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RESOLUTION NO. 1
ON APPRECIATION

WHEREAS, the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention have enjoyed a time of encouragement, cooperation and fellowship; and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge the Lord’s providence for all those blessings; and

WHEREAS, we have felt the presence of God in all the proceedings of this Convention; and

WHEREAS, we acknowledge the work of our local Baptist churches, the Mobile Baptist Association, the committees and volunteers of the area for their diligent efforts, services and accommodations to make our stay a pleasant and rewarding one; and

WHEREAS, we especially thank the Cottage Hill Baptist Church for the use of their facilities, services of every kind and their support and hospitality; and

WHEREAS, we especially acknowledge the work and leadership of our president, Roger Willmore, the other officers, various committees, Convention speakers, musicians, and other platform personnel to conduct the affairs of this Convention with dignity and a Christ like spirit.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Mobile, Alabama, November 13-14, 2007, express our profound gratitude to the Lord and to those whom He used to bring about a Convention characterized by God’s leadership.

RESOLUTION NO. 2
ON THE 300th ANNIVERSARY OF BAPTIST ASSOCIATIONS IN AMERICA

WHEREAS, Baptist associations were informally begun in England as early as 1624; and

WHEREAS, the first Baptist association in America was founded in 1707 as the Philadelphia Association; and

WHEREAS, the first association to include Alabama Baptist churches was founded in 1814 as the Flint River Association of northern Alabama and adjoining southern Tennessee; and

WHEREAS, an association in Washington and Clarke counties called the Beckbe Baptist Association (now Bethlehem) was organized in 1816 as the first association on Alabama soil with only Alabama Baptist churches; and

WHEREAS, there is a biblical basis for the association of churches coming together to address problems and meet needs such as in Acts 11:1-18 with Peter’s effort to take the gospel to Gentiles, and Acts 11:27-30 when the Antioch church sent famine aid to their brothers in Judaea, and with the Jerusalem council presented in Acts 15 to resolve conflict between Jewish and Greek Christians; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptist associations are self-governing fellowships of Baptist churches sharing a common faith which engages in mutual support/fellowship and mission/ministry activities; and

WHEREAS, the association has among its purposes to train, develop and encourage church and associational workers and provide opportunities for working together in missions, ministry growth and evangelism; and

WHEREAS, the association is responsible for nurturing fellowship among churches, church leaders, and church members of like faith and practice; and

WHEREAS, the directors of missions and other associational ministers are extremely important in the Lord’s work in the associations and churches; and

WHEREAS, the director of missions and other associational ministers are an intricate part of the entire ministry of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention; and

WHEREAS, the director of missions and other associational ministers are key promoters of missions and the Cooperative Program; and

WHEREAS, “The Baptist Association…Then and Now” is the theme for the 2007 Associational Week emphasis and since 2007 marks the 300 years of service by associations to churches of all sizes and in all locations.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Mobile, Alabama, November 13-14, 2007, affirm our support of the 75 Baptist associations in our state; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we participate in the celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the association; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we express our deep appreciation for the work of the associations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we promise the associations our cooperation and prayers; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we rejoice over the cooperation of our associations with the Alabama Baptist State Convention.

RESOLUTION NO. 3
ON THE COOPERATIVE PROGRAM

WHEREAS, the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in San Antonio, Texas June 12-13, 2007, voted to adopt the definition of the Cooperative Program as “Southern Baptists’ unified plan of giving through which cooperating Southern Baptist churches give a percentage of their undesignated receipts in support of their respective state convention and the Southern Baptist Convention missions and ministries”; and

WHEREAS, the Cooperative Program is a voluntary, cooperative way of supporting missions where each church out of gratitude and obedience to God prayerfully decides what percentage or amount of its undesignated gifts will be committed to Cooperative Program missions; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists are projected to have given a cumulative amount of $1 billion through the Cooperative Program sometime in 2008; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists have traditionally been and continue to be strong supporters of the Cooperative Program; and

