Religious Freedom. Gambling. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.
These are just some of the pressing social needs being addressed in the Georgia legislature in the coming months. Georgia Baptists have a voice in advocating for laws which reflect biblical values and build a morally strong society.
Those issues and more are addressed in a series of nine videos now available on the Georgia Baptist Public Affairs Vimeo website.
State missionary Mike Griffin, who serves as Georgia Baptists’ lobbyist under the Gold Dome, encourages churches to familiarize themselves with the videos to be better informed when it comes to speaking about the issues.
“These videos are an excellent way for people in our churches to stay up-to-date with current legislation and cultural issues that impact Georgia Baptists,” Griffin said in noting the new uploads.
“We are pleased to add these nine new items to our series regarding public policy issues facing all Georgians. They are designed so individual subjects can be viewed for educational opportunities.
The sections are divided up as follows:
- Briefing Introduction
- 2017 Legislation Overview
- Gambling Legislation
- The Moral Impact on Children
- Religious Freedom Legislation
- Student Censored for the Gospel
- The Gospel and Religious Freedom
- Marty Harbin and RFRA
- Future: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
- Conclusion: Why Get Involved?
“Please feel free to share these with your friends and churches,” Griffin said. “We are going to be facing tremendous challenges in 2018. It is important that Georgia Baptists be informed and ready to be involved in the public policy debate. The light of the Gospel has never been needed more in our state than now!”
The 4-7 minute videos are perfect for sharing in Sunday morning worship services, Wednesday evening gatherings, and Sunday School classes, he added.
A more exhaustive set of material is also available at the Public Affairs Ministry website. From there individuals can access a variety of downloads, including six on Stop Predatory Gambling in Georgia. PDF downloads are also available on Religious Freedom.
A section named “What a Church Should Know …” provides information on The Dangers of Marijuana, Legalization of Same Sex Marriage, Reporting Suspected Child Abuse, Protecting Ministries from Sexual Orientation Gender Identity laws (SOGI), and Weapons in Church.
A link to the Human Development Resource Council provides information on pro-life issues.
Griffin explained that the purpose of the videos is to help familiarize people with important issues facing the state and nation.
“We see education on moral issues the same way realtors see property location as being important,” he added. “We want churches, pastors, laity – on their own schedule and from the comfort of their home or office – to be able to educate themselves and others on what is occurring.”
He noted the social activism of individuals such as Tim Gill and his war on traditional moral values. In a July 19 Washington Times article he was described as “the gay megadonor bankrolling the LGBT movement and its allies in the Democratic Party.
“The importance of being educated is seen in statements such as those by Gill who says it is time ‘to punish the wicked’ – and by his definition the wicked are Christians,” Griffin noted.
“Gill and others intend to punish those who believe in traditional moral values by passing public accommodation laws that will force Christians, Christian businesses, nonprofits, and churches to conform to the sexual revolution that is taking place in our nation.”
According to the newspaper, last year the Gill Foundation rallied more than 100 corporations, including Coca-Cola, Google, and Marriott, behind a front group called Georgia Prospers. Threatening to pull business out of the state, the coalition successfully lobbied Republican Gov. Nathan Deal into vetoing a Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Griffin called such tactics “economic hostage taking” by claiming that if Georgia passes a Religious Freedom bill the corporations – including Hollywood – will boycott the state as they did in North Carolina.
Griffin and his assistant, Tom Rush, monitor 28 bills involving 11 subjects; the videos focus on two primary concerns of religious freedom and gambling.
“The one word behind both of those subjects is money,” Griffin added. And it’s a powerful word.
Regarding gambling, he noted that for every dollar spent on gambling revenue, $3 is spent on social costs to society.
In addition to serving with the Georgia Baptist Mission Board, Griffin is pastor of Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell. Rush serves as staff evangelist at the church.