- (Photo: SBC / Kent Harville)
On the closing day of their annual meeting, Southern Baptists approved resolutions denouncing those responsible for the massive gulf oil spill, opposing pro-gay legislations, and lamenting the "scandal of Southern Baptist divorce."
"God has designed us with a dependence on the natural resources around us and has assigned us a dominion of stewardship and protection of those resources for future generations," states the resolution addressing the BP oil spill, the worst in U.S. history.
"Our God-given dominion over the creation is not unlimited, as though we were gods and not creatures, so therefore, all persons and all industries are then accountable to higher standards than to profit alone."
Adopted on Wednesday, the resolution comes as new estimates by scientists and the government reveal that BP's well in the Gulf of Mexico is gushing as much as 60,000 barrels of oil a day. The massive disaster was the result of an April 20 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig. President Obama has called it the worst environmental disaster America has ever faced.
Along with a call to prayer, the Southern Baptists' measure calls on the government "to act determinatively and with undeterred resolve to end this crisis; to fortify our coastal defenses; to ensure full corporate accountability for damages, clean-up and restoration; to ensure that government and private industry are not again caught without planning for such possibilities; and to promote future energy policies based on prudence, conservation, accountability, and safety," as reported by The Washington Post.
Southern Baptists are also urged to generously assist in the clean-up process, just as they did in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In another resolution, the Protestant church body expressed opposition to repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
"The Bible describes homosexual behavior as both a contributing cause and a consequence of God’s judgment on nations and individuals," it states, according to Associated Baptist Press. "It is the seasoned judgment of most military leaders that normalizing the open presence of homosexuals in the military is incompatible with generating, strengthening and maintaining good discipline, unit cohesion and combat readiness."
They also passed a resolution opposing the Employment Non-Discrimination Act which would make it illegal for employers to make decisions on hiring, firing, promoting or paying an employee based on sexual orientation.
Lamenting the pervasiveness of divorce in the church, Southern Baptists agreed they need to "address the spiritual wreckage left in our Southern Baptist churches by our own divorce rates and our silence about the same" and realize "how damaging Southern Baptist accommodation to the divorce culture is to our global witness for Christ."
The resolution calls on churches to "proclaim the word of God on the permanence of marriage" and to view wedding vows "not simply as a token of a couple’s romance but as a covenant before God, until death do them part."
Other measures adopted Wednesday call on Southern Baptists to "rekindle the spiritual discipline of family worship" and to reaffirm the centrality of the Gospel.
The Southern Baptist Convention is the largest Protestant denomination in the country with 16.16 million members. The annual meeting was held June 15-16 in Orlando, Fla.