WHEREAS, in August of 2007, Alabama Baptists had given more through the Cooperative Program than all but one state (whose population is twice Alabama’s population); and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists are always at the top of percentage giving through the Cooperative Program, having given $42,569,778.63 through the Cooperative Program in 2006; and

WHEREAS, in addition to the worldwide missions of the Southern Baptist Convention, Alabama Baptists are supporting a wide variety of ministry and mission entities (including State Board of Missions ministries, Samford University, the University of Mobile, Judson College, Shocco Springs Retreat and Conference Center, the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries, The Alabama Baptist newspaper, The Baptist Foundation of Alabama, the Baptist Historical Commission, the Christian Life Commission, Disaster Relief Ministries, and two auxiliaries—the Woman’s Missionary Union and the Alabama Citizens Action Program) within the state of Alabama through the Cooperative Program.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Mobile, Alabama, November 13-14, 2007, affirm our commitment to the Cooperative Program; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we encourage all Alabama Baptist churches to continue to support and seek to increase their giving to the expansion of Christ’s spiritual kingdom (as we have been commanded in Christ’s Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20) through the Cooperative Program; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we encourage continued cooperation of supporting ministries and missions among Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists, in the time-tested and Godblessed way of giving through the Cooperative Program which undergirds the entities of the Alabama Baptist State Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention.

RESOLUTION NO. 4
ON PREVENTING CHILD ABUSE

WHEREAS, the Bible provides for and stresses the need for protection of and care for children, as evidenced by: its condemnation of the ancient pagan practice of child sacrifice (Leviticus 20:1-7; Ezekiel 16:20-21), its special regard for orphans in the nation of Israel (Deuteronomy 24, 26); and the teaching of Jesus, who welcomed and valued little children (Matthew 18:1-5; 19:14); and

WHEREAS, faithful Christians throughout history have risen to the defense of children, as seen in: the early church’s protest of the practice of “child exposure,” in which unwanted infants were abandoned and left to die; commending the work of nineteenth-century Christians such as Lord Shaftesbury and others, who campaigned against child slavery and promoted the enactment of child labor laws; and the current diligence of those who defend the right to life of unborn children today; and

WHEREAS, violent physical and sexual crimes against children have reached alarming levels in our nation, thus showing child abuse to be a leading issue requiring the urgent response of God’s people; and

WHEREAS, this abuse has occurred too often even in places which ought to be sanctuaries of shelter and safety, including churches and homes—and, on occasion, has happened at the hands of persons in positions of trust and authority including family members, educators, ordained ministers and ministry workers; and

WHEREAS, the Alabama Attorney General’s office and the district attorneys throughout the state have worked tirelessly to propose strong laws to prosecute child abusers and protect our children; and

WHEREAS, a task force of State Board of Missions employees appointed by Dr. Rick Lance has written guidelines for churches related to matters of sexual misconduct.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Mobile, Alabama, November 13-14, 2007, express our deep level of moral outrage and concern at any instance of child victimization; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we implore Alabama Baptist churches to utilize materials from LifeWay Christian Resources and Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions and other relevant research that help churches prevent child abuse; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we strongly recommend that Alabama Baptist churches and Convention entities respond to any suspicions or allegations of child abuse in a timely and forthright manner; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge Alabama Baptist churches and Convention entities to exercise moral stewardship by observing responsible employment practices, including performing criminal background checks on all ministers, employees, and volunteers; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we call on Alabama Baptist churches to take advantage of the counseling ministry of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes and Family Ministries to assist in the emotional healing of those victimized by sexual predators; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we pray for righteousness and justice to prevail in our state, asking God to intervene on behalf of victimized children and heal their deep emotional and physical wounds, grow them into mature and healthy adults, and stop the cycle of abuse from repeating itself in another generation.

