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Georgia gun bill functions as state regulation on churches, interferes with affairs of faith communities

Posted by on Mar 15, 2014 in Religion & Politics

Back in late February, ran my column titled “Georgia Bill Would Allow Concealed Weapons in Churches.” That controversial bill – HB 875 – passed the Georgia House and headed to the Senate for a hearing earlier this week. I joined a group of about 25 Baptists from Georgia in endorsing a statement on this bill. I also drafted a statement of my own that was delivered to the Senate hearing on March 11. Read the text below of my letter and read the latest national news update on HB 875.

Pope Francis: A humble man with a theology of exclusion

Posted by on Feb 22, 2014 in Religion & Politics

For much of the past year, there has been a tremendous amount of online buzz about Jorge Mario Bergoglio — the man the world now knows as Pope Francis. Week in and week out, Pope Francis is a subject of conversation in virtually every outlet imaginable from cable news to local news, conservative talk radio to NPR, Facebook to Twitter, and the list goes on.

Religious liberty as a two-way street – A response to the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act

Posted by on Sep 23, 2013 in Religious Freedom

Religious liberty is a two-way street. This is a point that far too many conservative Christian leaders can't seem to grasp. Rep. Raul Labrador - a Republican who has represented the 1st Congressional District of Idaho since 2011 - recently introduced a bill called the "Marriage and Religious Freedom Act" to protect individuals and organizations "from discrimination by the federal government" when it comes to viewpoints about same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

Baptists and Immigration Reform

Posted by on May 3, 2013 in Baptists

Throughout the 1970s, an increasing number of Mexican nationals entered illegally into Texas in search of higher-paying jobs and a better life. This influx of immigrants posed significant challenges, especially to the state’s schools and hospitals. In Fort Worth, public school officials refused to enroll the children of these new immigrants and, in 1977, the Ku Klux Klan announced plans to patrol the Texas border, stoking fears of violence.

The problem of predatory lending — Baptists confront a neglected justice issue

Posted by on Feb 20, 2013 in Payday

When his wife Linda fell and broke her leg, Elliott panicked. With Linda unable to work, how would they make the next mortgage payment? To save their modest home, Elliott took out a $500 “payday” loan. But that small payday loan proved to be a bad decision, if he even had a real choice. One loan led to another and then another. Elliott was forced to take out additional loans, a loan to pay for the last loan. Two years later, he was trapped, paying the lender $450 every two weeks, never able to touch the principal for all the interest.

A New Year: Baptists and Climate Change

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013 in Baptists

When the House of Representatives voted on January 2 to pass the much ballyhooed fiscal cliff deal, President Barack Obama appeared on national television to offer a few stern words for his detractors. Toward the end of his statement, Obama called on Democrats and Republicans to work together and not allow the deficit and looming debt ceiling debates to be “so all-consuming all the time that it stops us from meeting a host of other challenges that we face.”