Texas Ethics and Religious Liberties

The Texas Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention works to awaken, inform, energize, equip and mobilize our churches to influence their communities, state, and nation with the Word of God as applied to the current cultural issues.

Pray 4 Officials Logo

The Texas Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee has initiated a strategy to enlist churches and their members to pray for political leaders from the president to the local school board.

The idea for Pray4Officials comes from 1 Timothy 2:1-2, which urges believers to pray for political leaders so that we might “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way,” according to the introductory brochure. “The plan is to provide a sort of chaplaincy ministry for those God has placed in elected leadership over us,” said Gary Ledbetter, SBTC staff liaison to the TERLC. “The committee hopes that in some cases a church or individual can form a personal relationship with an elected official that God might use powerfully in his or her life.”

The Pray4Officials packet consists of a brochure explaining the plan, a response card, a sample prayer list with contact information for some elected officials and a sample prayer card. Interested churches or individuals can request a Pray4Officials packet by calling Gayla Sullivan at 817.552.2500 or email her at gsullivan@sbtexas.com. Follow the Twitter handle @pray4officials, which will include suggested prayer requests as participants learn of specific needs in the lives of elected officials.

Pray4Officials Booklet     Prayergram     Response Card     Sample List

Be informed about what is being taught in your school district. Social-Emotional Learning information HERE, or for more detailed info...

Trojan Horse: Austin ‘anti-bullying’ program pushes progressive views on gender, sexual identity

January 26th, 2017 / By: Bonnie Pritchett | TEXAN Correspondent

AUSTIN—An Austin Independent School District anti-bullying curriculum celebrates diversity and requires inclusivity by abolishing children’s and teachers’ “biased” notions of family and gender norms. “Welcoming Schools: Creating Safe and Supportive Environments for All Students,” which is taught to students as young as 4 years old, affirms same-sex marriage and parenting, gay and lesbian relationships, and transgenderism. Read the Article...

The Human Rights Campaign is national organization that advocates for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights and the affirmation of sexual and gender identities. The organization helps draft local, state, and national LGBT nondiscrimination ordinances which clash with constitutionally protected First Amendment Free Speech and Religious Liberties. www.HRC.org.

The HRC Welcoming Schools curriculum, from which the Austin ISD material is drafted, can be reviewed here. www.welcomingschools.org

“Anti-Bias” education requires teachers and their students to check their preconceived notions – their biases – and to affirm and encourage all expressions of identity. This page has several enlightening links including Chapter One from “Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves,” by Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards. www.naeyc.org/anti-bias-education

What is Social and Emotion Learning as defined by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning? Readers are encouraged to research the organizations funding and providing resources to CASEL which are then disseminated to participating school districts. www.casel.org/what-is-sel

Statistics about bullying were drawn from here: www.stopbullying.gov/index

A few organizations funding and providing curriculum to CASEL:

NoVo Foundation global efforts champion the causes of girls, women, and transgender women. novofoundation.org/pressreleases

1440 Foundation promotes Mindfulness-based stress reduction. 1440foundation.org

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation warns against climate change. www.rwjf.org


SBTC Statement on SB 6, The Texas Privacy Act

The 2017 Texas Legislative Session is about to begin and already under fire is the announcement by Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Senator Lois Kolkhorst of SB 6 which relates to regulations and policies for entering or using a bathroom or changing facility. Some say this is not the role of government, nor should it be a priority based upon all the other issues affecting Texas. But the specifics prove just the opposite.

First of all, this battle was made into an issue by radical groups wanting to force businesses and schools to open their restrooms and changing facilities to the opposite sex like what we have already seen in schools and cities such as Mesquite, Fort Worth, Dripping Springs, Houston, and Plano, Texas. And now we have the filing of SB 165 by Senators Jose Rodriguez, John Whitmire, Sylvia Garcia and Juan Hinojosa. that would give special privileges on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. This bill would allow biological males to enter female restrooms, showers and locker rooms and basically force every business in Texas to give men full access to women's bathrooms.

