BGCT actions regarding abortion and the CLC, 1991-2000 (incomplete)

compiled by Wm. Robert Johnston
updated 1998, 2001

11 Nov 1991
* Barry Creamer (Arlington) moved to instruct Executive Board of BGCT to require that the Texas Baptist CLC cease using Cooperative Program funds to criticize the CLC of the SBC in all areas, including the SBC CLC's stand in the Lee v. Weisman case. The Committee on order of business moved to refer this to the CLC and encourage them to report back to the Executive Board; motion passed by majority.
* Motion passed to adopt the BGCT budget, including $612,716 for CLC.

12 Nov 1991
* Motion for Resolution VI, Abortion:
Whereas the Bible consistently affirms the value of human life; and
Whereas Jesus calls His followers to care in a special way for the most vulnerable people in society; and
Whereas fetal lives which are threatened by abortion are defenseless and require the advocacy of God's people;
Be it therefore resolved that the messengers of this Convention urge Texas Baptists to oppose the practice of elective abortion; and
Be it further resolved that we urge Texas Baptist individuals and churches to communicate effectively the Biblical instructions concerning sexual responsibility and the sanctity of life; and
Be it further resolved that we encourage all Texas Baptist institutions, cooperating churches, and members to work diligently to support counseling, housing, adoption placement services, and appropriate health care for women in crisis pregnancy emphasizing a reconciled relationship with Jesus Christ; and
Be it further resolved that we urge our agencies and institutions to provide leadership for our cooperating churches in opposing elective abortion; and
Be it finally resolved that we support the passage of laws to address the tragedy of abortion.
* Cathy Bush (Bagwell) moved to delete "elective" from paragraph 4. Discussion followed second. Amendment failed. Point of order asked if another amendment could be made but was not well taken since vote had begun on the resolution. Original resolution passed.

9 Nov 1992
* Motion passed to adopt the BGCT budget, including $549,716 for CLC.
* David Becker, CLC chairperson, prefaced their report on family life by reminding the Convention that the CLC does not speak "for" Texas Baptists, but speaks "to" Texas Baptists.

25 Oct 1993
* Motion passed to adopt the budget, including $549,716 for the CLC.
* Jim Poole moved that this Convention instruct the CLC of the BGCT "to rewrite the position paper Abortion and the Christian Life to better reflect the traditional position of Southern Baptists and closer in line with the position paper published by the [CLC of the SBC]"; motion seconded. Time for vote later set to following morning.
* David Becker, CLC chairperson, brought the CLC report, which included the introduction "The program assignment of the [CLC] is to speak to, but not for, Texas Baptists about significant and timely issues. One of the ways the CLC accomplishes this task is through the published report to the annual Convention. The report is written and edited by the staff and the fifteen-member Commission."

26 Oct 1993
* Motion to instruct CLC on their paper was discussed and vote failed.

30 Oct 1994
* Budget was moved and adopted, including $642,800 for CLC.
* Ben Loring, CLC chairperson, brought the CLC report.
* Kenny Lewis (FBC, Brownsville) moved "that the [BGCT] in its 109th Annual Session renounce the exceptions for abortion proposed by the BGCT's [CLC] position paper, "Abortion and the Christian Life," and instruct the [CLC] to rewrite the paper with clear Biblical support for the preservation and protection of the unborn child." Motion seconded.

1 Nov 1994
* Committee on Business moved to refer motion regarding CLC paper to the CLC. Discussion followed and of 2,648 votes counted, 71.1% voted to refer.

13 Nov 1995
* Jon Cosby (FBC, Little Rivers) moved to defund the CLC (among other things) and reallocate the funds to fund new churches in Texas. Of 6,147 valid ballots, 64.3% voted against amendment.
* Budget was adopted, including $647,800 for CLC. Kelly Carr (Dixson, Greenville) called for point of order on vote and moved for ballot vote. Motion failed.
* George Mason, CLC chairperson, presented the CLC report on religious liberty and public education. John Yates (South Park, Grand Prairie) asked about responding to the CLC report and was advised that it could be done at the misc. business session.
* John Yates moved to amend the CLC report.
* Phillip Brown (Manchaca, Austin) moved "that this Convention adopt the policy that abortions not be performed on the premises of, any Texas Baptist medical institution or agency, except when such abortion is necessary to save the life of the mother when her life is in imminent and immediate danger." Motion was seconded.
* Phillip Brown moved "that the [CLC] be directed to revise its document, "Abortion and the Christian Life," to bring it in line with mainstream pro-life ethics and terminology, and to indicate a tolerance of abortion only when the physical life of the mother is in imminent and immediate danger." Motion was seconded.