RESOLUTION NO. 5
ON SUNDAY LIQUOR SALES

WHEREAS, the Bible warns of the dangers associated with alcohol use (Proverbs 23:29-35); and

WHEREAS, alcohol use has led to countless injuries and deaths on Alabama’s highways; and

WHEREAS, the State of Alabama has attempted to control the sale of alcohol through Alcohol Beverage Control Board stores; and

WHEREAS, a break in the decades old policy occurred on October 28, 2007, with the Alcohol Beverage Control Board opening a state-owned liquor store in Birmingham on Sunday as an experiment with plans to open other state owned liquor stores on Sundays in the future; and

WHEREAS, Dan Ireland, executive director of Alabama Citizens Actions Program, informed Governor Bob Riley and requested the closure of this store and all other state-owned liquor stores on Sundays.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Mobile, Alabama, November 13-14, 2007, reaffirm our longstanding objection to the sale and use of alcohol as a beverage; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we express our appreciation to Dr. Dan Ireland and the ALCAP ministry for his action and request to the governor; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we express our sincere and deep appreciation to Governor Bob Riley for his action in reversing the decision of the Alcohol Beverage Control Board and returning to Sunday closing of state-owned liquor stores.

RESOLUTION NO. 6
ON INDIAN GAMBLING

WHEREAS, Indian gambling is regulated by the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (“IGRA”); and

WHEREAS, Indian tribes in the United States, including the Alabama Poarch Band of Creek Indians (“Poarch Indians”), are seeking authority from the United States Secretary of Interior (“Secretary”) to expand their gambling operations; and

WHEREAS, IGRA permits certain Indian gambling without a state’s consent, viz., social games (Class I) and bingo (Class II), but requires consent for high stakes gambling, viz., slot machines, lotteries and other such forms of casino gambling (Class III); and

WHEREAS, the State of Alabama has not given consent to the Poarch Indians to have Class III gambling; and

WHEREAS, the Poarch Indians have requested authority from the Secretary to expand its gambling operations to include Class III casino style gambling at its facility in Atmore, Alabama; and

WHEREAS, IGRA gives the United States Secretary of the Interior authority to negotiate the type of gambling Indians may have, but a recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals federal decision, Texas v. United States Department of Interior and Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas, held the Secretary did not have authority to allow Class III casino style gambling; and

WHEREAS, the Kickapoo case covers only Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi and there is uncertainty for the federal Eleventh Circuit in which Alabama is located concerning Class III casino style gambling; and

WHEREAS, Attorney General Troy King has said he would seek, if necessary, judicial relief similar to that granted in the Kickapoo case to prohibit the Secretary from allowing any expansion of the Poarch Indians operations to include Class III casino style gambling; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists oppose gambling of every description because of its many scriptural implications, including vain, dishonest or slothful attempts to gain wealth without labor (Proverbs 10:4, Proverbs 13:11, Proverbs 21:5-6); and

WHEREAS, Section 65 of the Alabama Constitution prohibits games of chance which includes Class III gambling.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Mobile, Alabama, November 13-14, 2007, affirm our opposition to any form of gambling; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we oppose the efforts of the Alabama Poarch Band of Creek Indians to expand its gambling operations and specifically oppose expansion to include Class III casino type gambling; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we urge the United States Secretary of the Interior not to negotiate with the Poarch Indians to allow them to expand their gambling operations to include Class III casino style gambling; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, we applaud Attorney General Troy King’s opposition to this requested gambling expansion and encourage him to seek, if necessary, appropriate judicial relief to prohibit the Secretary from granting authority to the Poarch Indians for expansion of their gambling to include Class III casino style gambling.

RESOLUTION NO. 7
ON HATE CRIME LEGISLATION

WHEREAS, among the most fundamental of rights which we the citizens of the United States of America are privileged to enjoy are the Godgiven and Constitutionally protected rights to the free exercise of religion and the freedom of speech; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 1585 was sent to the United States Senate for consideration but was amended by the United States Senate to add Section 1023, “Hate Crimes”; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 1585 has been referred to a Conference Committee to be considered by select Senators and Representatives who would maintain the inclusion of the hate crimes provision; and

WHEREAS, if H.R. 1585 resolves differences in the House and Senate versions, it will be sent to President George W. Bush for consideration; and

