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On Protecting Free Speech In Campaign Finance Legislation

WHEREAS, The First Amendment to the United States Constitution declares that, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances”; and

WHEREAS, Freedom of speech is a cherished liberty which our Baptist forebears defended at great personal sacrifice; and

WHEREAS, Freedom of speech includes protection of political speech for the purpose of discussion of governmental affairs; and
WHEREAS, Some proposed versions of campaign finance legislation threaten freedom of political speech by restricting individuals and organizations from exercising their divinely granted and constitutionally protected right to express their consciences in the public square; and

WHEREAS, The Supreme Court held in Buckley v. Valeo (1976), that while requirements for mandatory record keeping, disclosure, and ceilings on direct contributions to candidates are constitutional, limitations on other political expenditures by private citizens, organizations, and candidates are unconstitutional restrictions on the ability of those parties to engage in protected political expression; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 12-13, 2001, object vigorously to any attempts to abridge the free speech rights of any American citizen or group; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we reaffirm adamantly our commitment to and defense of freedom of political speech; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we reject any campaign finance legislation that hinders or abridges free speech.