BALTIMORE (RNS) Southern Baptists prayed Wednesday (June 11) that the Supreme Court would rule in favor of the Green family, the evangelical owners of the Hobby Lobby craft chain that challenged the contraception mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

During its annual conference in Baltimore, Southern Baptists prayed that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in favor of Hobby Lobby's owners, members of the Green Family, who challenged the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate. Creative Commons photo by Nicholas Eckhart

During its annual conference in Baltimore, Southern Baptists prayed that the U.S. Supreme Court would rule in favor of Hobby Lobby’s owners, members of the Green Family, who challenged the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. Creative Commons photo by Nicholas Eckhart

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“God, we ask for a favorable, favorable ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States for the cause of religious liberty,” prayed the Rev. Ronnie Floyd, incoming president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

Historians said the prayer from the podium during the SBC’s annual meeting about a pending court decision was noteworthy, though Southern Baptists have preached and issued statements for years on current events.

“I think it’s unusual for it to happen at a convention event,” said Bill Sumners, director of the Southern Baptist Historical Library and Archives.

Randall Balmer, chair of the religion department at Dartmouth College, said it was striking that the convention would be “blatant about a judicial matter.”

“I suppose to some degree they feel as though they’re reeling from the various same-sex marriage rulings and trying to regain their momentum” in court decisions, he said.

Steve and Jackie Green, who attend a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma, were honored during the Baptists’ annual meeting and given a standing ovation. They have been heralded by conservative Christians for challenging the mandate that they believe would require them to cover abortion-inducing drugs as part of their employee insurance plans.

“This is an award for demonstrating a steadfast commitment to religious liberty by your unwillingness to separate your faith from the daily operation of your business,” said Russell Moore, president of the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, before handing the award to the Greens.

Saeed Abedini, a U.S. pastor was arrested In Iran in 2012.

Saeed Abedini, a U.S. pastor, was arrested In Iran in 2012.

The ERLC also honored Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor who has been imprisoned under brutal conditions in Tehran for his house church work. His award was accepted by his wife, Naghmeh Abedini, who has worked for his release.

Floyd prayed that Abedini would be freed.

“We pray for his release,” Floyd said in his petition. “We ask you again — in the name of Jesus, let him go!”

Moore was questioned by a couple of delegates who were concerned about his joining other evangelicals in supporting comprehensive immigration reform. The ERLC president responded that he does not support “blanket amnesty” but supports a just alternative to the current situation that has divided families and prompted fears of deportation.

Russell Moore, left, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, presented awards June 11, 2014, to, left to right, Jackie and Steve Green of Hobby Lobby and Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini.

Russell Moore, left, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, presented awards June 11, 2014, to, left to right, Jackie and Steve Green of Hobby Lobby and Naghmeh Abedini, wife of imprisoned Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini.RNS photo by Adelle M. Banks

 This image is available for web and print publication. For questions, contact Sally Morrow.

“When we’re talking about immigration reform, we’re talking about justice, about rule of law and we’re talking about compassion for those who are in a very vulnerable situation in our country right now,” Moore said.

As the Southern Baptist meeting concluded Wednesday, representatives of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests passed out fliers outside urging the denomination to take stronger steps to safeguard children from abuse and prevent cover-ups of clergy sexual offenders.

Roger “Sing” Oldham, spokesman for the SBC’s Executive Committee, said Southern Baptists are regularly reminded that they are responsible for reporting child abuse accusations to local authorities.

“The Southern Baptist Convention remains clear and unambiguous in its condemnation of sex abuse of any kind and views molestation of innocent children as particularly heinous,” he said.



  1. “Randall Balmer, chair of the religion department at Dartmouth College, said it was striking that the convention would be ‘blatant about a judicial matter.’ ”

    The Christian Fascists are coming.
    You better pray. Or else.

      • @Brian,

        Name ONE state where the Christian Taliban and Christian Sharia are not careening into the rest of us:

        State Legalized Murder of Doctors – South Dakota, 2 other states

        Mandatory Trans-vaginal probes – Virginia Legislature

, 4 other states
        Preaching the Bible in public schools – funded by Hobby Lobby

        Prayer at Government meetings- ALL states
        Blocking people from family planning – Texas, 5 other states.

