RESOLUTION NO. 1
ON ORPHAN CARE

WHEREAS, Every Christian has received in Christ the Spirit of adoption by which we call on God as our heavenly Father (Romans 8:14-16; Galatians 4:4-7; 1 John 3:1-3); and

WHEREAS, God reveals himself in his Word as “the helper of the fatherless” (Psalm 10:14) and “Father of the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5) who “incline[s] [his] ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed” (Psalm 10:17-18) and in whom “the orphan finds mercy” (Hosea 14:3); and

WHEREAS, God implores his people in his Word to act in accordance with his character by bringing justice to the weak and the fatherless (Deuteronomy 24:17-18; Psalm 82:3; Proverbs 23:10-11; Isaiah 1:17); and

WHEREAS, God defines pure and undefiled religion as “to visit orphans and widows in their affliction” (James 1:27); and

WHEREAS, While it is not necessarily incumbent on every Christian family to adopt, it is incumbent on every Christian church and family to love and care for orphans; and

WHEREAS, In June, 2000, the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention adopted the Baptist Faith and Message (2000), which states in Article XV on The Christian and the Social Order, “We should work to provide for the orphaned, the needy, the abused, the aged, the helpless, and the sick”; and

WHEREAS, There are over 150 million orphans in North America and around the world, including over 400,000 children in the foster care system in the United States; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, express our commitment to join our heavenly Father in seeking mercy and justice for those in need of foster and orphan care; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama Baptist pastors and church leaders to preach and teach on God’s concern for orphans and on the biblical mandate to care for needy children and also to observe an Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries Sunday; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend the diligent and faithful work of the Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes & Family Ministries among those in need of foster and orphan care in our state; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama Baptist families to pray for guidance as to whether God is calling them to foster care or adoption; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend churches and ministries in our state that are facilitating orphan care through adoption, foster care, and birth parent ministries; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we pray for God’s Spirit to work among Alabama Baptists so that we will love the fatherless “not in word or talk, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:18).

RESOLUTION NO. 2
ON PAY DAY LOANS IN ALABAMA

WHEREAS, The Bible condemns gaining wealth through usury; and

WHEREAS, The writers of Scripture warn about gaining wealth through exploiting the poor; and

WHEREAS, The Bible warns about the dangers of debt and tells us that the borrower is slave to the lender; and

WHEREAS, The State of Alabama allows Payday lenders to charge an annual interest rate of 456 percent; and

WHEREAS, The State of Alabama allows title pawn lenders to charge an annual interest rate of 300 percent; and

WHEREAS, The Federal Protection Credit Bureau found that 75 percent of payday loans were given to people who take out at least 10 loans a year, creating a cycle of indebtedness; and

WHEREAS, Alabama has the highest number of title lending outlets per capita; and

WHEREAS, Legislative attempts to cap interest at 36 percent have failed; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, oppose the exploitation of our neighbors through predatory lending; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama legislators to pass a bill capping payday and title loan interest rates at 36 percent annually; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama Baptists to contact their state legislators to voice their concerns about this issue; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama Baptist churches to teach their congregations about responsible stewardship and the pitfalls of indebtedness; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend ALCAP and its Executive Director Joe Godfrey for their efforts in raising awareness of this problem; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we send a copy of this resolution to the Governor, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and Speaker of the House.

RESOLUTION NO. 3
ON SCIENCE CURRICULUM IN ALABAMA PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES

WHEREAS, On recommendation of the Alabama Superintendent of Education, a majority of the Alabama State School Board voted to affirm an Educator Preparation Report that instructs state colleges of education to train future teachers using Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS); and

WHEREAS, NGSS treat evolution as an established fact in explaining the origin of man, and this evolution concept is introduced as early as the second grade; and

WHEREAS, NGSS pose a threat to students’ faith by systematically excluding all consideration of God from science curriculum; and

WHEREAS, NGSS address religious questions such as human origins (“Where do we come from?”) and provide only materialistic/atheistic answers to those questions; and

