition against homosexual conduct is a longstanding element of military law that continues to be necessary in the unique circumstances of military service,” and (3) that “The presence in the armed forces of persons who demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability”; andWHEREAS, Defense Department policy remains true and relevant today that states, “the presence in the military environment of persons who engage in homosexual conduct or who, by their statements, demonstrate a propensity to engage in homosexual conduct, seriously impairs the accomplishment of the military mission”; andWHEREAS, attempting to normalize the open presence of homosexuals in the armed forces while fighting two wars demonstrates willingness to jeopardize national security in favor of the radical agenda advanced by the homosexual lobby, and substitutes a therapeutic ethic (one measuring everything by self-satisfaction) for the sacrificial ethic (one placing duty over personal survival) essential for sustaining national security and social survival; andWHEREAS, normalizing the open presence of homosexuals in the armed forces will result in pressuring Southern Baptist and other biblically faithful military chaplains to restrict or redefine the gospel message, first by censoring their teaching of the biblical definition of sin, and second by trying to change their beliefs about what is sinful and immoral by requiring them to attend “sensitivity sessions” meant to indoctrinate personnel who resist normalizing openly present homosexuals in all aspects of military life; andWHEREAS, no government should implement standards or policies regulating the lives of military personnel based on nothing other than indulging sexual desires, however strong; andWHEREAS, the United States historically has honored the religious moral freedom of Americans serving in the armed forces, religious moral freedom no government should deny; andWHEREAS, it has been reported that the seasoned judgment of prominent military leaders is that normalizing the open presence of homosexuals in the military is incompatible with generating, strengthening, and maintaining good discipline, unit cohesion, and combat readiness; andWHEREAS, those who would equate the normalizing of homosexuality with the right and just action of President Truman and others to undo racial segregation within the armed services in the mid-twentieth century wrongly confuse the indulgence of immoral behavior with God-given civil rights; andWHEREAS, concerns exist that military recruiting will be hindered because: (1) those segments of the American population most represented in the armed services are also those segments most likely to have moral convictions against homosexual behavior, (2) a great many of those who have served in the military since 1993 say they would not have served if required to live on intimate terms with open homosexuals, (3) should current law be repealed, a large percentage of currently serving military personnel say they will not reenlist or will end their careers early, and (4) should current law be repealed, many parents will not entrust their sons and daughters to superiors who require them to live on intimate terms with open homosexuals; now, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Louisiana Baptist Convention meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, November 15-16, 2010, affirm the Bible’s declaration that homosexual behavior is intrinsically disordered and sinful, and we also affirm the Bible’s promise of forgiveness, change, and eternal life to all sinners (including those engaged in homosexual sin) who repent of sin and trust in the saving power of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11); and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we oppose changing current law to normalize the open presence of homosexuals in the armed forces, and insist on keeping the finding of Congress that sustains current law, which states that even “the presence in the armed forces” of persons demonstrating “a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” creates “an unacceptable risk to . . . the essence of military capability”; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that while we oppose normalizing the open presence of homosexuals in the military, we also deplore all acts of violence by anyone for any reason relating to this issue, whether it be violence against homosexuals, or violence by homosexuals; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we express profound pride in and support for all now serving in the United States armed forces, and especially for Louisiana Baptists and other biblically faithful chaplains serving as ministers of God in the armed forces; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we commend Louisiana Baptist efforts to engage in loving, redemptive ministry to homosexuals and encourage Louisiana Baptists to consider how they might assist those struggling against same-sex attractions to find spiritual, sexual, and emotional wholeness in Christ; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we express appreciation to our servicemen and servicewomen in all branches of the military, who are serving faithfully and honorably both at home and abroad; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we encourage Louisiana Baptists to pray for the safety, well-being, morale, and readiness of our military personnel and to offer prayer, support, and appreciation for the husbands, wives, children, parents, and siblings of our fine service members serving in every capacity of our nation’s military.On the Employment Non-Discrimination ActWHEREAS, Southern Baptists historically have supported religious freedom and its related political ideal of a “free church in a free state,” and affirm that the First Amendment statement on religion applies to the workplace in the sense that employers and employees should be free from governmental interference or coercion as they freely express matters of religious conviction; andWHEREAS, Scripture speaks of the God-given rights of conscience and the freedom of dissent based on moral and religious principles (Daniel 1:3-17; Acts 4:5-20; 5:17-32); andWHEREAS, Christians face a series of challenges to religious liberty—such as “hate crimes” laws around the world that would criminalize the preaching of the gospel, laws requiring Christian orphan ministries to facilitate adoptions to homosexual couples, the erosion of conscience clauses enabling health care workers to refuse to participate in abortion-related activities, and so forth; andWHEREAS, the right of religious organizations to hire people whose beliefs and conduct are consistent with the principles such organizations espouse is inherent within the constitutional guarantee of religious liberty and was also affirmed in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; andWHEREAS, Congress subsequently strengthened those statutory protections, declaring that any “religious corporation, association, educational institution, or society” could consider the applicants’ religious faith during the hiring process; andWHEREAS, the Supreme Court upheld hiring protections for faith-based organizations in 1987, and Congress has included those protections in numerous federal laws; andWHEREAS, legislation titled the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that has been introduced in the House of Representatives (HR 3017, with 202 co-sponsors) as well as in the Senate (S 1584, with 45 co-sponsors) would radically alter the idea of protected classes in American law, granting such things as sexual orientation the same employment protections as gender and race, placing these immoral and aberrant behaviors on the same level as the immutable traits of gender and ancestry; andWHEREAS, ENDA would make it illegal for businesses and organizations with fifteen or more employees to fire or to refuse to hire or promote an employee because of his or her actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity; andWHEREAS, although recent formulations of ENDA contain a religious exemption that states that churches do not have to hire “homosexual ministers,” they do not contain an exemption for rights of conscience or religious freedom to protect businesses with a religious character (such as religious bookstores, publishers, and parachurch ministries) and other businesses with religious owners or managers; andWHEREAS, such legislation jeopardizes our First Amendment freedoms by establishing in law the principle that disapproval of homosexual conduct is a form of bigotry, equivalent to racism; andWHEREAS, homosexual persons are not our enemies but our neighbors whom we love and we wish to see them find the same forgiveness and freedom we have found in Christ; now,THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the messengers to the Louisiana Baptist Convention meeting in Alexandria, Louisiana, November 15-16, 2010, express our profound opposition to ENDA and any similar legislation; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we respectfully request that Louisiana’s congressional delegation become advocates for religious liberty by publicly demonstrating their opposition to ENDA; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call upon the president of the United States toappoint, and Congress to confirm, only nominees to federal judicial positions who will protect foundational religious freedoms; and BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we plead with churches to love all persons, with mercy and grace, regardless of the nature of each person’s sin, and to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, with compassion and conviction, regardless of the laws of the state (Acts 4:18-20).