        Obstruction of prescriptions – Illinois, Washington

        Discrimination as religious choice -Arizona (such as SB-1062)

        Anti-Gay laws – Texas
 & elsewhere

        Anti-women’s rights laws – 8
        Biased Counseling laws – South Dakota

, 12 other states
        Creationism to replace Science Education: 12 States
        “Intelligent Design” to replace Scientific theories – 4 states

        If Jesus needs Government programs and handouts like these
        He should be thrown out of town.

        Keep your Jesus at home, with your families and at church.
        Pray in public as long as you like – no problem.
        JUST DON”T INCLUDE ME and DON’T FORCE ME TO JOIN YOUR TALIBAN and we will get along fine. 

      • An employer considering his employees either as personal property or playthings for his religious beliefs comes to mind. The idea that money and a modicum of political power gives one the right to override the rights and beliefs of anyone they have a bit of personal control over.

        Southern Baptists have a long history supporting measures that treat human beings like property (or literally AS property)

  2. “Southern Baptists are regularly reminded
    that they are responsible for reporting child abuse accusations
    to local authorities.”

    And that puts SoBa’s child abuse policy WAY AHEAD of the Catholics who continue to harbor and coddle the pedophile priests.

    But if this is the mark of virtue it is no better than the same policy at KFC or Disney Land. And it is rightly concerned about children but also about consequences – like lawsuits.

    • Your evidence for Your accusations against the Catholic Church would be … ? Your evidence Southern Baptists are worried about lawsuits would be … ?

      • samuel Johnston

        Come on Brian, been vacationing on another planet for the last decade? The worldwide pedophile “cover up” scandal has resulted in exactly one Bishop being found guilty, but not yet having had his “punishment” decided, and two more accused, but not yet tried.
        The priests who have been punished, have largely been prosecuted by civil, not Church proceedings. Civil authorities getting access to documents from the Church has been obstructed at every turn.
        As for Christian Fascists “coming”. I completely disagree. The Catholic Church has always been so, at least since the Council of Nicaea, 325C.E.. If you want the disgusting details try “The Death of Classical Paganism, by John Holland Smith
        ISBN 0-684-14449-2.

      • @Brian,

        A small sampling of the

        1. JOHN WYCLIFF – first to translate the Bible into English. Pope Martin V in 1428 c.e. had his dead body exhumed and burned at the stake.

        2. INDULGENCES – the blatant con game of extracting money from wealthy people to buy forgiveness for sins against God. Strongly recommended as recently as 2007 by Pope Benedict.

        3. JAN HUS – 1411 c.e. – burned alive at the stake for realizing his Catholic priesthood was built on lies. His attempts at reform led to his horrific execution.

        4. INQUISITION – 1100 c.e. Catholic Priests arrested people of various faiths, tortured them, forced confession of sins, forced conversions and executed untold thousands to death by various means of torture and burnings. The INQUISITION is still practiced in parts of the world where Catholics can have people arrested and harassed for heresy but without the torture and executions which were only outlawed only in the last century.

        5. WITCH HUNTS – 1480 -2014 c.e.
        100,000 PEOPLE burned at the stake so their souls would ‘be purified by the fire’ as Catholic Doctrine still teaches. (ei: Mother Teresa’s love of pain, African Missionaries). Witch burnings continue in Africa today.

        6. CRUSADES – 1195 c.e. – 1275.
        Killed 2,000,000 innocents. Soldiers were bribed by the Catholic Church with notes of indulgences meaning their souls would go to heaven for killing people as soldiers for Christ with ‘god on our side’.
        Dictators have used this argument ever since – The Nazis wore ‘Got mitt Uns’ on their belt buckles for the same reason: “God on our Side.”
        The biblical argument of Jesus was clear: “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me.” – Jesus (Luke 19:27)

        7. POGROMS AGAINST JEWS – 75 C.E – 2014. This hasn’t stopped. The Holocaust was the biggest pogrom of all killing 6 million Jews. The first Peace Treaty the Nazis signed with any government was with the VATICAN in 1933. And the Pope, as a result, did nothing to stop Hitler.

        8. SUPPORT FOR THE USTASE – 600,000 killed in Croatia – many by Catholic Priests and Bishops directly. The Vatican ‘Ratline’ saved the perpetrators by sending them to Argentina to escape justice.

        9. SEXUAL ABUSE BY THE CLERGY – Untold thousands of children raped, sexually molested and otherwise abused by predatory priests. 30,000 cases in the United States alone.

