News Articles

SBC DIGEST: ERLC opposes expanded veterans’ IVF coverage: N.C. Baptists search for children’s home CEO

ERLC opposes planned expansion of IVF coverage for veterans

By Timothy Cockes/ERLC

NASHVILLE (BP) – The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is calling on the Biden administration to withdraw the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) planned expansion of in vitro fertilization (IVF) insurance coverage which would include service members who are single or in same-sex relationships.

The entity is also asking U.S. legislators to oppose the Veteran Families Health Services Act of 2023, which seeks to permanently codify the expansion into federal law.

The VA announced the planned expansion on Monday (March 11). The proposed expansion also includes the provision of IVF to veterans who are not able to produce their own sperm or eggs due to service-connected injuries or health conditions by allowing access to donated sperm, eggs and embryos.

The expansion marks the first time fertility treatments of any form have been covered by Tricare, the federal insurance covering service members and their dependents, without regard for marital status, sex or gender identity.

In its announcement, the VA stated its desire to implement the new expansion quickly and make the coverage available to veterans in a matter of weeks.

Miles Mullin, vice president and chief of staff for the ERLC, referenced the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 in explaining Southern Baptist beliefs regarding marriage, family and childbearing.  

“Southern Baptists believe life begins at conception and that ‘the family is the foundational institution of our society’” Mullin said in a release sent to policy makers on Tuesday (March 12).

“In effect, this action by the VA undermines good governance by no longer requiring marital status to receive federal employee insurance coverage for IVF, as well as resulting in taxpayer-funded family formation that is contrary to God’s good design for human flourishing.

“While we affirm the desire for a family as good and God-given, our faith informs how it should be accomplished. Family begins with ‘one man and one woman in covenant commitment.’ Using taxpayer resources to fund actions that undermine this biblical understanding of marriage transgresses our deepest held beliefs regarding life, gender, and sexuality and violates the consciences of millions of Americans.”

N.C.’s BCH search team receiving applications for CEO position

By Chad Austin/Biblical Recorder

THOMASVILLE, N.C. – The search team tasked with finding the next leader of the Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) of North Carolina is now receiving applications from prospective candidates interested in serving as the organization’s chief executive officer.

Applications may be submitted online at bchfamily.org/ceo, which also includes a job description, candidate profile and information about BCH’s ministry.

The online portal is being hosted by Vanderbloemen Search Group, a Texas-based firm that is assisting BCH’s Transition and Search Team. Vanderbloemen’s services include working with churches, ministries, nonprofits and other faith-based organizations in conducting searches for executive leaders.

The announcement about the opening of the online application portal was one of several updates that BCH search team chairman David Powell shared in an email sent to friends and supporters of the ministry on Tuesday, March 12. Contents of the email were also posted on BCH’s website and shared on social media.

Although the email provided no specific timeline related to the overall search process, Powell encouraged “serious candidates” to apply “within the next three weeks.” Three weeks from the announcement’s release would be Tuesday, April 2.

“Taking steps prayerfully and thoughtfully is integral to this undertaking,” Powell wrote. “We will continue to move forward in a manner that is respectful of the process and within a timetable that accords God the latitude to move and lead. It is why the committee, and everyone involved in this effort, continues to covet your prayers.”

Powell serves as pastor of Lovedale Baptist Church in Sylva, N.C.

Before opening the application process, Powell wrote that the search team had worked with Vanderbloemen in recent months to solicit feedback from a variety of constituents regarding the qualities they believed to be important for BCH’s next leader to possess. Those efforts included surveys and a forum with BCH staff, as well as surveys with BCH trustees and other key stakeholders.

The feedback from surveys, research and input from other nonprofits in North Carolina and beyond were used to develop a candidate profile and finalize a job description for BCH’s CEO position.

The application portal outlines a variety of professional, personal and spiritual attributes that are being sought in a new leader in the areas of leadership, management, fundraising and more.

Powell asked for continued prayer as the search team enters the next phase of the search process.

“The Transition and Search Committee asks that you continue to pray for us and our partners at Vanderbloemen as we guide the process,” Powell wrote. “Pray for the leading of the Holy Spirit as He works within the hearts of those who will apply. We rejoice in the expectation of what the Lord will accomplish through the leadership process and the continued support of ministry partners such as you. Thank you for being a valued partner in carrying out the BCH mission of “‘sharing hope…changing lives.’”

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