WHEREAS, A lawsuit against NGSS has been filed in federal court in Kansas, alleging that the NGSS Framework and Standards establish and endorse a non-theistic religious worldview in violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution; and

WHEREAS, NGSS treat man-made climate change as a settled scientific fact, despite the ongoing debate within the scientific community about the role human activity plays in warming the planet; and

WHEREAS, 13 federal agencies helped Achieve, Inc. craft the NGSS; and

WHEREAS, Thomas B. Fordham Institute scholars have criticized the low academic quality of the NGSS and given them a mediocre “C” rating; and

WHEREAS, Alabama’s existing 2009 Science Course of Study correctly states in its Preface: “[t]here are many unanswered questions about the origin of life…Students should learn to make distinctions among the multiple meanings of evolution, to distinguish between observations and assumptions used to draw conclusions, and to wrestle with the unanswered questions and unresolved problems faced by evolutionary theory”; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, go on record in favor of the Alabama State Board of Education instructing state colleges of education to use the duly approved Alabama 2009 Science Course of Study; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we recommend that any future Alabama course of study in science be developed primarily within the state, without influence from any multistate consortium such as NGSS; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we advocate that public school subjects (such as origins science) that touch on religion be either presented objectively so that the effect is religiously neutral or omitted from the curriculum; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we affirm the primary right of parents to direct the academic and religious education of their children.

RESOLUTION NO. 4
ON PARENTAL AUTHORITY THROUGH LOCAL AND STATE CONTROL OF EDUCATION

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists hold fast their obligation before God to train up their own children; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists who place their children in public schools expect to be able to provide meaningful input into their children’s total education experience; and

WHEREAS, The State of Alabama has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education called Plan 2020 which is problematic in the following areas:

Plan 2020 requires adoption of the Common Core Standards not controlled by Alabamians;

Plan 2020 requires implementation of assessments not written by Alabamians and that may measure non-cognitive areas such as a student’s attitudes and beliefs;

Plan 2020 requires curricula aligned with these standards and assessments which contain materials offensive to Christian values and American exceptionalism;

Plan 2020 requires non-cognitive data collection that violates student and family privacy and allows sharing of that data with third parties;

Plan 2020 requires assessments that can be used to predetermine career paths rather than to equip students to choose their own future; and

Plan 2020 requires all students to receive a data-driven counseling program that includes “personal/social development” in its Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling Model; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists believe that the God-ordained family is the rightful place for inculcating values and determining career choices, and

WHEREAS, The unproven methodology required by Common Core is resulting in significant frustration and dissatisfaction from many students, parents and teachers; and

WHEREAS, There is little or no evidence that the level of student achievement would be raised by the Common Core Initiative; and

WHEREAS, Any sound methods being applied in Alabama classrooms can be utilized without subservience to a federal mandate; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, stand for proven, superior education curriculum and practice chosen by state officials who will respect parental authority and respond to citizen input; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge the Governor along with the State Board of Education and/or the Alabama Legislature to repeal Common Core and accompanying assessments and replace them with sound, proven practices of educating and testing through local and state control of what is taught and how it is taught for the betterment of all children in the great state of Alabama.

RESOLUTION NO. 5
ON CONCERNS RELATED TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION

WHEREAS, The Church of Jesus Christ is made up of all nations, tribes, peoples, and languages (Revelation 7:9); and

WHEREAS, God commanded the people of Israel to “not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt” (Exodus 22:21); and

WHEREAS, We are commanded to be hospitable “to strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2); and

WHEREAS, Scripture denounces the exploitation of workers and the mistreatment of the poor (Isaiah 3:15; Isaiah 58:6-7; James 5:4); and

WHEREAS, Many of the people in our state from other nations, both legal and illegal, have many spiritual, physical, financial, and social needs; and

WHEREAS, Jesus says in Matthew 25:40 that whatever we do for the least of these, we do for Him; and

