By / Feb 22

Welcome to the ERLC Podcast where our goal is to help you think biblically about today’s cultural issues. Today on the podcast, we’re talking about pro-life advocacy with author and speaker, Scott Klusendorf.

As part of the ERLC Podcast, we will feature special episodes from the Research team from time to time to help equip you to think deeply about the most pressing questions we face in the public square.  

As we continue our series on life, the Research team is bringing you a special interview today with Scott Klusendorf, the author of The Case for Life. Scott is a respected pro-life speaker and advocate, best known for his work with the Life Training Institute which prepares Christians to be able to articulate and defend the pro-life movement with rational and theological arguments. He has participated in debates against abortion advocates such as the Planned Parenthood directors and attorneys who have argued for abortion access before the Supreme Court. Each year, he trains thousands of pro-life students how to share their beliefs with their classmates and helps them understand the common objections to ending abortion. 

We hope that this long-form interview will help you begin to understand that Christian pro-life advocacy must be rooted in the image of God and is an intellectually defensible and coherent worldview. 

Thanks for listening to this production of the ERLC Podcast. Join us next time as we focus on the ERLC’s policy work, especially as it relates to life. 

The ERLC podcast is a production of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is produced by Lindsay Nicolet and Elizabeth Bristow. Technical production is provided by Owens Productions. It is edited and mixed by Mark Owens.

By / Feb 15

The Texas Baptist Christian Life Commission (CLC) and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) are partnering through the ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project to provide a new ultrasound machine at the Legacy Pregnancy Resource Center in Hobbs, a southeastern New Mexico city that sits just four miles from the Texas border.

Shared commitment to ‘culture of life’

Although abortion was essentially banned in the state of Texas following Roe v. Wade’s reversal and subsequent anti-abortion laws, Katie Frugé, director of Texas Baptists’ Center for Cultural Engagement and the Christian Life Commission, said that the neighboring state of New Mexico remains an option for women seeking abortions.

“We know several abortion-vulnerable women are now traveling out of state to seek services, and we want to help support the crisis pregnancy center in Hobbs as they experience an influx of women in need of support and services,” explained Frugé.

“Texas Baptists proudly affirms the sanctity and dignity of all human life,” Frugé said. “This partnership with the ERLC is the result of our shared commitment to continuing to work to grow a culture of life in a post-Roe world.”

The ERLC added that the abortion industry has targeted Hobbs because of its location and already sees many clients from Texas. With a junior college and a four-year university in the city, Legacy has recently seen an increase in client appointments, averaging about 70 per month. They are excited to see Texas Baptists join forces to resource the city better and provide alternatives to those seeking abortions.

“At the ERLC, we are overjoyed when we can partner with state conventions as we stand for life together. This placement in Hobbs, N.M., in partnership with the BGCT, is unique since the state convention is reaching beyond its borders and giving with a missional mindset to serve their neighbors in an abortion-permissible state,” said Rachel Wiles, director of ERLC’s Psalm 139 Project.

Psalm 139 Project exists to make people aware of the life-saving potential of ultrasound technology in unplanned pregnancy situations and to help pregnancy centers minister to abortion-vulnerable women by providing ultrasound equipment for them to use.

Read the full Texas Baptists article here.

By / Feb 8

Today, we’re talking about adoption and foster care in the U.S. Welcome to the ERLC Podcast where our goal is to help you think biblically about today’s cultural issues.

We believe it’s clear in God’s Word that his perfect design is for many people to eventually unite as one man and one woman in a lifetime of marriage. That marriage, in many cases, leads to the blessing of children and establishes a family that glorifies God and benefits society. Unfortunately, in a fallen world, reality is messy. Marriage is put off and misunderstood. Families are broken and difficult. Infertility is faced far too often. And children are vulnerable and in need. 

That’s where adoption and foster care comes in to provide care for these children and help them find the loving and safe families that they were made for. The need for these ministries, organizations, and for people to get involved has only grown since the Dobbs decision overturning a federal right to abortion. 

Joining us on this episode is Herbie Newell, someone who understands this reality more than most. He’s the president & executive director of Lifeline Children’s Services and its ministry arms. Under Herbie’s leadership, Lifeline has increased international outreach to 25 countries through adoption and strategic orphan care, obtained licensure in 17 states, and established the foster care arm at Lifeline. 

The ERLC podcast is a production of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is produced by Lindsay Nicolet and Elizabeth Bristow. Technical production is provided by Owens Productions. It is edited and mixed by Mark Owens.

By / Jan 24

WASHINGTON (BP) – A trio of pro-life bills, endorsed by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, were either introduced, reintroduced or passed on Thursday, Jan. 18.

