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.
“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.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Adelle M. Banks