Thursday, May 28, 2009

Majority of Americans Are Pro-Life

The new Values and Beliefs annual survey, conducted in May by Gallup, has found that 51 percent of Americans call themselves "pro-life" on the issue of abortion and 42 percent call themselves "pro-choice." Seven percent had no opinion. This is the first time a majority of U.S. adults have identified themselves as pro-life since Gallup began asking the question in 1995.

A year ago, 50 percent said they were pro-choice and 44 percent said they were pro-life. Additionally, a recent national survey by the Pew Research Center reported an eight percentage-point decline since last August in those saying abortion should be legal in all or most cases, from 54 percent to 46 percent. Those saying abortion should be legal in only a few or no cases increased from 41 percent to 44 percent.

Is Your Church Prepared to Address Gay Marriage?

Following the Supreme Court of California's decision to uphold the validity of approximately 18,000 same-sex "marriages" from prior to the passage of Prop. 8, churches from around the country have been asking what they can do to protect themselves from being embarrassed in their community or in the media should they choose, as a result of biblical conviction, not to perform ministerial services for or to employ homosexuals.

Does your church have firm legal footing to deny a "legally" married gay couple church membership, to say no to performing a gay marriage, to say no to performing a funeral service celebrating an openly gay lifestyle, or to terminate the employment of a church employee who begins living an openly homosexual or otherwise biblically immoral lifestyle?

Besides facing costly litigation, churches holding a traditional view of marriage can and have been confronted with hostile treatment in local and national media related to actions taken for religious convictions. The potential problems for churches are multiplied where church leadership is caught unprepared in bylaws, employment initiation paperwork, job descriptions, policies, and other fundamental documents. Churches holding a traditional view of marriage are increasingly under attack, and "gay marriage" advocates are not resting.

Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger appearing on "The Tonight Show" on Tuesday commented about the California Supreme Court's decision to uphold California's constitutional amendment protecting marriage: "This is not over, this decision, because I think . . . in a year or two they will be back again with another initiative trying to get it . . . Eventually it's going to be overturned, I'm sure of that."

Gay marriage advocates now publicize that gay marriage is legal in Connecticut, Washington D.C., Maine, Iowa, Vermont, Massachusetts, and soon in New Hampshire and New York. New Jersey, Washington, and Oregon have civil unions or domestic partnership laws on the books. And the District of Columbia, for example, recognizes marriages legally performed in other states. Churches that hold firm to the traditional view of marriage must be prepared in case a couple legally married elsewhere visits with the wrong motives-to change the church rather than to be changed by the Gospel.

If you and/or your congregation come under fire legally and in the media for taking an action based upon biblical convictions, it will be crucial to have your legal ducks in a row. Updating your legal protections does not help after a problem has already come to light. But having the right legal language in place in your bylaws, employment policies, policies and procedure related to permissible use of church facilities, contracts, and other important documents will help your church properly steward its resources, present an accurate witness to the public about its beliefs, and help protect against legal assaults.

One law group assisting churches in defending themselves is the Church Law Group. To ensure your bylaws, handbooks, and employment agreements are clear so that your organization can be armed to properly address this pressing issue, contact:

Anthony and Middlebrook, P.C.
4501 Merlot Avenue, Grapevine, TX 76051
(972) 444-8777

Pastor - You Need A Friend

As pastors, we're good at ministering to those in need. But there are also times when we need support.

It is of utmost importance for pastors to build friendships with other pastors who understand what you're going through.

One way to start is by;

  1. check out the new – a place to hang out with ministry leaders,
  2. start your own blog,
  3. see other people's postings, and
  4. join groups.