Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is well aware of Westboro Baptist Church, their website, and their activities.
Neither the ERLC or the SBC supports their behavior or attitudes of the members of this church, which is NOT affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. Only the smallest minority of Christians hold the beliefs they support.
The Southern Baptist Convention’s ERLC supports members of the U.S. military and their families and works closely with those who minister to those struggling with same-sex attraction. In a resolution adopted by the Southern Baptist Convention in 1999, Southern Baptists, taking note of incidents commonly associated with the likes of the Westboro congregation, denounced “all violent attacks upon homosexuals, and [expressed their] abhorrence of the teaching that God hates any person on account of an immoral lifestyle.”
As evidence of the differences between this “church” and the Southern Baptist Convention, the group at Westboro has regularly picketed the SBC’s offices and its annual meetings.
Regarding the use of “Baptist” in their name, Westboro is not a Southern Baptist church. Their church is an autonomous body; the Southern Baptist Convention has no connection or authority over them. Southern Baptists are as aggrieved as other Americans at their actions.
ERLC staff members deeply regret the hurt inflicted on families by the actions of this group and are hopeful that true Christ-followers will take opportunities to minister and show communities that the actions of the Westboro organization are not at all indicative of an accurate rendering of the Bible’s teachings.
This is a common question. We believe it is appropriate to be pro-life and also to support capital punishment because the Bible clearly takes this position. In Gen. 9:6 God tells Noah that anyone who sheds human blood shall be required to pay in human blood. This requirement was set before Israel came into existence. So one cannot say that it applies only to Israel. The requirement was given to the people who provided the beginning for all human societies.
In Romans 13:4 Paul makes it clear that the requirement of capital punishment is still an appropriate response by civil government for punishing evil. The connection to capital punishment comes from Paul’s use of the word “sword” in Rom. 13:4. Every time he uses this word in Romans, it means “death.” See Romans 8:35-36 as an example.
Perhaps the best way to sum up the biblical teaching is: All people are conceived with the right to life, but some forfeit that right by their actions.
Please visit http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/AMResSearch.asp to examine Southern Baptist Convention resolutions on abortion (or any other issue). Please note particularly the resolution adopted in 1991, entitled “On the Sanctity of Human Life.”
Also visit the Resources on Abortion section of our website.
Southern Baptists and the ERLC have been active in the debate on immigration reform. Robust documentation on this subject may be found in our resources on immigration.
Thank you for concern for those around the world who are being persecuted for their faith.
There are several ministries to persecuted Christians that we can recommend. While we don’t formally relate to these groups, we prayerfully partner with them in their efforts as is appropriate.
Compass Direct News is a good source of news and information on this critical topic.
The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (SBC) is a vocal proponent of human rights and freedom of religious expression for those in spiritual bondage around the world in our country’s foreign policy endeavors. As an appointed member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom , Richard Land (president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission) advocates for these rights as well.
Again, we are grateful for your passionate interest in the plight of our brothers and sisters who are suffering in silence. I hope this information is helpful.