The Pregnancy Center Support Act was introduced to the Senate on Thursday, while the Unborn Child Support Act was reintroduced the same day. Additionally, the previously introduced Pregnant Students’ Rights Act passed the House on Thursday.

These updates took place one day before the annual March for Life, and three days before Sanctity of Life Sunday on the SBC Calendar.

Hannah Daniel, ERLC public policy director, praised the work of the lawmakers involved with the bills.

“At a time when lawmakers have been timid to voice pro-life convictions, I was encouraged to see legislative activity pushing forward the cause of life last week,” Daniel said.

At the ERLC, we are celebrating the passage of the Pregnant Students’ Rights Act along with the introduction of the Pregnancy Center Support Act and the Unborn Child Support Act. These bills recognize the dignity and personhood of the preborn and also tangibly assist new mothers and families to choose life.

Hannah Daniel

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

By / Jan 22

WASHINGTON (BP) – Thousands of Americans braved snowy conditions Friday (Jan. 19) in support of the pro-life cause during the 51st annual March for Life.

This year’s March for Life gathering marked the second time the event has been held since the historic overturning of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 2022, returning abortion legislation to the states.

It was the court’s Roe decision, handed down in January 1973, which inspired the first March for Life event, held the following year in 1974.

Since that first March, pro-life Americans (including many evangelical Christians) have come together each January near the Capitol in Washington, D.C., to support the cause and re-affirm their commitment to protect unborn children and care for their mothers.

The event is understood to be the world’s largest annual human rights demonstration.

Among those marching Friday were many staff members of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC).  

ERLC policy director Hannah Daniel advocates for pro-life causes year-round through the Leland House located on Capitol Hill.

Each year, the March for Life is an opportunity for the pro-life movement to come together and refocus our efforts on the goal: saving lives. The theme of this year’s march, ‘With every woman, for every child,’ points to the road ahead. As we continue to work towards a day where abortion is illegal, we must also come alongside women who are vulnerable with care and support, empowering them to choose life.

Hannah Daniel

For Julie Masson, ERLC director of communications, marching is a family affair.

“This is my fourth time participating in the March for Life, and each year I’m amazed at how many different people come to D.C. for this event,” Masson said.

“I’m joined this year by my teenage daughter, and it’s been wonderful to see the March through her eyes. The March for Life is another opportunity for the ERLC to communicate our commitment to advocating for the most vulnerable among us. We will continue to serve mothers and save lives through our public policy priorities.”

This year’s March for Life takes place just two days before Sanctity of Life Sunday in the Southern Baptist Convention (Jan. 21), marking the 39th year of observance of the day on the SBC Calendar.

Read the full Baptist Press article here.

By / Jan 19

Watch as Brent Leatherwood explains why the ERLC, among other Southern Baptists, gathers at the March for Life and also clarifies what it’s going to take to promote a culture of life in our country. Additionally, he shares about the Psalm 139 Project, a ministry of the ERLC that places life-saving ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers.

By / Jan 18

(RNS) — Last January, March for Life participants gathered for the first time after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, celebrating a long-sought victory even as they shifted their focus to the state level — the new battleground in the enduring abortion debate.

A year later, after a series of disappointments for the organization, in which more than half a dozen state ballot initiatives strengthened access to abortion, abortion opponents will gather again for the annual D.C. march, even as March for Life also plans at least 16 state-level marches this year, double that of 2023.

Brent Leatherwood, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said he plans to represent his organization at the national march, as has long been its tradition. In contrast to Manson’s view about abortion rights and religious freedom, he said: “You can’t have rights that are at the expense of a life, especially a defenseless innocent life.”

Leatherwood said the road ahead will be a prolonged one for those who share his opposition to abortion.

I think the recent setbacks at the state level with ballot initiatives, various proposals in legislatures, are just a reminder that this is going to be a long path that we’re walking. And even though we may get various proposals passed or policy enacted, this question is not something that can be solved purely through policy. It is still very much a heart question.

Brent Leatherwood

Read the full Religion News Service article here.

By / Jan 18

A year ago, anti-abortion activists from across the U.S. gathered for their annual March for Life with reason to celebrate: It was their first march since the Supreme Court, seven months earlier, had overturned the nationwide right to abortion.

At this year’s march, on Friday, the mood will be very different — reflecting formidable challenges that lie ahead in this election year.

The key consequence of Dobbs was to return decision-making on abortion policy to individual states. Some Democratic-governed states — such as California, New York and New Jersey — have strengthened protections for abortion access. Roughly 20 states with Republican-controlled legislatures have either banned abortion or sought to impose new restrictions.

After Dobbs, “I didn’t want anyone to get the false sense that we were at the end of our work,” said Brent Leatherwood, an abortion opponent who heads the Southern Baptist Convention’s public policy wing.

