By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
GREENSBORO — Two important resolutions won approval at the annual meeting of the North Carolina Baptist State Convention this week — one in support of traditional marriage and another confirming the organization’s opposition to gambling. Both could have an impact on statewide issues.
Calling Baptists to commit themselves to “vigorously organize a strong effort among members to support passage of the Marriage Amendment” and to “pray faithfully against the legalization of same-sex marriages or marriage substitutes,” the resolution presented by Jim Jacumin references Scripture from Genesis, Matthew and Ephesians to bring to the forefront God’s plan for marriage between one man and one woman.
A messenger from East Valdese Baptist and a member of the BSC Board of Directors, Jacumin is also a former State Senator who had seen the marriage amendment proposed numerous times unsuccessfully. Finally, a vote last September will bring the proposed constitutional amendment to the ballot in May.
To read the Marriage Protection Amendment resolution click here
Jacumin told the crowd that the resolution “speaks for itself, but it also tells us a lot about ourselves.”
“Today, we’re about to make a decision that will test our obedience,” he added.
“Protecting marriage as the union between one man and one woman is critically important to preserving the family, our children, the repopulation and economic viability of North Carolina,” reads the resolution. “While current N.C. statutory law does not recognize so-called same sex marriage, our marriage statute could be overturned or redefined by a liberal, activist judge or future legislatures.”
The resolution further calls on Christians to be “salt and light” by “exemplifying sexual purity …, speaking prophetically to the culture and acting redemptive toward individuals.”
Newly elected BSC President Mark Harris, senior pastor at First Baptist of Charlotte, told The Charlotte Observer, “As a body of believers in this state, we are willing to stand up and be counted.”
“Over the next six months, I am going to stress that this is an opportunity for the church to celebrate marriage and its biblical foundation — something we’re really for — rather than talking about what we’re against,” said Harris, 45.
The Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, was pleased to support both resolutions.
“These documents clarify our position as believers and urge churches to stand strong with a biblical stance on these and other issues of the day,” Dr. Creech said.
The resolution against the expansion of Class III or Las Vegas Style Gambling in North Carolina referred readers to Romans for the Scriptural challenge to “protect the welfare of the citizenry and to suppress evil.” It drew its urgency from the fact that the Eastern Band of Cherokees are in the midst of a $650 million expansion project at Harrah’s Casino and are lobbying the Governor and the General Assembly for even broader gaming privileges including the addition of live dealers.
“… Individuals and families touched by problem gambling are at a greater risk for such negative outcomes as divorce, bankruptcy, child abuse, domestic violence, crime and suicide,” the resolution reads in part, adding that messengers oppose gambling in any form.
To read the resolution on the proposed expansion of gambling at Cherokee click here
“This has been a progression since 1994… and has now led us to what in my opinion is a very predatory, a very malicious way of bringing people in to really take advantage of them,” said the Rev. Phil Addison from Stony Point Baptist as he introduced the resolution and referred to the history of the state’s compact with the Eastern Band of Cherokees. “… This does not increase wealth. It simply takes advantage of people, and we shouldn’t be for that.”
Addison’s initial anti-gambling resolution was referred to the Resolutions Committee where it was amended and sent back to the Convention floor for a vote. No one openly opposed the measure and in fact, a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokees rose to speak in support.
The Rev. Noah Crowe, pastor of First Baptist Church of Robbinsville, told fellow Baptists that members of the tribe were never allowed to vote on whether to bring in a casino, but that instead, the compact was entered into by the Tribal Council with the citizens and organizations like Gamblers’ Anonymous left to deal with the fallout.
“Now alcohol sales which we were told would never be pushed … it’s now being sold in the casino,” Crowe said, adding that what started as a small gaming compact “has now blossomed into a large gambling enterprise” involving millions of dollars.
“I stand today in support of this resolution, giving voice to many,” said the Graham County pastor.
Dr. Creech commended Rev. Crowe for his “incredible courage and deep commitment to the Word,” especially in the face of the pro-gaming push now so often linked to tribal governments.
The Baptist State Convention’s annual meeting, which drew more than 1,700 messengers and 138 visitors, ended Tuesday.