Baptists Support Marriage, Oppose Gambling
Special Report - November 10, 2011
Members of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSCNC) overwhelmingly approved two resolutions this week related to key public policy issues facing the stateone that pledges the convention’s support for the Marriage Protection Amendment, and another that opposes the expansion of gambling in North Carolina. Both resolutions passed on November 8 with overwhelming support from messengers (or delegates) attending the convention’s annual meeting in Greensboro. The BSCNC represents over 4,000 member Baptist churches across North Carolina.
The resolution on the Marriage Protection Amendment was introduced at the meeting by Jim Jacumin, president of the BSCNC Board of Directors. It expresses the BSCNC’s official endorsement of the proposed State Constitutional amendment, which would define marriage in North Carolina as only between one man and one woman, and will be on the ballot before voters at the May 8, 2012 primary election. The resolution also encourages “the churches of the Baptist State Convention to vigorously organize a strong effort among their members to support passage of the Marriage Amendment in the first primary election of 2012.” In addition to encouraging its member churches to engage in “loving, redemptive ministry to homosexuals,” it also states that the “North Carolina Baptists commit ourselves to preach and teach the truth concerning what the Bible says about the creation of and divine nature of the institution of marriage, and against any government action to accept, sanction, approve, protect or promote same-sex marriage or legal recognition of same-sex relationships.”
In related news, North Carolina Baptists also elected a new president who has publicly expressed his support for the proposed Marriage Protection Amendment. Pastor Mark Harris, who is senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Charlotte, will serve a one-year term as the BSCNC’s president. He recently told The Charlotte Observer in an interview that he plans to work with the leaders of Baptist churches across the state to help build support for the amendment. “We are committed to building strong families, and, as a body of believers in this state, we are willing to stand up and be counted,” Harris told the newspaper. “We want to take a stand on marriage and ... be salt and light for this state.”
In addition to the resolution on the marriage amendment, the BSCNC also approved a “Resolution Against the Expansion of Class III or Las Vegas Style Gambling in North Carolina,” a copy of which was sent to every member of the North Carolina legislature, and to the Tribal Council of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The resolution begins by noting that, “the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are currently in the process of a $650 million expansion project at Harrah’s Casino and are currently lobbying Governor Beverly Perdue and members of the North Carolina General Assembly for the expansion of gambling to include Class III or Las Vegas style games with live dealers.” It goes on to make a Biblical and social case against legalized gambling, stating that “individuals and families touched by problem gambling are at greater risk for such negative outcomes as divorce, bankruptcy, child abuse, domestic violence, crime and suicide, and these societal problems increase as gambling expands.” It goes on to express the 2011 BSCNC annual convention’s opposition to any form of gambling, and specifically to the “expansion of Class III, Las Vegas style gambling at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino.”
To read more about the Cherokee’s plans to expand their gambling operations in Western North Carolina, read our recent feature article in Family North Carolina magazine, “Bringing Las Vegas to North Carolina: Why Expanded Cherokee Gambling is Bad Public Policy.”
“We applaud the North Carolina Baptist State Convention for addressing these two important public policy issues,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “The phrase ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution. We hope pastors and congregations across the state will get involved by voting for a marriage protection amendment on May 8, and by calling Governor Perdue’s office now, and asking her to say ‘no’ to gambling expansion by the Cherokee.”
Polls Find NC Supports Marriage - February 16, 2011
Governor Opposes Marriage Amendment - February 16, 2011
Marriage Amendment Goes to Voters - September 14, 2011
Cherokee Want Own ABC System - February 16, 2011
Cherokee Casino Wants Expanded Alcohol Sales - November 24, 2009
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