WHEREAS, Every nation has the right to protect and secure its own borders; and

WHEREAS, Alabama has, in the past, enacted some of the strongest laws in the nation in response to the illegal immigrants in our state; and

WHEREAS, We admit that the Church has no current ability to directly or immediately change immigration law or practice in the United States; and

WHEREAS, There is no current impetus to deport the up to 12 million illegal immigrants from the United States by the Government; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, affirm the biblical call for Christians to show hospitality, Christian love, and care for immigrants and aliens that are here in our presence; and be it further

RESOLVED, That this resolution is not to be construed as support for amnesty for any illegal immigrant; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama Baptists to submit to the governing authorities and live quiet, peaceful lives (1 Peter 2:13-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-6); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Alabama Baptist churches and individual Christians to demonstrate care and love for all of those in need as we love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-40) and as God places them in our path be they immigrants or native-born; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we seek to make disciples of all nations through the proclamation of the Gospel, including the immigrants of the nations that have come to our state through various means according to Matthew 28:18-20; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage our national and state elected officials to develop a plan to effectively address the problems of border security and illegal immigration; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pray for and encourage our churches to demonstrate the reconciliation of the Kingdom racially and ethnically both in the verbal witness of our Gospel and in the visible makeup of our congregations; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we seek to be good citizens in our state and nation as we are first citizens of the Kingdom of God who represent Christ as His ambassadors.

RESOLUTION NO. 6
IN SUPPORT OF THE RIGHT OF THE STATE OF ISRAEL TO EXIST

WHEREAS, We recognize that long-standing hostility has existed between Israel and her neighbors; and

WHEREAS, The Scriptures call for us to pray for the peace of Israel (Psalm 122:6); and

WHEREAS, We affirm God’s love for and offer of salvation in Christ to all people, including both Jewish and Palestinian people; and

WHEREAS, Both Old and New Testaments affirm God’s special purposes and providential care for the Jewish people (Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 17:1-21; Romans 9-11); and

WHEREAS, The Jewish people have a historic connection to the land of Israel, a connection that is rooted in the promises of God Himself; and

WHEREAS, The Alabama legislature passed a resolution supporting the right of a Jewish Homeland in 1943, the first state to do so; and

WHEREAS, The international community restored land to the Jewish people in 1947 to provide a homeland for them and re-establish the nation of Israel; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, support the right of Israel to exist as a sovereign state; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we express our abhorrence of all forms of terrorism as inexcusable, barbaric, and cowardly acts; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we denounce revenge in any form as a response to past offenses (Romans 12:17-21) but support the right of sovereign nations to use force to defend themselves against aggressors; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we affirm that Israel must always be held accountable to the same standards of national righteousness as any other nation, particularly in light of the Old Testament mandate that Israel maintain justice for the strangers and aliens in her midst (Exodus 22:21; Deuteronomy 10:19); and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the Palestinian people to reform their government structures to repudiate terrorism and tyranny; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the Israeli and Palestinian people to pursue policies that promote genuine religious liberty and peace between themselves and their neighbors; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on the United States and the nations of the world to offer whatever assistance they can to help secure peace in the Middle East; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we pledge to pray for peace in the Middle East, and especially for Israel; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we pray that the true peace of our Lord will reign in the lives of the Israeli and Palestinian people and that this peace will bring blessing to this war-torn land.

RESOLUTION NO. 7
IN OPPOSITION TO ANTI-SEMITISM

WHEREAS, Scripture tells us that believers are to be known for loving others (John 13:35, Matt. 5:43, Matt. 19:19, Mark 12:31); and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists have long opposed racial and ethnic stereotyping and hatred; and

WHEREAS, A recent study by the Anti-Defamation League has determined that 26% of those surveyed in 100 nations around the world hold to unjust stereotypes of the Jewish community; and

WHEREAS, International press reports indicate a great rise in anti-Semitism in Europe, including denial of the Nazi Holocaust; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, support the right of the Jewish community to fellowship without harassment; and be it further

RESOLVED, That Alabama Baptists deplore anti-Semitic attitudes, including Holocaust denial; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That Alabama Baptists will teach respect for our Jewish neighbors and would discourage those anti-Semitic attitudes which may seek to find a place in public policy.

