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On Biblical Sexuality And The Freedom Of Conscience

WHEREAS, In the beginning God created male and female in His image as the crowning act of Creation (Genesis 1:26–27); and

WHEREAS, Marriage is between one man and one woman, ordered by God toward the union of the spouses, the means of procreation, formative of family, and foundational to the common good of society (Genesis 1:28, 2:18–24); and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message asserts, “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it”; and

WHEREAS, The Baptist Faith and Message also affirms, “A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power”; and

WHEREAS, Any law that directly contradicts natural law and biblical truth is an unjust law; and

WHEREAS, Our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not affirm an unjust law that directly contradicts higher law; and

WHEREAS, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution and every state Constitution recognize the importance of and the need to protect the free exercise of religion; and

WHEREAS, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act adopted in 1993 with near unanimous support by the United States Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton restored the careful balancing test for weighing claims of religious liberty infringement against a compelling government interest, using the least restrictive means; and

WHEREAS, Many states have passed similar legislation expressly protecting the free exercise of religion; and

WHEREAS, The Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision in 2015 purporting to redefine marriage does violence to the Constitution and is contrary to the Bible and natural order; and

WHEREAS, The Obama Administration’s recent “guidance” requiring transgender access in public school bathrooms and locker rooms based on its unauthorized redefinition of “sex” in federal law rejects God’s design of male and female; and

WHEREAS, Business owners and employees of various faiths are increasingly faced with decisions to submit to unjust laws about marriage and sexuality or violate their consciences; and

WHEREAS, Experience and recent history have shown that when the government redefines marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman, the police power of the state is brought to bear to enforce that redefinition, resulting in an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, June 14–15, 2016, express our commitment to biblical sexuality and continue to stand united in defense of God’s design for marriage; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we dissent from the Obergefell opinion that purports to redefine the institution of marriage created by God; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pledge to strengthen biblical marriages in our homes, churches, and communities; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we applaud and support the efforts of eleven state attorneys general in their challenge to the Obama Administration’s transgender “guidance”; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we reiterate our love for our neighbors who identify as transgender, seek their good always, welcome them to our churches, and, as they repent and believe in Christ, receive them into church membership (2 Corinthians 5:18–20; Galatians 5:14); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we applaud and encourage our brothers and sisters who struggle with gender identity or same sex attraction, but who have chosen holiness and God’s design instead (Romans 3:23; 1 Corinthians 6:11); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our continued support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and similar laws and call on government officials to reject requests that would tamper with or weaken these laws; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on Congress to pass the First Amendment Defense Act in order to ensure that the federal government does not discriminate against people of faith because of their convictions regarding marriage; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon our elected officials to pass laws at every level of government that protect the free exercise of religion; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we stand in solidarity with those whose jobs, professions, businesses, ministries, schools, and personal freedoms are threatened because their consciences will not allow them to recognize, promote, or participate in activities associated with unbiblical marriage; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray for revival and a return to a recognition of the sanctity of marriage as between one man and one woman, God’s design for gender, freedom of conscience, and unhindered religious freedom.