        10. RWANDAN GENOCIDE – Perpetrated by Catholic Priests, and church leaders killed 800,000 fellow Rwandans in an explosion of fear against ‘the devil’ – which they decided had to be all of the Tutsis.
        Killer priest, Father Serromba was not only murdered 2000 himself, he was protected by the Vatican for years before he was sentenced by an international tribunal.


        “Love *YOUR* enemies” – Jesus
        “But EXECUTE *MY ENEMIES* IN FRONT OF ME.” – Jesus (LUKE 19:27)

  3. mike in wisconsin

    A public confidence in institutions poll taken in 2011 placed confidence in organized religion at 48 percent. A similar poll taken this year placed confidence in religion at only 24 percent–a drop of 50 percent in just three years. While still a minority, the ranks of the religiously unaffiliated (Nones) are rapidly growing.

    Recent news stories about the Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics make me see hope in the continued rapid decline of organized religion.

    The Dalai Lama once said that religion could do a lot to heal the problems of the world, but that far too often the medicine becomes poison. Conservative Christians, Muslims and Jews seem to go out of their way to prove him right.

    • Mike, Exactly.
      Millions of people are realizing that all religion is poison and the infection must be defeated at its source. It is not just the angry atheists anymore.

      The Clergy Project started helping unbelieving pastors
      leave religion only 4 years ago with a handful of Atheist priests
      who needed help figuring out how to leave their parishes.

      Today The Clergy Project has grown to more than 1000 priests and pastors – and the process is very discreet – but the numbers don’t lie !

      The Clergy Project is doing astounding work and is one of the fastest growing services in the country to help people get out of religion. It helps that thousands of churches are closing everywhere as well.

      These unbelieving priests have nowhere else to turn.

  4. I will say this without hesitation, anyone who thinks Hobby Lobby is exercising religious rights is an idiot. Anyone who is an employee of a company who supports Hobby Lobby is a bigger idiot. They are supporting measures to treat themselves as property.

    1. There is no such thing as corporate religious belief. There can’t be such a thing as corporate religious belief.

    2. Ruling in favor of corporate religion means all employees are automatically considered unwilling conscripted members of the “corporate faith”. An attack on the free exercise of religion of employees.

    3. Free exercise of religion does not excuse one from paying taxes or abiding by a law of general application. Including labor laws.

    4. Free exercise of religion does not entail attacking the rights of others.

    5. Health benefits are compensation for work rendered. An employer has no more legitimate say in how it is provided to a worker than they have in how a paycheck is used.

    Ronnie Floyd has just pegged himself as a stooge for conservative politicians and a fool with no concept of what religious liberty means.

  5. Chaplain Martin

    Brother Max you have been busy. Writing comment after comment against religion, the Catholic church with some against “SoBa” for good measure. John Wycliff,and Jan Hus are two of my hero’s add to that Martin Luther, Thomas Helwys (who died in New Gate prison along with his wife, because of King James), Anne Hutchinson (Early American champion of religious freedom), John Leland who influenced both Madison and Jefferson in his quest for religious freedom. Helwys and Leland were Baptist but I think they would be appalled at the SBC of today.
    Inquisition: Those people who were being terribly abused and then executed were mostly Christians who believed in the Bible but not the way the Church taught them. They died (including Bible believing priest) for their faith.

    In your searching a bit and cut/pasting try searching a little deeper and you may find out just find out why it is that people through the centuries have died for their faith.
    Your discuss about the Catholic Church of which your were once a part is evident in everything you write. Most of what I read and know about the present Southern Baptist Convention sickens me. You and I can keep ranting only to vent our spleen of we can stop the negative rants and do something to protect the children (I have counseled both the offenders and the victims). Victims are affected for the rest of their lives.

    Religion will never be stamped out, people have an internal “spiritual vacuum which longs to be filled”.

    • Chaplain Martin

      Sorry about by errors in spelling and grammar, should have proof read in my previous comment. Max, you have beaten Luke 19:27 to death and you are still wrong.

      • @Chaplain Martin,

        First, let me say I am happy to help any victims I can whatever the problem is. But in the case of childhood rape, that is simply out of my league. It is for professionals… or at least people who understand it. I have been a good leader in educating young people in the past – I’m semi retired now – but I would be woefully lost in trying to counsel such a devastating assault on one’s psychological and physical personal space.