Public safety is always a role of government and political correctness and social sensitivity to gender identification should never override the state interest of child protection and women's safety. The issue is not whether individuals dealing with gender identity issues would commit crimes in restrooms. The issue is that there have already been numerous cases of crimes such as indecent exposure, indecency with a child, public lewdness, visual recordings, and sexual assault committed in public restrooms by sexual offenders who will utilize all manipulative means to pursue their desired end. Also at stake is the very real issue of peer sexual abuse risk in school restrooms and locker rooms. It is naïve to believe that gender identity will not be used as a claim to gain access to young girls in the women's restroom or locker room.

The Southern Baptist of Texas Convention and Texas Ethics Religious Liberty Committee is in full support of SB 6. This is common sense legislation and sets clear protections for public safety. It also protects businesses, schools, and state agencies from being forced to violate safety standards for restrooms and changing facilities. We thank Lt. Governor Dan Patrick and Senator Lois Kolkhorst for leading on this important issue and we hope that the leadership in the House of Representatives will also be courageous leaders in protecting women and children.

To see more information about the bill Texas Legislature Online


SBTC Testimony Regarding the Care of the Bodies of Aborted Children

The Texas Department of State Health Services is considering rules to ensure the bodies of the unborn (in cases of abortion and other) will be treated with respect and human dignity through cremation or burial, rather than be disposed of as medical waste. Cindy Asmussen, advisor to the SBTC Texas Ethics and Religious Liberty Committee testified in favor of the rules on behalf of the convention. Here is her testimony, delivered August 4.

Follow this link to see the proposed rules.

The Southern Baptist of Texas Convention strongly supports the proposed changes set forth  in the disposition of unborn human beings to not be treated like medical waste. We are grateful to Governor Abbott and many of our state leaders for wanting these important changes and validating every life.

With the sacred life of a baby tragically lost through the practice of abortion or otherwise, our state cannot continue to allow them to be equivalent to clinical waste products, rubbish, or trash and force us to violate ethical standards of morality and our God-given conscience that declares human life to be exalted above trash that is grinded down and thrown into our sewage systems or landfills. We must not continue this uncivilized practice.

There is overwhelming agreement in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings, including medical and science textbooks used in universities all across our country, that the development of a human being begins with fertilization, marking the beginning of each of us as a unique individual having its own DNA distinct from the mother and father. By as early as five weeks the circulatory system of the child in the womb has already begun to form, and the brain, spinal cord, and tiny heart begin to develop and beat.

At six weeks the baby's nose, mouth and ears are starting to take shape and at seven weeks the baby has doubled in size, and little hands and feet  are emerging from the developing arms and legs.

We were told the lie in 1973 that "It’s just a clump of cells” but with the science and technology today, we know this is not true. “Clumps of cells” do not have organs and a heartbeat. Even before these scientific advances it was spoken thousands of years ago to King David in Psalm 139 that God formed our inward parts; covered us in our mother’s womb, that we are  fearfully and wonderfully made, our frame was not hidden from Him and His eyes saw our substance, being yet unformed and He had a plan for our lives before one of our days began.

We believe the very soul of an individual exists in the womb and that all human life is created by God and we are made in His image. Each person is of inestimable value, regardless of his or her level of function. This view of the dignity of a human being is critical to a moral foundation for how we could all be treated at some point in our society.

With all things there must be a yardstick that measures actions against an absolute set of standards. Without a standard, justice could not exist; without an ethical absolute, morality could not exist.

We would be horrified if we came upon the body of an abandoned baby in the garbage or elsewhere and would never consider walking by and turning a blind eye. As well, let us not abandon and turn a blind eye to the unborn now or ever. We ask you to adopt these humane policy changes and do the right thing by giving them a proper burial.

Ministry Index