THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn
Oregon and Pennsylvania became the 18th and 19th states to approve same-sex marriage after judges struck down their states’ same-sex marriage bans May 19 and 20.
An Oregon appeals court denied a request to stay the ruling, and no appeal has been filed in Pennsylvania. In both states, the attorney general has said she would not defend the ban.
Earlier in May, Arkansas became the first southern state to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. Arkansas joined the list of states in limbo between a judge’s decision and current law. In Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, the debate is over whether to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Only one same-sex marriage bans remain unchallenged – North Dakota – after lawsuits were filed late last week in Montana and South Dakota. The Minneapolis attorney who filed suit in South Dakota told the Post he will do the same in North Dakota within six to eight weeks.
Same-sex marriages were scheduled to begin June 1 in Illinois after the passage of SB10, the “Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act.” But many counties began issuing licenses after Attorney General Lisa Madigan gave clerks the go-ahead in March.
According to a Gallup poll released May 21, 55% of Americans approve making same-sex marriage legal, including 78% of those in the 18-29 age bracket.
Baptist seminary criticized over admission of Muslim student
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson faced criticism this month when a blogger reported the school had admitted a Muslim student to its Ph.D in archaeology program. Patterson told the Southern Baptist Texan that the student “had had no other options for Ph.D. work in his field,” and that he hoped to win him to faith in Christ. Patterson also said, “We required that the student would agree with our moral standards while a student at Southwestern. It was no problem for him.”
The decision, which Patterson said he is responsible for, was debated online after Oklahoma pastor Wade Burleson published the report on his blog. Trustee chairman Steven James said the board will discuss the issue at its scheduled meeting in September. According to the Texan, Southwestern’s website includes requirements for graduate-level courses including “a mature Christian character” and “desire for Christian ministry.”
Boy Scouts president stands by decisions made last year
Robert Gates, president of the Boy Scouts of America, said he supports the organization’s decision last summer to include openly gay participants, and would have extended the policy change to include adults too. But Gates, a former U.S. Defense Secretary, also said it’s time to let the issue rest, according to a report on ChristianPost.com.
“Given the strong feelings – the passion – involved among our volunteers on both sides of this matter,” Gates said at the organization’s annual meeting May 23, “I believe strongly that to reopen the membership issue or try to take last year’s decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement with the high likelihood that neither side would survive on its own.”
Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting to focus on prayer, revival
Restoration, revival and prayer are the themes of this year’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, scheduled for June 10-11 in a city known for its place in American and Baptist history. And baseball and crab cakes.
SBC President Fred Luter will preside over his final annual meeting as his second one-year term draws to a close. He told Baptist Press this year’s meeting theme is similar to last year’s – revival – with added importance given to prayer. The meeting also will include a Tuesday night revival service. “…We just come for worship and the word,” Luter said. “That’s it. No business will be conducted.”
Three candidates will reportedly be nominated to succeed Luter: Ronnie Floyd, pastor of Cross Church in northwest Arkansas; Dennis Manpoong Kim, pastor of Global Mission Church of Greater Washington, and Jared Moore, pastor of New Salem Baptist Church in Hustonville, Ky. Read more about the SBC Annual Meeting at BPNews.net.