In his recent post entitled “The Christian Butcher, Baker, and Wedding Picture Maker“, William Thornton offered a numbered list of nine critiques against the SBC’s handling of the present religious liberty contest that is before us. Of those nine, one predicted heightened judicial activity in this area (with which I certainly agree), seven were variations of the basic argument that religious liberty is unpopular right now, but one deserves a careful and specific response. SBC Voices has once again, for the second time in a few weeks, completely shut me out from making comments, so I’m responding to that critique with a separate post. William wrote:
- On a denominational level, we have not had much serious focus on religious liberty issues.
Is this a fair charge to lay at the feet of the SBC? Let’s consider the evidence
- The ERLC had a conference just last Spring that included a focus on precisely the religious liberty questions that are in the headlines today.
- The ERLC, among other Southern Baptists, have been filing amici during major religious liberty cases in recent news.
- Guidestone and a number of Southern Baptist denominational institutions have led the way in challenging in court recent violations of religious liberty surrounding Obamacare.
- The ERLC and other Southern Baptists have written extensively in various online and printed media in reaction to major cases like Greece, Hosanna-Tabor, Boerne, and Hobby Lobby. I can’t think of a case that we’ve missed in this regard.
- SWBTS held a First Freedom Conference from which the seminary published a book back in 2007.
- The Southern Baptist Convention has issued resolutions involving religious liberty (most of them including “religious liberty” in the title) in…
- I’m going to stop, if you don’t mind, at those resolutions that reach back before the year when I was born
Otherwise, we’ve pretty much been asleep at the switch, yeah.
In my mind, this counts as a serious focus on religious liberty issues. I’d dare to say that we’re in the top ten among all denominations. If, however, we are far below average, I’d welcome the opportunity to see actual data like I’ve given here to show the multitude of other denominations who are doing it better.