Largest attendance in 25 years expected in Nashville
Southern Baptist Convention leader Ronnie Floyd tweeted last week that 13,100 messengers are pre-registered for the denomination’s annual meeting June 15-16. The last time the SBC reported a registration number over 13,000 was the 1996 annual meeting in New Orleans.
Baptist leaders are focusing on prayer ahead of the meeting, which is expected to be contentious on issues including racism and gender roles. SBC President J.D. Greear convened the first of three online prayer meetings May 26; prayer calls are also scheduled for June 2 and June 9.
After passage in House, Illinois sex ed bill awaits governor’s signature
A bill updating Illinois’s sex ed requirements passed in the House May 28 and now goes to Gov. J.B. Pritzker for his signature. The bill “Keeping Youth Healthy and Safe Bill” keeps sex edu optional for parents and school districts, but districts that do teach sex ed must offer the curriculum approved by the National Sex Education Standards by the Future of Sex Education (a non-governmental organization). Opponents to the bill say the standards are inappropriate for children.
Baptist agency could lose state contract over non-discrimination clause
The state of Kentucky has threatened to stop placing children with Sunrise Children’s Services if the Baptist agency refuses to sign a contract banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. Sunrise, which is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention, says the contract would compel them to sponsor same-sex couples as foster or adoptive parents.
Biden’s 2022 budget proposal omits Hyde Amendment
President Joe Biden’s proposed budget for next year is the first since 1976 to not include the Hyde Amendment, which prevents Medicaid from covering the cost of abortion. Named for Illinois politician Henry Hyde, it is estimated to have saved more than 2 million lives since it was enacted, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission reports in their explainer on the amendment. The ERLC and other pro-life advocates are urging lawmakers to adhere to pro-life policy riders like the Hyde Amendment.
Support for marijuana use varies among religious groups
Pew Research Center found 91% of Americans support allowing marijuana to some extent. The share is lower among religiously affiliated adults, but Pew found only one group—white evangelicals—in which fewer than half said marijuana should be legal for both recreational and medical use. Pew also found Americans who attend church at least weekly are less likely to support recreational and medical marijuana use.
Sources: Baptist Press, Illinois Baptist, Associated Press, ERLC, Pew Research