Wednesday, May 05, 2010Download All Stories
Is religious speech on line in Thursday's U.K. election?
LONDON (BP)--Freedom to criticize homosexuality in the United Kingdom may be on the line when British citizens go to the polls Thursday to elect a new Parliament and a new prime minister.British voters won't be electing a social conservative to reside at 10 Downing Street no matter which party wins.At issue is a section of British law often known as the Waddington amendment that makes it clear that criticizing homosexuality is not prohibited.
Although all three major candidates for prime minister back "gay rights" in various forms, Conservative Party leader David Cameron is the only one to support the amendment, which was added to a same-sex hate crimes law. Parliament tried but failed to overturn the free speech safeguards last year, and Prime Minister Gordon Brown -- the Labour Party leader -- said he is committed to try once again to strike the amendment.
The amendment is in the spotlight now because of the recent case of a 42-year-old Baptist, Dale McAlpine, who was arrested April 20 for street preaching against homosexuality in the British town of Workington. According to the Telegraph newspaper, McAlpine was charged with causing "harassment, alarm or distress" after a police officer -- who happened to be homosexual -- overheard him telling a woman that 1 Corinthians forbids homosexuality. The officer warned him to be quiet, and when he didn't, he was arrested. He was charged and jailed for seven hours under what is known as the Public Order Act, although his supporters say his speech was protected under the Waddington amendment.
The incident is just an example, some say, of what could become the norm if the Waddington amendment is nixed. Reversing the law "would jeopardize Christians expressing their traditional beliefs on sexual ethics," Mike Judge, a spokesman for the Christian Institute, based in Newcastle in the U.K., told Baptist Press.
"[T]he parties differ over whether speech like Dale's should be criminal," Judge said. "... On the issue of free speech when it comes to traditional beliefs on that one issue, there are clear differences."
But British voters won't be electing a social conservative to reside at 10 Downing Street -- the prime minister's residence -- no matter which party wins. Instead, conservative Christians in the country who are choosing between the governing Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats will be -- as the old saying goes -- voting for the "least worst" option.
That's mainly because the leader of the Conservatives -- normally the party with the most socially conservative candidate -- is more socially liberal than many past Conservative leaders, such as William Hague, the Conservative leader during the 2001 election. Read More
D.C. 'gay marriage' foes hopeful
WASHINGTON (BP)--Supporters of an effort to give citizens of the District of Columbia the right to vote on the definition of marriage expressed hope after the D.C. Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the controversial case May 4. Read More
D.C. council approves medical marijuana
WASHINGTON (BP)--The nation's capital is set to join 14 states in allowing marijuana to be used as a treatment for ailments after the D.C. City Council gave final approval and sent a bill to the mayor for an expected signature. Read More
'Need is so great,' exec says of TN floodNASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--All of the 185 churches in the Nashville Baptist Association were impacted by the record Middle Tennessee flood in some way, with some seeing nearly half their congregation suffering flood damage, the association's director said May 5. Read More
IMB trustees plan for interim presidency
CHICAGO (BP)--International Mission Board trustees meeting in Chicago, May 4-5, made plans for an interim presidency if no candidate for president has been voted into office by July 31. If no candidate is brought forward and elected by the July date, when current president Jerry Rankin retires, trustees will name Clyde Meador interim president.
Meador, current IMB executive vice president, is from Albuquerque, N.M. He has served the IMB nearly seven years in that role and was under missiona... Read More
Jimmy Jackson discusses his SBC candidacy
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following interview of Jimmy Jackson, one of the three SBC presidential candidates, is to be published in the May 6 edition of The Christian Index.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--J. Gerald Harris, editor of the Christian Index (www.christianindex.org), newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention, conducted the following interview with Jimmy Jackson, pastor of Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Ala., and one of three announced candidates for president of the Southern B... Read More
Ted Traylor discusses his SBC candidacy
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following interview of Ted Traylor, one of the three SBC presidential candidates, is to be published in the May 6 edition of The Christian Index.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--J. Gerald Harris, editor of the Christian Index (www.christianindex.org), newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention, conducted the following interview with Ted Traylor, pastor of Olive Baptist Church in Pensacola, Fla., and one of three announced candidates for president of the Southern Baptist Con... Read More
Bryant Wright discusses his SBC candidacy
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following interview of Bryant Wright, one of the three SBC presidential candidates, was published in the April 8 edition of The Christian Index.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--J. Gerald Harris, editor of The Christian Index (www.christianindex.org), newsjournal of the Georgia Baptist Convention, conducted the following interview with Bryant Wright, pastor of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church in Marietta, Ga., and one of three announced candidates for president of the Southern Bapt... Read More
Nev. pastor to be Pastors' Conf. nominee
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--Vance Pitman, pastor of Hope Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nev., will be nominated president of the Southern Baptist Pastors' Conference next month in Orlando, Mac Brunson, pastor of First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, announced May 4.
"In a day when the Great Commission is gaining momentum in Southern Baptist life and church planting is at a high premium, Vance has demonstrated that the Gospel works out west and that keeping Baptist in your name is still an asset, n... Read More