ERLC focused on human dignity and religious freedom in 2021 | Baptist life
NASHVILLE (BP) âHuman dignity and religious freedom received much of the attention of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission during a year of transition.
As part of its work in 2021, the ERLC has dramatically expanded its placement of ultrasound devices in pregnancy resource centers, the U.S. Supreme Court has asked to overturn its nearly 20-year-old ruling. A half-century that legalized abortion supported religious freedom in various courts. cases and defended oppressed groups abroad.
The ERLC presidential post fell vacant on June 1, when Russell Moore left for a new role. Moore, who served eight years as the entity’s president, became a public theologian for Christianity Today and head of Evangelical Magazine’s new public theology project.
Brent Leatherwood, acting chairman of the committee, told Baptist Press that 2021 “has been a year of challenges and triumphs for the RLCR.”
âAnd while a lot has changed for us this year, a lot has remained the same – including our commitment to carrying out the mission of ministry that the Southern Baptists have given us,â he said in comments. written. âThroughout the year, the commission sought to serve pastors, equip believers, and engage the public.
Whether it’s defending unborn lives, advancing religious freedom, defending the dignity of the oppressed across the world, or bringing a cohesive voice to the kingdom to a fallen culture, we believe our work made the difference. Our team considers it a great privilege and an incredible joy to serve our convention of churches. “
Here are 10 highlights of ERLC’s work in 2021 as reported by BP:
Psalm 139 project multiplies ultrasound placements
Project Psalm 139, the ERLC’s ministry to help provide ultrasound technology to pregnancy centers and train staff in its use, dramatically increased its number of placements in 2021. ERLC placed 25 devices. ultrasound, including its first international donation in Northern Ireland. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee spoke at the unveiling of one of the seven machines placed with a state government grant. Psalm 139 hit half of its goal of 50 placements between December 2020 and January 2023 on the 50e anniversary of the Roe v. Wade of the Supreme Court that legalized abortion across the United States.
ERLC joins High Court appeal to overturn Roe decision
The ERLC signed a friend of the court dossier with other pro-life organizations and joined with Mississippi in urging the United States Supreme Court not only to uphold the state’s ban on abortions after 15 weeks gestation, but also to set aside the Roe v. Wade from 1973. reviews. The High Court heard oral argument in December in the case, which appears to offer the judges the most promising opportunity to overturn Roe in nearly three decades.
Chinese Uyghur genocide leads to SBC resolution, import ban
The messengers of the SBC meeting in June passed a resolution condemning the Chinese Communist Party’s oppression of predominantly Uyghur Muslims in a western region of the world’s most populous country. He also called on the US government to take “concrete actions” to end the genocide. The SBC is said to have become the first Christian denomination to denounce China’s campaign against the Uyghurs as genocide. With exhortation from the ERLC and other organizations, Congress and President Biden enacted in December an import ban on products made by forced labor in China.
Briefs urge High Court to protect religious freedom
The ERLC has filed friend of the court briefs with the Supreme Court in several cases involving freedom of religion. In opinions in two of the cases, the High Court won victories for a student in Georgia and a Catholic foster and adoption agency in Philadelphia. Judges are yet to announce rulings in cases involving a Texas death row inmate who wants a Southern Baptist pastor to pray and lay hands on him during his execution by lethal injection and an expense assistance program of Maine which excludes denominational schools.
ERLC urges Congress to retain Hyde Amendment
The committee urged Congress in several letters in 2021 to continue including the Hyde Amendment and other pro-life endorsements in expense bills. The Hyde Amendment has banned federal funds for Medicaid and other programs from paying for abortions every year since 1976. Messengers of the 2021 SBC meeting approved a resolution denouncing any attempt to overturn the Hyde Amendment .
Technology, pro-life initiatives unveiled by the commission
ERLC staff presented to the directors of the entity at their annual meeting in September plans for cutting-edge work on technological ethics and pro-life issues. The digital public square is designed to provide resources for churches to address the ethical challenges of developing technology. The ERLC will also lead a campaign to help churches engage on the issue of abortion.
ERLC maintains work on COVID-19
The ERLC continued its engagement with the COVID-19 pandemic – providing advice to Christians on vaccine ethics, commenting on court decisions regarding religious freedom and abortion, and urging lawmakers to include protections pro-life in a relief bill. Biden finally signed the US bailout in March without applying the language of the Hyde Amendment to healthcare funding.
Commission calls on president to help Afghans and other refugees
The ERLC joined with other organizations in urging the Biden administration to protect and resettle Afghans threatened when the Taliban took control of their country in August. The commission and its allies also called on the president to establish a special category of refugees for members of religious minorities in Afghanistan who are in danger at the hands of the Taliban and other terrorist groups. The ERLC also urged Biden in October to follow through on his pledge to dramatically increase refugee admissions after a record year.
Caring Well initiative on sexual abuse continues
Caring Well – a collaborative effort of the ERLC and the Sexual Abuse Advisory Group to prevent sexual abuse and care for its survivors – continued three years after its launch through consultations and various resources. In response to a motion at the SBC’s June meeting, ERLC directors voted in September to commit the entity to hire an outside organization for a three-year assessment of sexual abuse in the convention. They also set aside $ 250,000 as an initial commitment for the audit.
ERLC Hosts Sixth Evangelicals for Life Conference
The ERLC hosted Evangelicals for Life for the sixth consecutive year in January, this time via live broadcast due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The commission announced plans for “The Road to Roe50”, a collaborative initiative to unify the pro-life movement, train a new generation of leaders and prepare for the future. It will culminate with an event in Washington, DC, in January 2023 for Roe v. Wade’s 50e birthday.