14 Nov 1995
* Motion by John Yates was ruled out of order, by Robert's Rules of Order. Yates responded that the report was "more than a report, it was a position paper ...like [that] dealing with the abortion issue..." but did not appeal. George Mason, CLC chairperson, stated that the CLC welcomed dialog from anyone, that "the nature of their task [is] to speak to Texas Baptists not for Texas Baptists," and that the report is presented to the conscience of Texas Baptists for them to seek the will of God.
* Motion by Brown to amend policy of Baptist medical institutions was ruled a violation of Texas law which states "that only trustees of an institution can set policy." The Committee of Business moved to refer the motion to the Human Welfare Coordinating Board. After discussion motion to refer carried.
* Roger Derrinwater, CLC member, expressed a need to "communicate our heartfelt beliefs on this issue of abortion to our [CLC]. This issue has been discussed and reworked and we still do not have a solid, biblically based position on abortion..."
* Motion by Brown to instruct the CLC regarding their paper was ruled out of order since their is no motion to adopt the paper and the motion to refer cannot instruct as to content. Brown appealed the ruling; ruling of the chair was sustained.
* Resolution VII, Family Life, included wording "...we encourage the [BGCT] and especially the [CLC], to continue to develop aggressive plans for ministry, supporting the efforts of the local church to reach and minister to families and the various generations of adults, senior, single and married..." Billy Carlisle (Crestview, San Antonio) moved to delete reference to the CLC; motion to amend failed.

11 Nov 1996
* Budget was adopted, including $660,113 for CLC.
* Charles Smith (FBC, Willis) moved "that the [BGCT] instruct the trustees of all of its medical institutions, facilities and agencies to develop and implement policies that forbid abortions to be performed by those institutions, facilities and agencies and that a report from the trustees of each of these institutions, facilities and agencies concerning those policies be brought at the 1997 [BGCT]." Motion was seconded.
* Barry Cramer (Woodland West, Arlington) brought the following:
"Whereas, the Texas Baptist [CLC] is charged with speaking to Texas Baptist on moral issues, and
Whereas abortion is one of the most important moral scourges on our society, and
Whereas the Texas Baptist [CLC] has chosen in its report to speak only insubstantially to the moral issue of abortion as a minor part of family values,
Be it resolved that the messengers of this convention find the Texas Baptist [CLC's] disregard for this moral issue reprehensible and indicative of a need for change in the whole of this commission,
And further be it resolved that the messengers of this convention oppose the taking of unborn innocent human lives and long for the day when those children receive the same protection afforded to all other human lives."
* Phil Strickland, CLC Director, presented the CLC report and reminded the Convention that the CLC does not speak for Texas Baptists but to Texas Baptists.
* Eddie Pina, HWCB chairperson, presented the HWCB report.
* Motion by Smith instructing Baptist medical institutions was ruled out of order; Smith reworded it to "recommend" rather than "instruct." Ben Chlapek (FBC, Temple) moved to table the motion; this was ruled out of order. John McAnally referred the convention to the Book of Reports on the issue. During discussion Ed Rogers stated that everyone of our hospitals have this as a policy; not one of our Texas Baptist hospitals have abortion on demand; they are subject to a very stringent committee process and strong policy regarding abortion. Motion failed.

12 Nov 1996
* Resolution by Cramer was ruled out of order since it had not been brought to the Committee on Resolutions.
* Motion for Resolution IX, Abortion and the Sacredness of Human Life:
Whereas the sacredness of human life is of great concern to Baptist people; and
Whereas abortion as a means of birth control violates the sacredness of human life; and
Whereas more recently the procedure of partial birth abortion and the development of new drugs that will induce spontaneous abortions compound the tragedy of abortion as a means of birth control; and
Whereas these procedures raise new moral and ethical issues that must be confronted by all of those concerned about the sacredness of human life.
Therefore be it resolved that we strongly urge this convention and Texas Baptists to continue to publically oppose any type of abortion as a means of birth control.
* Barry Wilson (Macdeonia, Longview) moved to delete "as a means of birth control" from paragraphs 2 and 5. Bill Scarborough (Highland Park, Austin) spoke against amendment and cited Jer. 20:15-18. Tim McKeown (FBC, Brownsville) spoke for amendment. Amendment failed. John McGuire (FBC, Garrison) moved to amend, adding "Finally be it resolved that this convention go on record as commending the congress of the United States of America for passing the 'Partial Birth Abortion Bill' and strongly condemn President Bill Clinton for vetoing that bill." Ballot vote was too close to call and ballot vote was taken. Convention President Wade pointed out that a vote on the resolution would not be possible unless the order of business were amended for the evening session by a two-thirds majority vote. Vote to amend the order of business failed. Motion to amend Resolution IX passed by 64.1% of 1,849 votes counted. Resolution IX did not come to a vote.

