By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
January 30, 2015
HAVELOCK – Nearly 70 people representing churches in the Atlantic Baptist Association met at the Atlantic Baptist Associational Office Building Monday night in Havelock. They were present for a seminar provided by the Christian Action League that addresses the legalization of same-sex marriage in North Carolina and the urgent steps churches should take to protect their religious liberties.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, told attendees at the presentation: “Same-sex marriage threatens our nation on many levels. It threatens to undo the traditional family, creating a negative domino effect that will in the long-run seriously injure children, stagger our health care system, severely stress public assistance and programs like social security, while also expanding the power and invasiveness of the courts into family life.”
“But nothing is likely to suffer any more,” said Dr. Creech, “than religious liberty.”
The new seminar offered by the Christian Action League and led by Dr. Creech, titled, Same-Sex Marriage is Here: Protect Your Church’s Religious Liberties, is a training session on actions churches need to take placing statements in their by-laws ensuring the broadest possible legal protections of their religious autonomy.
Dr. Creech says gay activists, unlike maybe a neighbor or family member who declares they’re gay or struggling with same sex attractions, are aggressive political forces. “It is naïve to think they simply want equal rights to marriage as heterosexuals. The history of gay activism shows they are intent in silencing all voices of opposition to the homosexual lifestyle, even if it means infringing on the religious liberties of churches that disagree with them. This means preparing for a ‘litigiously uncertain future,’” he said.
The seminar, which is an hour in length, suggests certain provisions to church by-laws such as a clear statement concerning the church’s religious beliefs about marriage, gender and human sexuality. It explains that for legal purposes churches should identify a governing body as a sole authority for the interpretation of Scripture. Moreover, it carefully delineates the critical nature of a formal membership policy stating the requirements of church membership, the procedure for discipline and revocation of membership, as well as the way a member can rescind his or her own membership.
The seminar also includes sample statements for suggested wording of by-laws that may be used as templates for formulating the church’s own documents. Churches can either add to or amend the samples as needed. Also given is a list of Christian law groups that offer legal advice to churches pro-bono, helping them be certain they have done all things proper.
David Phelps, Director of Missions for the Atlantic Baptist Association, said:
“Dr. Mark Creech spoke at the quarterly meeting in Atlantic Baptist Association concerning the changing legal climate in which the church finds itself. Our people found it most helpful in grasping dynamics at play in key issues around the state. The church still thinks of itself as the favored voice of the culture as it did 50 years ago, however, we are actually much more situated like that of the first century church, encountering a plurality of world views and moral standards. His seminar brought awareness of legal firewalls the church should erect, that one would not have comprehended necessary a decade ago. The goal of the material presented is to protect the integrity of the church’s Christian witness, lest we find ourselves being shaped by our cultural environment.”
Needham Parks, a Deacon at Havelock Community Missionary Baptist Church, wrote to the Christian Action League expressing his appreciation for the seminar, saying:
“Thank you for a truly enlightening training session that planted the seeds and provided the resources needed for every church in the Atlantic Baptist Association to take immediate action concerning an issue that looms on the horizon of our churches. The information you provided explains to churches the actions they need to take to protect their religious autonomy in view of the legalization of same sex marriage. The templates provided for developing a statement of religious belief regarding marriage, gender and human sexuality are clear, concise, comprehensive, and biblically sound. These templates eliminate the need to spend numerous hours trying to develop a policy from scratch and enable churches to develop a policy without delay.
“Keep sharing this vital information.”
Dr. Creech said he hopes to schedule as many seminars as possible for churches. He said the seminar would be an excellent meeting for pastors’ conferences, denominational and church associational events. “Now that same-sex marriage is legal in our state, I’m deeply concerned about the vulnerability of our churches to legal assaults on their religious freedoms. What is more, church leaders need to be concerned too,” said Dr. Creech.
For a Same Sex Marriage Is Here: Protect Your Religious Liberties Seminar at your event or meeting, contact the office of the Christian Action League at 919.787.0606. Ask for Dr. Creech’s Administrative Assistant, John deRosset. Mr. deRosset can help with making all the arrangements for a seminar in your area.