We’ve gone from a focal point at the federal level to 50 different focal points. It may be another 50 years before we truly establish a culture of life, where preborn lives are saved and mothers are supported.

Brent Leatherwood

Read the full Associated Press article here.

By / Jan 11

January 21, 2024 is the 40th annual Sanctity of Life Sunday.

Our call as Christians to love our neighbors and and our belief that every person is created in the image of God compels us to live pro-life. However, the more I consider how churches can foster a pro-life culture, the more I’m convinced that the steps are small and doable for almost any pastor, leader, or member to begin today.

We created a free, downloadable bulletin insert for use in your church on Sanctity of Life Sunday (January 21), the day we hope Southern Baptist churches will take time to pray for the future of the pro-life movement as we seek to be a new culture of life where lives are saved, mothers are served, and families will flourish.

Color Color Two-up Grayscale Grayscale Two-up

To see additional SBC event dates, visit sbc.net/calendar.

To learn more about the ERLC’s pro-life work, visit Psalm139Project.org. The Psalm 139 Project is an initiative designed to make people aware of the life-saving potential of ultrasound technology in unplanned pregnancy situations and to help pregnancy centers minister to abortion-vulnerable women by providing ultrasound equipment for them to use. Through this project individuals can give toward the placement of ultrasound machines in qualified pregnancy care centers. Simply put, it’s all about saving lives.

By / Jan 11

Welcome to episode #348 on The ERLC Podcast where our goal is to help you think biblically about today’s cultural issues. Today, we’re starting a new series that will focus on life. In this first episode, we’ll discuss what you should know about the pro-life movement after Roe.

Dignity of all human life

God’s Word, from the very beginning, affirms the dignity of all human life. Genesis 1 tells us that at the end of the creation process, “God said, ’Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.’ … 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” This reveals to us that every person is made in the imago Dei, the image of God. And this means that every life, regardless of age, ability, or any other feature, has infinite value that cannot be taken away. The rest of the Bible unwaveringly affirms this truth. 

Pro-life movement after Roe

The pro-life movement is grounded in this reality and, most fundamentally, has sought to protect our tiniest citizens from the horrors of abortion. The culmination of this work was realized on June 24, 2022, a historic day of celebration as the Supreme Court ruled to overturn the constitutional right to abortion and return abortion legislation back to the states. This was a long-time unifying goal of the pro-life movement. According to The New York Times, since the court’s ruling, abortion access has dropped overall, with 21 states banning or restricting it and others reinforcing abortion protections.

However, the fight for life and the mission of the pro-life movement is far from over, and there’s still much work to be done on the local, state, and federal levels. New frontiers have arisen, with abortion tourism, or travel for abortions across state lines, and chemical abortions, or abortion pills, gaining momentum across our country. 

As we begin our series, we’ll talk to several guests who will give us a clear picture of the current state of the pro-life movement since last year’s historic Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision. 

This week’s podcast guests: Benjamin Watson, Herbie Newell, and Dr. Bart Barber

You’ll hear from Benjamin Watson, a former NFL tight end, as well as a writer, speaker, and activist. He is the author of, “The New Fight for Life: Roe, Race, and a Pro-Life Commitment to Justice.” He serves as vice president of strategic relationships with the Human Coalition, one of the largest pro-life and pro-woman organizations in the country. Along with his wife, Kirsten, he is the founder of The Watson 7 Foundation, a nonprofit focused on strengthening families. The Watsons live in Georgia with their seven children.

Also joining us is Herbie Newell, president & executive director of Lifeline Children’s Services and its ministry arms. He holds a Master’s of Business Administration in Accounting from Samford University. Under Herbie’s leadership, Lifeline has increased international outreach to 25 countries through adoption and strategic orphan care, obtained licensure in 17 states, and established the foster care arm at Lifeline. 

Finally, you’ll hear from Dr. Bart Barber, who is pastor of First Baptist Church of Farmersville, Texas, and president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Our goal on the ERLC Podcast is to help you think biblically about today’s cultural issues. As we discuss important topics that matter to Southern Baptists, you might have additional questions. We’d love to hear from you. Please e-mail us at [email protected] and let us know how you’re processing the conversations featured on the podcast. 

And just a reminder, we want to make sure you are kept up to date about the important work the ERLC is doing on behalf of Southern Baptists. The best way to do that is by joining us at ERLC.com/updates. Signing up for email updates allows you to hear directly from us about our work and ways we are serving you on the issues that matter most to Southern Baptists. 

The ERLC podcast is a production of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It is produced by Lindsay Nicolet and Elizabeth Bristow. Technical production is provided by Owens Productions.  It is edited and mixed by Mark Owens.