FRESNO, Calif. (BP)–The executive board of the California Southern Baptist Convention unanimously endorsed the state’s proposed constitutional marriage amendment during its meeting Sept. 11-12 and encouraged Southern Baptists in the state to do the same.
The amendment, known as Proposition 8, will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot and would define marriage as between one man and one woman, thus overturning a May decision by the California Supreme Court legalizing “gay marriage.” The board passed a resolution acknowledging the Bible as the “Word of God” and the “standard by which all human conduct and religious opinion should be measured.” (See the full text of the resolution at the bottom of this story).
The resolution acknowledges: “The Bible also teaches that marriage was the first institution ordained by God at the beginning of creation when it was established between Adam, a male, and Eve, a female, as the pattern for all time.”
The resolution calls on California Southern Baptists to pray about the issue and conduct voter registration drives through Oct. 20, the cutoff date for voter registration. The resolution urges pastors to inform their congregations of issues related to the ballot measure and encourages them to participate in the grassroots effort.
Additionally, the resolution encourages California Southern Baptists to financially support Proposition 8. The resolution points to Internet resources such as those at www.csbc.com/protectmarriage, www.ProtectMarriage.com and www.protectmarriageca.com.
In presenting the recommendation to the executive board, Don Fugate, communications committee chairman and pastor of Foxworthy Baptist Church in San Jose, said the resolution is something all California Southern Baptists should support, and that he believes it is at the core of what Baptists believe about the family.
Following is the complete text of the resolution supporting Proposition 8:
“WHEREAS, The Bible is the Word of God, written by men, but divinely inspired, the Bible also is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is God-breathed and inerrant, and all Scripture is true and trustworthy. It is the standard by which all human conduct and religious opinion should be measured; and
“WHEREAS, The Bible teaches that God loves all people and commands us to do likewise; the Bible also teaches that marriage was the first institution ordained by God at the beginning of creation when it was established between Adam, a male, and Eve, a female, as the pattern for all time. Since the beginning of time societies, cultures and religions have endorsed marriage as the union between one man and one woman for a lifetime. Marriage provides the framework for intimate companionship, the avenue of sexual expression according to biblical standards, and the means for procreation. It also is God’s unique gift to demonstrate the relationship between Christ and His church; and
“WHEREAS, The family unit that God intended — a father, a mother and children — has fallen into disarray while the divorce rate in our state and nation is at an all-time high, and the percentage rate of divorce in the general population is reflected in the church; and
“WHEREAS, California voters in 2000, by more than 61 percent of the vote, approved Proposition 22 which reads, ‘Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California;’ and
“WHEREAS, The California Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, disregarded the will of the people on May 15, 2008 by striking down Proposition 22, thereby granting marriage privileges to ‘same-sex’ couples; and
“WHEREAS, Same-sex marriage is legally unnecessary since homosexual couples in California already are entitled to all the legal rights and privileges of marriage, short of the name; now, therefore be it
“RESOLVED That the California Southern Baptist Convention Executive Board, meeting September 12, 2008, endorse Proposition 8, a California constitutional amendment that states, ‘Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California;’ and be it further
“RESOLVED That California Southern Baptist Convention churches and members are urged to pray about this important issue, and that at least 7 million Californians will vote for traditional, biblical marriage; and be it further
“RESOLVED That churches are encouraged to conduct voter registration drives between now and October 20 since as many as 50 percent of Christian eligible voters are not registered to carry out this civic privilege; and be it further
“RESOLVED That California Southern Baptist Convention pastors are urged to inform their congregations of the issues and encourage them to participate in the grassroots effort; and be it further
“RESOLVED That California Southern Baptists be encouraged to financially support Proposition 8 by making donations to ProtectMarriage.com by Oct. 10; and be it finally
“RESOLVED That California Southern Baptist Convention church leaders are urged to avail themselves of resources provided on the World Wide Web at www.csbc.com/protectmarriage, www.protectmarriage.com, and www.protectmarriageca.com.”
Based on reporting by Terry Barone, communications group leader for the California Southern Baptist Convention. Donations to the effort to pass Proposition 8 can be made online at ProtectMarriage.com. Out-of-state donations are legal.