Monday, May 6, 2013

Statement From Southern Baptist Convention On Military Religious Liberty Issues Strikes Right Tone

Russell Moore, president-elect of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and Kevin Ezell, president of the North American Mission Board (NAMB) have issued a statement on variety of religious liberty issues as to the military that has been in the news so much.

The statement that is linked  is worth reading in full See   Moore, Ezell address military religious freedom . First it looks at four recent incidents and show the results of their investigation. Showing also they moved move pretty quickly to look into complaints. They also make a point of saying everyone needs to be careful about every conspiracy theory they hear.

They also state that they are concerned about lets say some " smoke " ( my word not theirs ) and continued dialogue with the military is needed.

They end their letter I think on a important note .From their statement:

.........We ask then, and expect, from our military leaders, and from their civilian
command, clarification of a commitment to safeguarding religious liberty, including the
right for all servicemen and women to share their faith, short of coercion or harassment.
This would entail a less subjective and more precise definition of such coercion and
harassment, beyond the ambiguous language of “proselytizing.”

Our military men and women have submitted themselves to the authority of the
United States armed services. They have not placed their souls or their consciences or
their constitutional rights in a blind trust. Moreover, we reaffirm what our country has
always recognized, that chaplains do not serve a merely civic function. They are there in
order to facilitate the First Amendment-guaranteed free exercise of religion for our
servicemen and women. That is only possible if these chaplains are free to be,
respectively, Baptists or Catholics or Jews or Muslims or Latter-day Saints, etc., rather
than merely ministers of some generic American civil religion.

We pledge to continue meeting with military leaders to ensure civil conversation
about religious liberty. We also pledge to continue meeting with elected and appointed
officials in the political arena, to ensure that constitutionally guaranteed religious
freedoms are maintained. We further pledge to work with persons of good will to ensure
that our First Freedom is maintained, in the military and in the civilian arenas, as we
render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s, but not that which belongs only to God.

1 comment:

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