RESOLUTION NO. 8
ON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM (as amended)

WHEREAS, Religious freedom is a gift from God to all humanity (Genesis 2:16-17; Acts 4:19-21; 5:29; 17:16-34); and

WHEREAS, Religious freedom is an essential component of a free society; and

WHEREAS, The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees every citizen religious freedom and freedom of speech and press, declaring 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….”; and

WHEREAS, The Alabama Religious Freedom Amendment, Article I, Section 3.01, 1901 Constitution of Alabama, guarantees to all citizens of Alabama freedom of religion; and

WHEREAS, Citizens of Alabama are guaranteed the freedom of speech and press by Article I, Section 4, 1901 Constitution of Alabama, declaring “That no law shall be passed to curtail or restrain the liberty of speech or of the press; and any person may speak, write, and publish his sentiments on all subjects….”; and

WHEREAS, Religious freedom must include the freedom of assembly and expression based on religiously-informed beliefs and is guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Alabama Constitution; and

WHEREAS, In deciding NAACP v. Alabama, 357 U.S. 449 (1958) the United States Supreme Court declared, “It is beyond debate that freedom to engage in association for the advancement of beliefs and ideas is an inseparable aspect of the ‘liberty’ assured by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which embraces freedom of speech”; and

WHEREAS, Some people of faith are being denied the right to operate their businesses in a manner consistent with their religiously informed beliefs, especially with regard to their convictions about homosexuality, resulting in loss of status, income, and livelihood; and

WHEREAS, Some officials and municipalities have sought to intimidate religious leaders by subpoenaing their sermons and personal correspondence with individual church members concerning certain local ordinances that many in the religious community deemed immoral; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, express our gratitude for our God-granted religious freedom; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call upon the federal, state, and local governing authorities to uphold the rights of individuals, businesses, churches, civic organizations and all other entities to express their religious beliefs in speech and in deed by adhering to the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we call on every branch of government to investigate all claims of First Amendment violations and to educate, discipline, or prosecute any who are involved in these violations; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we urge those who engage in defending the legal rights of people of faith to come to the aid of those who are facing discrimination for their faith by federal, state, or local governments, institutions, or individuals; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage Congress to withdraw the jurisdiction of federal judges over the definition of marriage, thus restraining judges not pastors; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage the Christian Life Commission of the Alabama Baptist Convention to continue its faithful defense and advocacy of the God-given and constitutionally-guaranteed rights of freedom of religion and assembly; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to stand with and pray for those in our nation and around the world who are persecuted for their faith; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we will render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and unto God what is God’s, but in no wise will we render unto Caesar what is God’s.

RESOLUTION NO. 9
IN SUPPORT OF THE ALABAMA HEALTH CARE RIGHTS OF CONSCIENCE ACT

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists are on record supporting the right to life of the unborn; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists have, in recent years, strongly supported legislation and legal actions to limit and restrict the wanton practice of abortion; and

WHEREAS, Alabama Baptists and Southern Baptists have been at the forefront of support for the rights of individuals to abide by their religious convictions in public life; and

WHEREAS, Rep. Becky Nordgren introduced the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act that would ensure that medical professionals are not forced to participate in procedures that violate their religious views or their moral conscience; and

WHEREAS, The Health Care Rights of Conscience Act passed the Alabama House of Representatives on January 21 by a vote of 71-24; and

WHEREAS, The Health Care Rights of Conscience Act died in the Senate due to lack of action; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, commend those legislators who voted for the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we thank Governor Robert Bentley for calling for pro-life legislation; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we urge the Alabama House of Representatives and the Alabama State Senate to prioritize passage of the Health Care Rights of Conscience Act in the 2015 Legislative Session.