10 Nov 1997
* Budget was moved and passed, including funding for CLC.
* The CLC report was presented.
* Messenger Vance Whitmore (FBC Willis) moved for a ballot vote to "condemn partial birth abortion".

11 Nov 1997
* Ballot vote was taken on motion condemning partial birth abortion. Motion carried by 83.2% of 3,185 votes counted.

9 Nov 1998
* Budget was moved and adopted, including ? for the CLC.
* Phil Strickland, CLC director, presented the CLC Distinguished Service Award to James H. Dunn, director of the BJCPA.
* Greg Simons (FBC, Borger) expressed concern regarding the CLC report and said that it should contain a more definitive statement on abortion.
* Charles Smith (FBC, Willis) moved "that the [BGCT] vote by ballot to withdraw all funding from any Baptist Medical Institution or entity that is proven to perform abortions."
* Charles Smith (FBC, Willis) moved "that the [BGCT] vote by ballot to condemn abortion in all instances except when the mother's life is in danger."

10 Nov 1998
* First motion by Charles Smith regarding defunding Baptist hospitals that perform abortions is ruled out of order.
* Second motion by Charles Smith regarding condemnation of abortion is moved to be referred to the Human Welfare Coordinating Board and the CLC. After discussion the motion to refer carries.
* Motion for Resolution VI, Support for Parental Notification:
Whereas abortion is a tragic alternative, permitted by law, and sometimes chosen by persons facing an unwanted pregnancy; and
Whereas parents are the major source of support and guidance for children and are responsible for them both spiritually and legally until such time as they become adults; and
Whereas under current Texas law, peers and secular organizations can advise abortions and such abortions can be performed on children without their parents' knowledge; and
Whereas the right of parents to consult with and participate with their children in a decision as serious as whether to end a pregnancy by abortion or to seek other solutions should be protected by law:
Be It Therefore Resolved that the Baptist General Convention of Texas in session on November 10, 1998, in Houston, Texas express support for legislation which would require parents to be notified 48 hours before any abortion could be performed on a minor child; and
Be It Further Resolved that such legislation should include a judicial bypass which would permit the court to protect children in cases of parental neglect or abuse; and
Be It Finally Resolved that Baptists teach our children the values of chastity before marriage, the sanctity of life and the tragedy of elective abortion.
* John McGuire (FBC, Garrison) moved to amend paragraph 5 to replace "parents to be notified" with "parental consent". The Resolutions Committee spoke against the amendment.
* Kathy Haigler (Memorial, Pasadena) moved a substitute amendment.
* McGuire amendment passed. Haigler withdrew her amendment.
* Bret Moreland (FBC, Grapeland) moved to amend paragraph 7 by adding "and Biblical mandate" after "values" and adding "and sin" after "tragedy." Amendment passed.
* Vote on amended Resolution VI, Support for Parental Notification:
Whereas abortion is a tragic alternative, permitted by law, and sometimes chosen by persons facing an unwanted pregnancy; and
Whereas parents are the major source of support and guidance for children and are responsible for them both spiritually and legally until such time as they become adults; and
Whereas under current Texas law, peers and secular organizations can advise abortions and such abortions can be performed on children without their parents' knowledge; and
Whereas the right of parents to consult with and participate with their children in a decision as serious as whether to end a pregnancy by abortion or to seek other solutions should be protected by law:
Be It Therefore Resolved that the Baptist General Convention of Texas in session on November 10, 1998, in Houston, Texas express support for legislation which would require parental consent 48 hours before any abortion could be performed on a minor child; and
Be It Further Resolved that such legislation should include a judicial bypass which would permit the court to protect children in cases of parental neglect or abuse; and
Be It Finally Resolved that Baptists teach our children the values and Biblical mandate of chastity before marriage, the sanctity of life and the tragedy and sin of elective abortion.
Resolution passed.

1999
* Budget was adopted, including ? for the CLC.

30 Oct 2000
* Budget was adopted, including ? for the CLC.
* Recommendation approved to defund SBC entities and redirect funds to BGCT agencies, including additional ? for the CLC.


Note: This is an update of material compiled as part of the work of a study committee at First Baptist Church, Brownsville, Texas. The original compilation was an appendix to the committee's report, which itself is copyrighted © 1998 by First Baptist Church, Brownsville, Texas.

Last modified 29 May 2001.
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