        But do not dismiss my efforts to help victims of religion.

        What I do here on these comment sections is nothing but a reflection of what I am doing elsewhere. There are far more of victims of religion than of child abuse and religious indoctrination and its dangers is a psychological assault all its own – and it is something I do know a lot about!

        The immorality of Jesus, of Yahweh, of Allah is at the top of my concern. If RNS shows nothing else, it that the deep immorality of referring one’s value toward and invisible, unanswerable authority may be the biggest problem in the world today.

        Take the singularly distracting and counterproductive nonsense of Eschatology. The idea that we should find warm comfort in the approach of a global Armageddon.

        Want to help people? What to do something constructive?
        REJECT this BS. Because nuclear weapons in the hands of those who feel that ‘God is on their side’ is not going to end well.

        And no. God is not coming to rescue anyone’s soul.
        It is nonsense. And it is deeply immoral to preach it.

      • As for Luke 19:27:

        “bring to me those enemies of mine who would not have me as their King and execute them in front of me.” – Jesus

        I cannot beat it enough!
        It is a disgrace to humanity. And I am NOT wrong.
        The lesson of the parable is “fear” and “obedience” or else – I challenge you to come up with a different lesson from that disgusting story.

        Many Atheists pick on the Old Testament. But that one is clearly easy to destroy.
        Even Christians disown it!
        Until they are reminded that they can’t because that is where God put the Commandments, and Jonah who Jesus refers to, and Noah who the gospels refer to, and the prophecies which Jesus has to fulfill and….you see what I mean?

        But I love ripping up the New Testament. In many ways it is worse than the Old one.

        Not until sweet Jesus do we get eternal torture.
        Only sweet Jesus ensures heaven is closed off to us. Only sweet Jesus makes sinning so inevitable we are all doomed and he convinces us to hate ourselves for even trying.

        There are thousands of very strong reasons to reject Jesus on the matter of morality alone.

        Consider this:
        Unlike the Old Testament, it is impossible to be magnanimous in the New Testament. The entire enterprise of Jesus makes ‘being a giving person’ impossible because Jesus ties all good deeds to the deed of a slave.
        That is why I harp so much on Luke 19:27.

        And EVEN when Jesus is at his best reciting principles of the Golden Rule (which would require no gods anyway) as in Matthew 25:31-40
        it is just a set up for abjection, fear and obedience:

        “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
        “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
        “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
        “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, YOU DID FOR ME.’”

        This is why I make it clear that Luke 19:27 is so immoral:

        “bring to me those enemies of mine that would not have me as their king and execute them in front of me.” – Jesus

        Clearly, the understanding about obedience and fear is crystal clear. And deeply immoral.

        Morality is doing what is right no matter what you are told.
        Religion is doing what you are told no matter what is right.

        And that is why people are routinely slaughtered for Jesus.

        Jesus said, “Love your enemies”
        But he also said, “Kill mine.”

        I can’t think of anything more immoral.

    • @Chaplain,

      You said, “Religion will never be stamped out, people have an internal “spiritual vacuum which longs to be filled”.”

      Oh, I’m not sure. I was under the spell as strongly as anyone and it is gone now.
      And part of why I don’t succumb to that spell anymore is that I can produce it at will. I can re-create the feeling that God is listening to me. I can pick up my rosary and pray – very peaceful.

      But I know what is going on. I am tapping into something that we are all born with; the evolutionary (and deeply infantile) need to find one’s mother or father.

      It is always there when you are in a jam and you don’t know what to do. A little voice in your head says, ‘help’.

      I fully accept this feeling. I know that I’m built to create it. And thanks to education and reading about evolutionary biology I realize that it is completely natural.

      The search for a parent is a remnant from infancy, like baby teeth which we grow out of, or baby hair which falls off and is replaced. And like those things there is no need for it.
      It is maintained and nurtured by an industry called religion – but thanks to the spread of knowledge on the internet people are growing out of that infantile need much earlier and they are identifying it and understanding it.

      But it is not God.

  6. The married Las Vegas cop killers last weekend were both Cliven Bundy tea party supporters and the female worked at Hobby Lobby….and Hobby Lobby wants to not provide birth control to her???? What an interesting juxtaposition….you want THAT couple to have babies????