Stop Iran's Nuclear Enrichment Program
Southern Baptist leaders were among nearly fifty religious and conservative leaders who called September 22 for swift action by the U.S. government to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
In a letter to President Obama and Congress, Southern Baptist Convention President Johnny Hunt and ethics leader Richard Land joined others in urging a boycott on arms sales to the militant Islamic regime and economic sanctions on firms that conduct oil-related business with Iran.
"For the world's most dangerous regime to obtain the world's most dangerous weapons is something that neither the United States nor the community of civilized nations can allow," they said in the letter.
"A nuclear-armed Iran is almost certain to initiate an arms race with other Middle Eastern and Arab nations who have reason to fear the religious, political, and military ambitions of Iran's extremist leaders," the letter said. Calling Iran the "world's leading state sponsor of international terror," the signers said they "must assume" the regime will provide nuclear weapons "to extremist groups that are declared and demonstrated enemies to America and her allies."
The letter was sent a day before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was scheduled to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found Iran has the ability to produce "enough low-enriched uranium to compile almost two nuclear weapons if it is enriched to weapons-grade levels," the letter said. Also, IAEA has noted Iran's refusal to answer inquiries about its nuclear program's military aspects.
"Iran has rejected every effort of the United States, our European allies, the United Nations (UN), and the IAEA to cease its nuclear enrichment program and its provocative military displays, including the testing of intermediate-range missiles," the leaders said in the letter.
The End of Denominational Insurance?
President Obama's health care proposal would spell the end of denominational health insurance programs such as the one run by the Southern Baptist Convention's GuideStone Financial Resources, GuideStone President O.S. Hawkins says.
Speaking at the SBC Executive Committee meeting on September 21, Hawkins said GuideStone, a nonprofit organization, is "closely monitoring" the congressional debate over the health care system. He acknowledged that insurance rates are "out of control" and that "something's got to be done" about it, but he expressed concern over Obama's proposals.
GuideStone isn't alone in its belief that denominational health insurance programs are in jeopardy, Hawkins said. GuideStone, he said, is part of a coalition of thirty-two denomination-backed retirement and health insurance programs.
"[The coalition met] about two months ago, and it was the consensus of every one of those denominations…that if this program goes through that the president wants to go through, there won't be any of us that will have a health insurance program," Hawkins said. "You can't compete with somebody else who doesn't have to not just make a profit, but doesn't even have to break even [and] can print money and support it with your tax dollars."
Hawkins added, "I hear the president say you'll all be able to keep your insurance. The problem is [the insurance companies] that are providing it aren't going to be able to be there for you to keep it."
Hawkins called the debate over health care a "great crisis" and asked for people to pray for the situation.
He also said that while health insurance premium rates have skyrocketed nationally, GuideStone's average rates have decreased 6 percent in the last five years. He did, though, say there will be some increase this year.
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