WHEREAS, President Bush shall have the option to veto H.R. 1585, but if he does not, it becomes law; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 1585 is a very important appropriations act for meeting the needs of the United States military for the fiscal year 2008; and

WHEREAS, the original federal hate crimes law as passed in 1968 was limited to race, color and national origin as protected, immutable characteristics, and religion as a protected, fundamental constitutional right; and

WHEREAS, H.R. 1585 seeks to extend protection of federal hate crime legislation which should be limited to these aforementioned fundamental areas to include groups identified by sexual orientation and gender identity (with the clear intention of expanding such protection to homosexuality, transsexuality and related activities); and

WHEREAS, H.R. 1585, Section 1023, “Hate Crimes,” includes as a felony crime an act of violence motivated by prejudice based on sexual orientation or gender identity that occurs in a situation that involves interstate commerce, including the use of a firearm that traveled in interstate commerce, thereby conferring federal jurisdiction and elevating such actions to a federal crime; and

WHEREAS, the United States does not recognize in its laws homosexual rights, gay marriage, and such matters related thereto; and

WHEREAS, passage of H.R. 1585 would violate the United States Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal protection under law by extending special protective status to certain social groups of people based upon sexual orientation that are not otherwise available to others; and

WHEREAS, the Bible (which many citizens of the United States, including ourselves, believe to be the revealed Word of God, expressing truths which are central to our belief system and to the expression of our faith and exercise of our religion) is clear in its condemnation of homosexual behavior (see, for example, Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9); and

WHEREAS, such hate crimes legislation criminalizes beliefs as well as actions, creating a form of thought crime; and

WHEREAS, although H.R. 1585 describes the prohibited crime as physical action, aiding and abetting laws may be construed to include those who publicly speak against homosexuality, such as ministers; and

WHEREAS, Christian pastors in Great Britain, Canada and Sweden have been prosecuted for allegedly inciting hatred against homosexuals merely as a result of exercising their freedom of speech rights to preach and teach biblical truths; and

WHEREAS, the passage of H.R. 1585 poses great threats to criminalizing and/or having a substantial chilling effect on the free exercise of our religious freedoms and freedom of expression to preach and speak biblical truths; and

WHEREAS, the statistics of the Federal Bureau of Investigation do not support any suggestion that there is a wide-spread problem which needs to be addressed by the inclusion of sexual orientation protection in hate crimes legislation (out of 862,947 cases of aggravated assault reported by the FBI in 2005, only 177, comprising .0002% of all such cases, were identified as having been motivated by sexual orientation “bias”).

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, we the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Mobile, Alabama, November 13-14, 2007, affirm our God-given and United States Constitutionally protected right to freely exercise our religious beliefs and freedom of speech to declare that homosexual activities are unscriptural and are abhorrent to and condemned by God; and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we affirm our opposition to any law that would legalize homosexuality in anyway, and specifically oppose Section 1023 of H.R. 1585; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we express our profound disappointment in the members of the United States Senate who voted to include or pass Section 1023 in H.R. 1585; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we strongly urge the members of the Conference Committee to remove Section 1023 from H.R. 1585; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, we urge members of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senate to do all within their power to amend H.R. 1585 and remove Section 1023 and further keep any other hate crime provision out of H.R. 1585; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that members of the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate vote against inclusion of hate crimes for sexual orientation or gender identity in H.R. 1585 or other legislation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that if Congress fails to protect our First Amendment rights by passing H.R. 1585 with Section 1023 in it, we request the President to protect these rights by vetoing the legislation; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that all Alabamians avoid acts of hatred and violence against homosexuals and transgendered people and treat them with the civility we would prefer to receive ourselves (Matthew 7:12); and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that we encourage all believers to love and show compassion towards homosexuals and transgendered people regardless of sexual orientation, sharing the Gospel of Christ, who is able to bring true freedom from error and to set free the captives of sin (John 8:34-36).

DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THESE RESOLUTIONS – 2007 (.pdf)

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