RESOLUTION NO. 10
ON PRISON REFORM IN ALABAMA

WHEREAS, All men and women are made in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect (Gen. 1:26-27); and

WHEREAS, Scripture teaches that Jesus came into the world to save even those who would be thought of as the worst of sinners (1 Timothy 1:15); and

WHEREAS, Jesus reminds us that how we have treated the least among us, including those in prison, reflects our attitude toward Him (Matt. 25:31-46); and

WHEREAS, Alabama’s prisons are known to be overcrowded and inmates who are released are prone to reoffend in high percentages; and

WHEREAS, The physical and sexual abuse of prisoners in Alabama has been an ongoing problem; and

WHEREAS, The Alabama Legislature created the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force to address these issues and bring recommendations in 2015; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, call upon the Governor, Attorney General, and Alabama Legislature to seek ways to end abuse in Alabama prisons; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commit to pray for the work of the Alabama Prison Reform Task Force; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we commend those churches that are currently active in prison ministry and encourage other churches to be involved as well; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we encourage churches to develop ministries to at-risk teenagers in their communities, sharing with them the love of Christ and teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded; and be it further

RESOLVED, That we ask the Christian Life Commission and The Alabama Baptist to keep Alabama Baptists informed about these problems and prison reform efforts; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we send a copy of this resolution to the Governor, Attorney General, President Pro Tem of the Senate, and Speaker of the House.

RESOLUTION NO. 11
ON APPRECIATION

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

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

WHEREAS, We have sought to make this Convention one of prayer and inspiration; and

WHEREAS, We appreciate the Birmingham Baptist Association, the area churches, and ministers of those churches having played a significant role in making this Convention a success; and

WHEREAS, We acknowledge the kind hospitality of the people of Birmingham; and

WHEREAS, We appreciate the graciousness of the Lakeside Baptist Church staff and family and thank them for their support and hospitality; and

WHEREAS, We especially acknowledge the work and leadership of our president, John Killian, vice-presidents, Travis Coleman and Jim Cooley, 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; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, express our profound gratitude to the Lord and to those whom He used to bring about a Convention characterized by God’s blessings.

RESOLUTION NO. 12
ON THE 125TH ANNIVERSARY OF ALABAMA WOMAN’S MISSIONARY UNION (as amended)

WHEREAS, Alabama Woman’s Missionary Union (WMU) was created in 1889 at First Baptist Church in Selma, Alabama, during the annual meeting of the Alabama Baptist State Convention; and

WHEREAS, Alabama WMU has been an auxiliary to the Alabama Baptist State Convention for the past 125 years, supporting Southern Baptist missions at home and abroad through prayer, missions education, sacrificial giving, and mission activities; and

WHEREAS, Alabama WMU has played a major role in moving countless numbers of women, men, youth and children toward a consistent lifestyle of missions and ministry, both vocationally and non-vocationally; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, commend the many dedicated leaders and members of Alabama WMU, joining Alabama WMU in celebrating 125 years of missions support and missions education; and be it further

RESOLVED, That in recognition of how God has worked through and blessed the organized mission efforts of women through Woman’s Missionary Union, we not only commend WMU verbally, but that we also encourage all of our churches to consider establishing vital WMU organizations; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we ask God to continue to bless Alabama WMU and her membership in order to further the cause of missions in Alabama, our nation, and the world until the whole world hears.

RESOLUTION NO. 13
RESOLUTION OF COMMENDATION FOR CVS HEALTH

WHEREAS, Americans today are very much aware of the health hazards from the use of tobacco products by our citizens; and

WHEREAS, The use of tobacco products causes undue problems and results in the death of thousands of youth and adults in this country every year; and

WHEREAS, CVS Health has made a decision to no longer continue the sale of tobacco in any form in all CVS stores; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Alabama Baptist State Convention, meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, November 11-12, 2014, commend CVS Health and other businesses that may make similar decisions to no longer sell tobacco products; and be it finally

RESOLVED, That we extend our prayers and best wishes to CVS Health as they continue promoting good health for the American people.

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